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April 2

St Francis of Paola - April 4

Saint Francis of Paola
Friar, Hermit, Founder of Minim Friars
(1416 – 1507)

“I most strongly urge you to work for the salvation of your souls with prudence and diligence. Death is certain, and life is short and vanishes like smoke. Therefore you must fix your minds on the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ who so burned with love for us that he came down from heaven to redeem us.”

Saint Francis of Paola

His Early Life

Francis’s parents were childless for many years, but following prayers for the intercession of Saint Francis of Assisi, they had three children. Francis was the oldest born on March 27, 1416 in Paola, Calabria, Italy. At the age of 13, being admonished by a vision of a Franciscan friar, Francis entered a friary of the Franciscan Order at San Marco to fulfill the vow made by his parents.

As a boy, Francis accompanied his parents on a pilgrimage to Rome and Assisi. Deeply moved, he decided to spend his life in prayer and meditation. For a short time, Francis was with the Franciscans, but then went off to live as a hermit in a cave overlooking the sea near the town of Paola.

Founded New Order – Minim Friars

Before Francis turned twenty, he was joined by other young men who wished to share in the contemplative life. The number of his disciples gradually increased. Around 1454, with the permission of Pyrrhus, Archbishop of Cosenza, Francis built a large monastery and church.

By the 1450‘s, his followers had become so numerous that Francis established a Rule for them that emphasized penance, charity, and humility and plus a fourth vow of fasting and abstention from meat. Then, he sought Church approval. This was the founding of the Hermits of Saint Francis of Assisi, who were approved by Pope Alexander VI in 1474. In 1492, they were renamed the Franciscan Order of Minim Friars. The “Minims” comes from the latin word minimi, meaning “the least”. So Francis and the Minims counted themselves the least of the family of God.

Legends

In 1464, Francis wanted to cross the Straits of Messina to reach Sicily, but a boatman refused to take him. Francis laid his cloak on the water, tied one end to his staff to make a sail, and sailed across with his companions. Franz Liszt wrote a piece of music called “Legendes” inspired by the incident. This legend is why Francis is the patron Saint of sailors, naval officers, navigators, and all people associated with the sea.

Francis also raised his pet lamb from the dead after it had been killed and eaten by workmen. Being in need of food, the workmen caught and slaughtered Francis’ pet lamb, Martinello, roasting it in their lime kiln. They were eating when Francis approached them, looking for the lamb. They told him they had eaten it, having no other food. He asked what they had done with the fleece and the bones. They told him they had thrown them into the furnace. Francis walked over to the furnace, looked into the fire and called “Martinello, come out!” The lamb jumped out, completely untouched, bleating happily on seeing his master.

Vegan

Francis followed a diet not only free from animal flesh, but also from all animal-derived foods, such as eggs and dairy products. One of the vows of the order he founded was the abstinence from meat, fish, eggs, butter, cheese and milk.

Spiritually Gifted

Francis insisted his followers live a very austere lifestyle, with much emphasis on prayer, meditation, and fasting. Francis, imself was blessed with many spiritual gifts, such as the ability to perform miracles, to read minds, and to prophesy. Though an uneducated man, Francis moved others by his wisdom and sincerity. Though he preferred a life of prayer and solitude, Francis realized God was calling him to be active in the world. He defended the poor and oppressed, even to the point of admonishing the King Ferninand of Naples and his sons to repent and give up their sins.

Travelled to France

King Louis XI of France heard of Francis’ reputation. So King Louis begged him to come and heal him of a possibly fatal disease, promising him great rewards. Francis refused to go. After being requested by Pope Sixtus IV, Francis travelled to Paris, France to help Louis XI prepare for death.

During this time, Francis used his influence in the royal court to promote peace between France and her neighbors by advising a marriage between the ruling families, and between France and Spain by persuading Louis XI to return some disputed land. After the king’s death in 1483, Francis established his order in various French cities.

His Death

Francis died in Plessis, France on April 2, 1507 at the age of ninety-one. In 1562, Huguenots vandalized his tomb, but found his body to be incorrupt. They proceeded to burn it. Nevertheless, the bones were saved by Catholics and distributed as relics to various churches.

Born :                   March 27, 1416 in Paola, Calabria, Italy

Died:                    April 2, 1507 in Plessis, France

Beatified:            Unknown

Canonized:         May 1, 1519 by Pope Leo X

Feast Day:          April 2

Patron Saint:     Against Fire; Against Plague; Against Sterility; Boatmen; Calabria, Italy; Hermits; Mariners; Naval Officers; Paola, Italy; Sailors; Travellers; Watermen

Source:

Reflection 

In a world often preoccupied with materialism and self-aggrandizement, Saint Francis of Paola’s example challenges us to embrace simplicity, humility, and a genuine concern for the well-being of others. Saint Francis of Paola was known for his care for the poor and the sick, exemplifying the teachings of Christ through acts of charity and kindness. His life became a living testament to the transformative power of a humble and compassionate heart.

Like Saint Francis of Paola, how can your humble and kind actions to those you encounter today leave an indelible mark of Jesus Christ’s love in the world?

Prayers

Saint Francis of Paola,

May we follow your example of humility and compassion.

Inspire us to seek God in the quiet corners of our lives and to extend kindness to those in need.

May your legacy be a guiding light, leading us towards a more profound understanding of the transformative power of a humble and charitable heart.

Saint Francis of Paola, pray for us, Amen.

Saint Links 

Aleteia – The Franciscan saint who walked on water

All Saints & Martyrs – Saint Francis of Paola

AnaStpaul – Saint of the Day – 2 April – St Francis of Paola O.M. (1416-1507)

Angelus – Saint of the day: Helena

America Needs Fatima – Saint Helena of Constantinople

Bartleby – Rev. Alban Butler. Volume IV: April. The Lives of the Saints. 1866. April St. Francis of Paula, Founder of the Order of Minims, Confessor

Catholic Fire – St. Francis of Paola

Catholic Ireland – Apr 2 – St Francis of Paola (1416-1507)

Catholic News Agency – St. Francis of Paola Feast day: Apr 02

Catholic Online – St. Francis of Paola

CatholicSaints.Info – Saints of the Day – Francis of Paola, Hermit – by Katherine I Rabenstein

Find a Grave – Saint Francesco di Paola

Franciscan Media – Saint Francis of Paola

Independent Catholic News – St Francis of Paola

Loyola Press – Saint Francis of Paola Feast day April 2

My Catholic Life – April 2: Saint Francis of Paola, Hermit

New Advent – Hess, L. (1909). St. Francis of Paula. In The Catholic Encyclopedia

RC Spirituality (Uncle Eddy) – Saint Francis of Paola

Saints, Feast, Family – The Story of Saint Francis of Paola

Saint for a Minute – Saint Francis of Paola

Sanctoral – Saint Francis of Paola Thaumaturge, Founder (1416-1507)

The Sanctuary of Paola

uCatholic – Saint Francis of Paola

Vatican – A reading from the letters of St Francis of Paola

Video Link

Cradio Saint of the Day: Saint Francis of Paola – YouTube (CatholicSaints.Info)

St. Francis of Paola – YouTube (Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network – USA)