Saint Didacus

University Ministry honors the patron saint of our city and our university by referring to the Sunday collection as the Saint Didacus Fund. Didacus is the Latin translation of the Spanish name Diego.

San Diego de Alcalá, as he was known, was born in Seville, Spain around the year 1400 but lived most of his adult life in the town of Alcalá de Henares -- hence the name given to the USD campus by our founders. His family was quite poor and unable to provide him with an education, leaving him without the ability to read. As a young man in Spain, Didacus joined the Secular Franciscan Order and lived for some time as a hermit.

After becoming a Franciscan brother, Didacus developed a reputation for intense devotion to both action and contemplation. His meditation brought him great insight into God's ways and his generosity was so extraordinary that he became known as the "friend of the poor." In fact, Didacus' generosity was so prodigious that even some of his brother Franciscans became uneasy with his unfailing charity.

President James Harris Play Video
The Legacy of Saint Didacus of Alcalá
President James Harris describes the ongoing legacy of San Diego de Alcalá, the patron saint of our city and our university.

USD honors the legacy of Saint Didacus by donating 100% of the money that our community contributes each week to support USD community members doing service locally and around the world. During the 2014-2015 academic year, the Founders Chapel Community contributed $23,240.21 to a variety of social service agencies and non-governmental organizations.

These include:

  • St. Vincent de Paul
  • Catholic Relief Services--Pakistan
  • Christ Child Society
  • Casa Cornelia
  • St. Charles Lwanga Secondary School
  • Catholic Relief Services
  • La Morita
  • Medical Brigades
  • Jesuit Volunteer Corps
  • USD Invisible Children
  • Haiti Scholarship
  • Mecca Youth Group
  • Nacidos Para Triunfar
  • El Salvador Women's Artisan Cooperative
  • Duncans, Jamaica
  • Liberty in North Korea
  • St. Madeline Sophie Center
  • Catholic Relief Services--Japan
  • The Duchesne House for Volunteers
  • Homeboy Industries
  • Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking
  • Mi Ultimo Deseo
  • Lwanga Health Center

Didacus is living proof that God "chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong" (1 Corinthians 1:27).

If your organization would like to receive a St. Didacus Fund, please email us (

Diego de Alcala