Conrad of Parzham

Conrad of Parzham was born December 22,  1818.  He was baptized with the name of John.  He was the son of Bartholomäus Birndorfer and Gertrude Niedermayer and was born on the family farm in Parzham,  Germany.
At the age of six, he began elementary school in nearby Weng. Young John’s devotion was noticeable especially when he prayed in church.  He visited the church often even though it wasn’t close to his home, even when the weather was bad. He had a great devotion to the Blessed Virgin, and each day he prayed the rosary. On feast days he frequently made a journey to some remote shrine of the Blessed Mother. He always walked on these primages and prayed.  When he returned in the evening he was usually still fasting. 

John spent his early years on the family farm. His mother died when he was 14.  His father died two years later when he was 16.  He attended a parish mission in 1838.  He then decided to enter the religious life. When he was  31, he gave away his inheritance and became a lay brother among the Capuchin Franciscan friars.
Immediately after his profession in 1842, he was sent to the Friary of St. Ann.  The friary served the Shrine of Our Lady of Altötting, the national shrine of Bavaria to the Blessed Mother. Conrad was given the task of assisting the porter at this shrine. In March 1851, he had to leave Altötting to care for a dying priest. The following September, he entered the novitiate at Laufen, where he was given the name Conrad in honor of Conrad of Piacenza. He then returned to Altötting as a porter.

Altötting was a large and busy city.  The friary porter was a very difficult one. Conrad was diligent in his work.  He said little, cared for the poor, and was always ready to help strangers.  Brother Conrad was porter for more than 40 years. Conrad loved silence in a special way. His free time was spent in adoration and prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. During the night he would give up several hours of sleep to have extra time to pray. On April 21, 1894, Conrad died in the friary where he had served for 41 years.

During his lifetime, Conrad was known to be able to read the hearts of those he met and had the gift of prophecy. His heroic virtues and miracles allowed him to be called Blessed by Pope Pius XI in 1930. Four years later, additional miracles were approved and he was declared a saint. He is the patron saint of the Mid-America Province of Capuchin Friars.