What I am not asking about: Glossolalia, as practiced by Charismatics in the modern day.

What I am asking about: St. Vincent Ferrer was born in Spain and travelled as far north as Germany and Scotland, preaching wherever he went. He was understood wherever he went, in spite of never having learned anything but his native Valencian.

Eastern sources have likewise refuted the Charismatic claim that glossolalia is the miraculous gift of tongues by pointing out that they have always had saints who spoke in languages they hadn't learned, in addition to performing other, less controversial miracles.

My question: Who are these saints, either Western or Eastern?

  • Apparently St. Pachomius the Great is said to be one of them, and a legend retold by St. Gregory the Great about a little boy he had heard of who had been given this gift shortly before his (second?) death.
    – JAF
    Jun 13, 2019 at 14:53

1 Answer 1


The following Aside from St. Vincent Ferrer, are there any other saints said to have had the “gift of tongues”?

Of coarse there are.

Here are a few that may fit the bill:

St. Anthony of Padua

St. Anthony and the Gift of Tongues

The book “The Little Flowers of St Francis” was written by Brother Ugolino about 100 years after the life of St Francis of Assisi and St Anthony of Padua, the details of which are based on original documents of the Franciscan Order. In Chapter 39 of this book we read:

"St Anthony of Padua, one of the chosen disciples and companions of St Francis, whom the latter called his Vicar, was preaching one day before the Pope and the Cardinals in Consistory, there were therefore present at that moment men of different countries- Greeks and Latins, French and Germans, Slavs and English and men of many other different languages and dialects.

"And being inflamed by the Holy Spirit and inspired with apostolic eloquence, he preached and explained the word of God so effectively, devoutly, subtly, clearly and understandably that all who were assembled at that Consistory, although they spoke different languages, clearly and distinctly heard and understood everyone of his words as if he had spoken in each of their languages. Therefore they were all astounded and filled with devotion, for it seemed to them that the former miracle of the Apostles at the time of Pentecost had been renewed, when by the power of the Holy Spirit they spoke in different languages.

"And in amazement, just like in the Acts of the Apostles they said to one another: "Is he not a Spaniard?' How then are we all hearing him in the language of the country where we were born-we Greeks and Latins, French and Germans, Slavs and English, Lombards and foreigners?"

It was not only at this consistory that St. Anthony's gift of tongues was utilized. It is written that while preaching in Italy he spoke in perfect Italian, and while in France he preached in French, although he had never studied these languages. Also remarkable is the fact that "the simple-minded and the most ignorant listeners were capable of fully comprehending all he said; and his voice, though gentle and sweet, was distinctly heard at a very extraordinary distance from the speaker."

St. Paul of the Cross (1694-1775)

The gift of Tongues in the preaching of St Paul of the Cross

The grace of being heard at great distances was also documented on at least three occasions in the life of St. Paul of the Cross (1694-1775), the holy founder of the Passionist Order. Because of his extraordinary reputation for holiness, people would come from great distances to hear the man of God preach his missions, and to witness the remarkable miracles and cures that often accompanied his preaching. Therfore the crowds that gathered during his missions were often immense. On at least three documented occasions, his voice could be heard by all those present, even amdst the usual noises of such a great crowd, extending even those who were literally several miles away. This extraordinary grace took place in the three locations of La Tolfa, at Civitacastellana, and on the Isle of Elba, where he was heard a full five miles away.

Also, as stated above with the Apostles and also St Anthony, it was also documented on several occasions that his Italian language was understood by members of different foreign nationalities and languages who had come to listen to him.

St. Dominic (1170-1221)

The gift of speaking in Tongues in the life of St Dominic

And then there is also another holy Founder, St. Dominic (1170-1221), the founder of the Dominican Order and the great promoter of the Holy Rosary, who was given the gift of tongues when he was one day on a journey to Paris with his companion, Bertrand of Garrega, and a number of other friends and disciples.

While on the road they visited the sanctuary of Rocamadour, where they spent the night praying before a miraculous image of Our Lady. The next day, as they journeyed along, they sang litanies and recited psalms and the divine office, which attracted the attention of two German pilgrims, who began to follow them. When they came to the next village the two German pilgrims, being greatly attracted by the devotion of the little band, made motions to them indicating that they should sit down and dine with them. It was somewhat of an awkward situation since the Germans could not understand the Dominicans, nor could the Dominicans understand the Germans. This continued for four days, with the Germans sharing their food with the Dominicans.

On the fifth day St. Dominic addressed Bertrand in this manner: "Brother Bertrand, it grieves me to reap the temporal things of these pilgrims without sowing for them spiritual things: let us kneel down and ask God to grant us the understanding of their language, that we may speak to them of Christ." Accordingly, they knelt down and prayed. When they rose up, they were able to converse with the Germans in their own language and did so without difficulty for the rest of the journey.

As they drew near Paris, the Germans, now filled with spiritual consolations, departed from them. The earthly food which the Germans had provided had been exchanged by Dominic for spiritual food which nourished their spirits and was beneficial to their eternal salvation. St. Dominic, for his part, charged Bertrand to keep silent about the matter and to keep it secret until his death, "lest the people should take us for Saints who are but sinners.'"

St. Pachomius the Great

Among many miracles wrought by him, the author of his life assures us, that though he had never learned the Greek or Latin tongues, he sometimes miraculously spoke them; he cured the sick and persons possessed by devils with blessed oil. - St. Pachomius, Abbot (292-348)

The German Stigmatic Therese Neumann of Germany (1898-1962) was gifted with gift of understanding foreign and ancient languages.

The extraordinary gift of understanding* foreign languages, especially ancient Biblical languages has been given to numerous Saints, especially the Mystics. Most notably in recent times this gift was given to a remarkable 20th century mystic and stigmatic named Therese Neumann of Germany (1898-1962).

During the ecstasies of the Passion in which Therese not only saw, but physically participated in in a mystical way, she heard the four languages which were in common use during the time of Christ: Latin, Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic; the Aramaic was spoken in a dialect mixed with Greek words. Therese recognized and repeated them after she returned to normal life. The fact that this humble country girl could master such languages is a miracle in itself. Therese had a seventh grade education and did not speak or understand any other language but German; to her personal friends she spoke in the dialect of the Oberpfalz, the particular region of Bavaria in which Konnersreuth is located.

Many eminent scholars of Oriental languages and of the Old Testament visited Therese in order to check the authenticity of Therese's knowledge of languages. Nevertheless, it was indeed difficult to find scholars who were qualified to interview Therese. It is not an exaggeration to say that in many instances she knew more about these ancient languages and many other details than the scholars did! Some of the noted men who helped extensively in the verifi¬cation and clarification of the 2,OOO-year-old practices were: Rev. Prof. Dr. Wutz (a priest), professor of Oriental languages and the Old Testament at Catholic College, Eichstatt, Bavaria; Prof. Bauer, of Halle, a non-Catholic expert in Oriental lan¬guages; and Prof. Wessely, of Vienna, a non-Christian, who was also a scholar of these languages. All of the results of their investigations were made public. - Gift of understanding foreign and ancient languages


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