In 1400, a young man named Diego was born to poor parents in San Nicolás del Puerto. He was a devout and God-fearing man, known today as Saint Didacus de Alcala. Early in life, he dedicated himself to a hermitage: first near his home, then under a hermit priest, and finally wandering. Feeling that he could do more to commit his life to God, Didacus joined the Order of Friars Minor as a lay brother in Albaida.
Didacus served the Lord zealously, participating in a mission in the Canary Islands. When he passed away in 1463, steps were immediately taken to ensure his canonization. Pope Sixtus V canonized Saint Didacus in 1588, and a chapel was built in his birthplace.
Miracles attributed to Saint Didacus include the healing of Henry IV of Castile’s broken arm when he prayed to Didacus for intercession and was placed beside Didacus’s remains. King Philip II of Spain commissioned a mechanical model of the Saint, which can perform such actions as the beating of the breast in the Mea Culpa prayer. The model of Saint Didacus is still operational and currently resides in the Smithsonian.