Waldo (also known as Vivaldo or Ubaldo) was a disciple of a saintly priest, Bartolo,
both of them natives of northern Italy. When Bartolo contracted leprosy and entered a hospital,
Waldo accompanied his friend and nursed him until Bartolo died 20 years later. In return, Waldo's
religious education was enriched by instruction from the holy priest. It was at his suggestion that
Waldo joined the secular Franciscans.
Following the death of his spiritual father in 1300, Waldo
determined to withdraw from the world altogether and to devote himself to conversing with God and
focusing on heaven. Accordingly, he set out for a large forest not far from his birthplace and found
a large hollow chestnut tree. The cavity of the tree offered barely enough room for him to kneel,
but it became the hermitage in which he spent the next 20 years in complete solitude.
It is said
that one day in May in the year 1320, the bells of the church from the adjacent village began to
ring of their own accord. As local residents ran to the church seeking to unravel the mystery of the
bells, a hunter emerged from the forest. He reported to the assembled crowd that his hounds had
circled a hollow chestnut tree nearby and that they began barking excitedly. When the hunter
approached the tree to investigate the matter, he found a recluse in the cavity of the tree, dead on
his knees. Just as the hunter finished recounting the story, the bells ceased ringing.
inhabitants of the town, it was utterly clear that their humble, solitary neighbor was indeed a holy
man. They processed to his cell, brought his body back to the church and laid it to rest beneath the
high altar. As years passed, many miracles occurred at the tomb of Waldo, while his former cell in
the chestnut tree was converted into a chapel in honor of the Blessed Mother.
Other Saints of the day: