Saint Francis of Paola

[Saint Francis of Paola]Also known as

  • Franciscus de Paula
  • Francis the Fire Handler
  • Francesco di Paola

Memorial

Profile

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. Following a pilgrimage in his teens to Rome and Assisi in Italy, he became a hermit in a cave near Paola. Before he was 20 years old he began to attract followers. By the 1450‘s the followers had become so numerous that he established a Rule for them and sought Church approval. This was the founding of the Hermits of Saint Francis of Assisi, who were approved by the Holy See in 1474. In 1492 they were renamed the Franciscan Order of Minim Fiars, which means they count themselves the least of the family of God.

Prophet. Miracle worker. Reputed to read minds. 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 inspired by the incident.

Defender of the poor and oppressed. Gave unwanted counsel and admonitions to King Ferdinand of Naples and his sons. Traveled to Paris at the request of Pope Sixtus IV to help Louis XI prepare for death. Used this position to influence the course of national politics, helping restore peace between France and Brittany by advising a marriage between the ruling families, and between France and Spain by persuading Louis XI to return some disputed land.

In an old tradition that has certain saints opposing on an equivalent demon, Francis is the adversary of Belial since his simple humility cancels the demons raging pride.

Born

Died

Canonized

Patronage

Representation

  • man with the word “charitas” levitated above a crowd
  • man holding a skull and scourge
  • man sailing on his cloak
  • green rose

Images

Readings

Fix your minds on the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ. Inflamed with love for us, he came down from heaven to redeem us. For our sake he endured every torment of body and soul and shrank from no bodily pain. He himself gave us an example of perfect patience and love. We, then, are to be patient in adversity.

Take pains to refrain from sharp words. Pardon one another so that later on you will not remember the injury. The recollection of an injury is itself wrong. It adds to our anger, nurtures our sins and hates what is good. It is a rusty arrow and poison for the soul. It puts all virtue to flight.

Be peace-loving. Peace is a precious treasure to be sought with great zeal. You are well aware that our sins arouse God’s anger. You must change your life, therefore, so that God in his mercy will pardon you. What we conceal from men is known to God. Be converted, then, with a sincere heart. Live your life that you may receive the blessing of the Lord. Then the peace of God our Father will be with you always. - from a letter by Saint Francis of Paola

MLA Citation

  • “Saint Francis of Paola“. Saints.SQPN.com. 28 August 2014. Web. 2 October 2014. <>