Father Pelágio Sauter was born on September 9, 1878, in the village of Hausen am Thann, Germany. He was baptized three days later. His parents, Matias Sauter and Mary Neher, had 15 children. Two of them, Pelágio and Gaspar, became Redemptorist Fathers.
In 1892, Pelágio received the sacraments of First Eucharist and Confirmation. He worked for two years as an apprentice locksmith in a nearby town.
In 1894, he joined the Redemptorist Seminary in Bachham. Further studied in Dürrnberg (where he was a student of Blessed Father Gaspar Stangassinger) and finished his studies in junior high Gars am Inn On September 8, 1902, he consecrated himself to God by religious vows of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience . On June 16, 1907 , he was ordained Father by Archbishop Antonio Henle, in Deggendorf.
When invited to come to Brazil, he soon accepted, because he had always wanted to work in foreign missions. On August 6, 1909, he landed in Rio de Janeiro, alongside four brothers in mission. Never again to go back to his homeland. He died on November 23, 1961, at the Santa Casa de Goiânia.
These 52 years in Brazil were distributed as follows: 5 years in some parishes of São Paulo and the other 47 years in Goiás. During these long years, he developed many pastoral activities. He was never canonical superior. His favorite apostolate was the “desobrigas” in Goias countryside. Father Pelágio traveled around hundreds of communities, often horseback riding, becoming more known and esteemed by the people.
He has also worked in Trindade (GO). The pilgrims came to visit the Divine Eternal Father during the party, but they did not return without also asking the blessing of Father Pelágio. The Church of the Most Holy Redeemer, built in the city, was designed to accommodate the remains of Father Pelágio.
Love for the poor and sick
There was no appointment setting for those who sought him as comfort for their afflictions and needs. According to the chronicles of the Redemptorists, within a single year Father Pelágio visited about 300 sick people. His last five years were dedicated solely to the Pastoral Care of the Sick. The blessings that he gave away at the Church of Campinas, in Goiânia, every morning and evening, were famous. Many extraordinary cures have been reported. Some had no medical explanation.
Nevertheless his death is linked to an act of charity. When visiting a sick person, he took rain on his way back, which caused a strong pneumonia. He was admitted to the Santa Casa de Misericordia, in Goiânia, but there came a pulmonary emphysema and other complications compounded by age.
After a week of suffering, he died a holy death at 1pm on November 23, 1961. He was 83 years old. About 40 thousand people attended the funeral and performed an uninterrupted prayer vigil.
Beatification and Canonization
Faced with such great fame of sanctity and popularity in 1997 it was asked the Sacred Congregation for the Causes of Saints that they installed the process of beatification and canonization, which was granted. The process has already won several steps and remains pending at the Vatican. On November 7, 2014, Pope Francis proclaimed Venerable the Father Pelágio Sauter. The title is one of the most laborious and demanding stages of the cause of canonization and opens the ways to continue the study of his holiness.