Butler’s Lives of the Saints – Saint Bernard Ptolemy, Founder of the Olivetans

[Blessed Bernard Tolomeo]Article

He was born at Sienna in 1272. After giving the most illustrious proofs of his learning and virtue, he disposed of all his worldly substance to the poor, and retired into a frightful desert near Sienna, where he led a most austere life. Here, being joined by some pious companions, he founded the Congregation of our Lady of Mount Olivet in 1319, approved by the holy see. He died on the 20th of August, 1348, and is named in the Roman Martyrology.

MLA Citation

  • Father Alban Butler. “Saint Bernard Ptolemy, Founder of the Olivetans”. Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Principal Saints, 1866. Saints.SQPN.com. 27 July 2014. Web. 28 July 2014. <>

Butler’s Lives of the Saints – Saint Richard, Bishop of Andria, Confessor


This saint was an Englishman by birth, and turning his soul to God with his whole strength from his infancy, was careful so to spend the most precious time of his youth as to ground himself early in rooted habits of abstinence, humility, prayer, and all other virtues. In the mean time he applied himself to the study both of the liberal and sacred sciences, taught the latter for some time with great applause, and took holy orders. With a view to his spiritual advancement he left his own country, and travelling into Italy, led a most holy retired life, till the reputation of his learning and extraordinary sanctity filled the whole country. The pope having been long acquainted with his qualifications and virtue, at length promoted him to the bishopric of Andria, in Apulia. All Italy was at that time miserably distracted by domestic feuds and factions. Richard, by his prudence and zeal, was a great instrument of the divine mercy in applying a remedy to these inveterate evils, and to stir up men to a spirit of penance and piety. Whilst he preached to others not only in his own diocess, but over the whole country, at the request of the neighbouring bishops, like a Baptist or a Saint Paul, he nourished his soul with the heavenly dew of prayer, and kept his body in subjection by exercising upon himself incredible severities. He died towards the close of the twelfth century, was canonized by Pope Boniface VIII, and is honoured at Andria as patron of that church. See his life in Ughelli’s Italia Sacra, and in the Bollandists on the 9th of June.

MLA Citation

  • Father Alban Butler. “Saint Richard, Bishop of Andria, Confessor”. Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Principal Saints, 1866. Saints.SQPN.com. 27 July 2014. Web. 28 July 2014. <>

Butler’s Lives of the Saints – Saints Bonosus and Maximilian, Martyrs


A.D. 363. The emperor Julian the Apostate commanded the cross and name of Jesus Christ, which Constantine had placed in the Labarum, or chief standard of the army, to be struck out, and had the standards reduced to the ancient form used under the pagan emperors, on which the images of false gods were represented. The apostate emperor had created Julian, who was his uncle by the mother’s side, and was an apostate from the Christian faith like himself, count or governor of the East; and he became a more barbarous persecutor of the Christians than his nephew himself. There were in the troops called the Old Herculians, two officers of distinguished virtue and zealous Christians, named Bonosus and Maximilian, who refused to change their standards; for each legion had a Labarum for its principal ensign. Count Julian sternly commanded them to give their troops the new ensigns, and to adore the same gods which he and the emperor worshipped. Bonosus answered: “We cannot adore gods which have been made by the hands of men.” The count ordered him to be tied up, and above three hundred lashes to be given him with leathern thongs, loaded at the end with balls of lead. Under this torment Bonosus only smiled, and made no answer to his questions. The count afterwards caused Maximilian to approach, who said: “Let your gods first hear and speak to you, and then we will adore them; for you know that we Christians are forbidden to worship deaf and dumb idols.” Julian caused them both to be stretched on the rack, and when a crier had called them each by their name, the count said to them: “You now lie on the rack, and are on the point of being tormented. Obey; exchange the representation of the cross on your standard for the images of the immortal gods.” They answered: “We cannot obey the emperor in these matters, because we have before our eyes the invisible immortal God, in whom we place our confidence.” Julian ordered them to be beaten with balls of lead three several times, and said to the executioners: “Exert your utmost strength, give them no respite.” But the martyrs felt not the least pain. Julian then commanded them to be plunged into boiling pitch; by which they receiving no hurt, both Jews and pagans cried out that they were magicians. Count Julian ordered them back to prison, and sent them bread sealed with his own signet, on which was probably engraved the figure of some idol; for they would not eat of it. Prince Hormisdas, brother to Sapor, king of Persia, (who having left his own country had embraced the faith, and had spent the better part of his days in the courts of Constantine and Constantius,) paid them a visit in prison, and finding them in perfect health and very cheerful, recommended himself to their prayers. The count threatened the martyrs in a second and a third interrogatory. But they answered him they were Christians, and were determined to continue such. They added, that Constantine, near the end of his life, had made them take an oath to be faithful to his children and to the church, a promise they would inviolably observe. The count was for having them tormented; but Secundus, prefect of the East, (whom, though a pagan, Saint Gregory Nazianzen commends for his probity and mildness, and who sat with him on the bench,) refused absolutely to hear of it. Wherefore Julian, without more ado, condemned them and several other Christian prisoners to be beheaded. Saint Meletius, patriarch of Antioch, and several other bishops, attended them to the place of their martyrdom, which they suffered with incredible joy.

Count Julian was very soon after seized with a terrible disease in his bowels and the adjacent parts of his body, whereby they putrified and bred such an incredible quantity of worms that it was impossible to destroy them. The physicians tried all sorts of remedies; several rare birds were procured at a great expense, which being killed, the blood of them was applied to the parts affected, in order to draw out the worms; but they, crawling higher into the bowels, and into the most sensible and tender parts of the body, only rendered his pains the more intolerable, whilst he voided his excrements at his mouth. His wife, who continued a zealous Christian, said to him: “You ought to give thanks to Christ our Saviour, for having by this chastisement made you sensible of his power; you would not have known who he is to whom you have declared yourself an enemy, had he shown his usual forbearance.” Count Julian, in this extremity, repented of his persecutions, bade his wife run to the churches of the Christians, and beg them to pray for him; and he besought the emperor to restore to the Christians their churches; but his entreaties were not regarded. He, however, in his last moments invoked, like Antiochus, the true God, protesting aloud that he had no hope but in his mercy; and in this miserable condition he expired. Nor did the emperor himself reign long unpunished.

The death of a sinner is the most dreadful of all evils. His mirth and jollities are then all come to the fatal period, and his eyes are taking an everlasting leave of all the fond objects of his passions. This horrible divorce and separation makes him shudder in most bitter anguish and grief, whilst he beholds himself violently torn from all he possesses and enjoys, and from his very body. The pagan philosopher considered this only when he defined death the king of terrors, and of all terrible things that which is the most dreadful; but what is more alarming than all this separation is, that all his former notions of things are overturned in this awful moment, and an entire new scene is opened to him. His conscience is a confused chaos, a thousand perplexing thoughts disturb him, and his habits of spiritual sloth grow stronger than ever. He sees that riches and honours, which he so eagerly pursued, were mere illusions; that his pleasures were dreams and shadows, which passed in a moment, but left a cruel sting behind them; the treacherous world forsakes him in the day of his distress; and the prospect of the abyss of eternity into which he is stepping fills his mind with alarms and dread which no tongue can express. If he dies insensible, his situation is but the more desperate and unhappy; for, alas! in the moment in which the miserable soul leaves the body, no tongue can express her horrible calamity. We ought to invite heaven and earth to weep over her; or rather adore God who is terrible in his justice, and stop our tears which can no longer avail such a soul. She is from this moment eternally and irretrievably lost. She is abandoned by God and his angels, and given over a prey to merciless devils, who, insulting, cry out: Let men on earth crown the carcass with pomp, epitaphs, monuments, and panegyrics, whilst it is made a feast for worms and maggots; and the soul is our victim, as the body also will one day be. How happy were the martyrs, who by their torments purchased themselves joy, secure peace, and eternal glory at their death.

MLA Citation

  • Father Alban Butler. “Saints Bonosus and Maximilian, Martyrs”. Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Principal Saints, 1866. Saints.SQPN.com. 26 July 2014. Web. 28 July 2014. <>

Butler’s Lives of the Saints – Saint Oswin, King and Martyr

[Saint Oswine of Deira]Article

Ida, descended from Woden, landed with an army of English Saxons, at Flamborough in Yorkshire in 547, and founded the kingdom of Northumberland, or rather of that part of it called Bernicia, was succeeded by Ethelfrid, whose two sons, and successively heirs, Oswald and Oswi, established the faith of Christ in the northern parts of England. After the death of Ida, his cousin Ælla, a descendant also from Woden, conquered Deira, or the rest of Yorkshire, to which afterwards Lancashire was added. His valiant and religious son Edwin embraced the Christian faith in 617, and sealed it with his blood in 633. Saint Oswald received the same crown in 642, whose brother Oswi inherited his crown. With his agreement his cousin Oswin, son of Osric, cousin-german to Edwi, having passed ten years in banishment, was called by right of inheritance to take possession of the kingdom of Deira in 642, which he governed seven years with great virtue, prudence, and prosperity, beloved by all, and enjoyed plenty and every spiritual and temporal advantage. He was tall of stature, comely in his person, liberal and affable to all, especially to the poor, sober at table, modest and most devout.

For an instance of his humility Saint Bede relates that he had bestowed on the holy bishop Aidan a horse, on which, though he usually made his journeys on foot, he might sometimes ride, and cross rivers. Soon after the bishop meeting a poor man who asked an alms of him, not having any thing else, gave him his horse with all his rich furniture. Next time he waited on the king, before they sat down to table, the king asked him why he had given so fine a horse to a beggar which he intended for his own use: adding, we had horses of less value, or other presents which would have supplied his wants. The bishop answered: “Is then a colt of more value in your majesty’s eye than a son of God?” When they had entered the dining-room, the bishop took his seat, but the king being just come in from hunting, stood by the fire with his servants warming himself. Here, calling to mind the bishop’s words, he put off his sword, and going in haste cast himself at the bishop’s feet, begging his pardon for having found fault with his charity, and promising never again to censure whatever of his goods he should give to the poor, how valuable soever. The bishop, struck with such an example of humility, raised him up with confusion, and assured him he was well satisfied, on condition his majesty was cheerful and sat down. The king hereupon expressed great joy at table, but the bishop appeared sorrowful, and said to his attendants in the Scottish language, which the king and his courtiers did not understand, that he was assured so humble and so good a king would not live long.

A quarrel arose betwixt Oswi and Oswin about the boundaries of their dominions, and they raised armies. Oswin seeing his weakness, and being desirous to spare human blood, dismissed his forces at a place called Wilfar’s Dun, or the hill of Wilfare, situated ten miles westward from a town called Cataract. Attended with one faithful soldier named Tonder, he retired to a town called Ingethling, now Gilling, near Richmond in Yorkshire, which estate he had lately bestowed on Count Hudwald. He hoped under his protection to lie here concealed, or at least that Oswi would content himself with possessing his kingdom, and would suffer him to live; but Oswi apprehended that so long as a prince so much beloved was alive, his usurpation could not be secured to him. He therefore ordered Count Ethelwin with a body of soldiers to march in search of him, and to kill him. Hudwald treacherously betrayed his guest. When Oswin saw the castle surrounded with soldiers he courageously disposed himself for death, only entreating Ethelwin to content himself with his life, and spare that of his faithful servant Tonder. The generous officer seemed unwilling to survive his master, and both were slain together, and buried at Gilling in 651, on the 20th of August. Queen Eanfled daughter to king Edwin, wife of Oswi, and near relation of Oswin, with her husband’s leave, founded a monastery at Gilling, in which prayers might be ever put up for both kings. It was afterwards destroyed by the Danes. She appointed Trumhere the first abbot, an Englishman, who had been instructed and ordained by the Scots at Lindisfarne. He was afterwards made bishop of South-Mercia, which he converted to the faith in the days of king Wulfere. The body of Saint Oswin, whose shrine was made illustrious by many miracles, was some time after translated to the strong fortress of Tinmouth, and laid in a stone coffin, in a secret part of the chapel built under the rock, secured against the approach of any enemy. The country being sometimes under infidel Danish princes, this precious treasure was forgotten till a monk of Tinmouth, named Edward or Edmund, (for these names were the same, and were given promiscuously to this monk,) discovered it, admonished it is said in a vision, and informed Egilwin bishop of Durham, in whose presence with the count and people, the sepulchre was dug open, and the sacred remains taken up, cleansed, and wrapped in precious linen and rich cloths, in 1065, on the 11th of March. Tosti Earl of Northumberland repaired and endowed more richly this monastery of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Tinmouth; he had married Judith, daughter of Baldwin Earl of Flanders, who with the bishop’s leave washed with her own hands the hair, still stained with blood, and the bones of the martyr; for only these parts remained entire, the flesh being returned to dust. Robert of Mowbray, a nobleman illustrious by a long line of noble and great ancestors, and by the glory of his own military skill and exploits, was made Earl of Northumberland by William the Conqueror. As he resided in the castle of Tinmouth he had a great devotion to Saint Oswin, finished the new monastery and church of our Lady, which Tosti had begun, and subjected it to the abbey of Saint Alban’s in Hertfordshire. Saint Oswin’s remains were at his desire translated into the same out of the old oratory of our Lady, then falling to decay. The translation was performed on the 20th of August, the day of his death, in 1103, by Ranulf, bishop of Durham, attended by Richard abbot of Saint Alban’s, Hugh abbot of Salisbury, and many other persons of distinction. See the life of Saint Oswin, manuscripts in the Cotton Library, Julius A. X. in forty-three leaves, 8vo. on vellum. Also in John of Tinmouth abridged in Capgrave, Leland Collectan. vol. 4, p. 113; also Bede Hist. l. 3, c. 14, with Smith’s notes; Alford’s Annales Anglo-Saxon, ad an. 651, much more accurate in this account, as usual, than Cressy, B. 15, ch. 14, n. 8, 9.

MLA Citation

  • Father Alban Butler. “Saint Oswin, King and Martyr”. Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Principal Saints, 1866. Saints.SQPN.com. 26 July 2014. Web. 28 July 2014. <>

Butler’s Lives of the Saints – Saint Cumin, Bishop in Ireland


He was son to Fiachna, king of West Munster, and born in the year 592. He early embraced a monastic state, and after some years was made abbot of Keltra, an isle in the lake Dergdarg, upon the river Shannon, sixteen miles from Limerick. Bishop Usher, in his sylloge of ancient Irish epistles, has favoured the public with an excellent letter of Saint Cumin to Segienus, the fourth abbot of Hy, who died in 651. The purport is to persuade the monks of that house, whose authority bore great sway in the Pictish and Irish churches, to join with the Roman universal church as to the time of celebrating Easter, which conformity he enforces with great strength of reasoning, and with admirable charity, humility, and piety. (This epistle alone suffices to give us a high idea of the learning, eloquence, and extraordinary virtue of the author. In it, speaking of the relics of saints, he testifies that he had been an eye-witness to several miraculous cures wrought by them.) But a veneration for the memory of Saint Columb, who by mistake had followed that practice, fixed them some time longer in their erroneous computation of that festival. This difference, however, was only in a point of discipline, nor did it amount to the guilt of schism where it did not proceed to a breach of communion. The councils of Arles and Nice had condemned the Quartodecimans, who celebrated Easter with the Jews always on the fourteenth day of the first moon after the spring equinox, which was to revive the Jewish ceremonies; but the practice of the Scots and Irish receded from that error, though not so much as to come up to the perfect standard of the Nicene decree; for, whereas that council ordered Easter never to be kept on the fourteenth day, that the Christian feast might never fall in with that of the Jews, these remote monks, by some mistake, had adopted a practice of keeping it on the Sunday, when it fell on the fourteenth day. Obstinacy might in the end render such a practice in some a criminal disobedience; which simplicity easily excused in others. This letter and zealous endeavours of Saint Cumin, disposed many to inquire into, and some time after to embrace, the discipline of the universal church.

Saint Cumin was afterwards advanced to the episcopal dignity, and has left us a hymn, and a collection of penitential canons, in which somethings are taken from the penitential of Saint Columban; but the true rite of observing Easter is confirmed. Ughelli informs us, that Saint Cumin, resigning his bishopric in Ireland, retired to the monastery of Bobbio, in Italy, where Saint Columban had left this mortal life in 615. He lived there in great sanctity twenty years, and died, according to Usher, in 682, but according to the Annals of the Four Masters in 661, the 12th of November. Luitprand, the most munificent and pious king of the Lombards, who ascended the throne in 712, erected a sumptuous monument to his memory at Bobbio. He is honoured in Ireland and Italy on the 19th of August.

MLA Citation

  • Father Alban Butler. “Saint Cumin, Bishop in Ireland”. Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Principal Saints, 1866. Saints.SQPN.com. 26 July 2014. Web. 28 July 2014. <>

Butler’s Lives of the Saints – Saint Mochteus, Bishop and Confessor


He was a Briton, a disciple of Saint Patrick, and the first bishop of Louth, in Ireland. He died in 535, and is called Mochta Lugh. See Adamnan, in the life of Saint Columba, and Usher.

MLA Citation

  • Father Alban Butler. “Saint Mochteus, Bishop and Confessor”. Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Principal Saints, 1866. Saints.SQPN.com. 26 July 2014. Web. 28 July 2014. <>

Butler’s Lives of the Saints – Saints Timothy, Agapius, and Thecla, Martyrs


A.D. 304. Whilst Dioclesian yet held the reins of the government in his own hands, Urban, the president of Palestine, signalized his rage and cruelty against the Christians. In the second year of the general persecution, by his order, Saint Timothy, for having boldly confessed his faith, was inhumanly scourged, his sides were torn with iron combs on the rack, and he was at length burnt to death at a slow fire at Gaza, on the 1st of May, 304, giving by his patience, a certain proof that his charity was perfect. Saints Agapius and Thecla, after suffering many torments, were condemned by the same judge to be led to Cæsarea, and there exposed to wild beasts. Thecla was despatched by the beasts in the amphitheatre; but Agapius escaped both from their fury and from the swords of the confectors on that day. He was therefore detained two years longer in prison, till Maximin Daia Cæsar gave orders that this confessor should be one of the victims to grace the festival, unless he would abjure the Christian faith. His sufferings had no way abated his constancy, and the delay of his crown had increased the ardour of his desires speedily to join his companions in glory. In the amphitheatre he was torn by a bear, but not killed either by the beasts or confectors; and wounded as he was, on the following day he was thrown into the sea. Both Latins and Greeks celebrate the memory of these martyrs on the 19th of August.

A glorious company of happy friends waits for us in God’s heavenly kingdom! Innumerable legions of angels, and all the saints who have lived on earth before us from the beginning of the world; so many holy kings, doctors, hermits, martyrs, virgins, and confessors, and several friends with whom we here conversed. They are already arrived at the safe harbour of eternal bliss. With what pleasure do we, with Agapius, raise our thoughts and eyes towards them, contemplating the joys and glory of which they are now possessed, and comparing with it our present state of conflicts, dangers, and sufferings! They look down from their seats of glory on us, and behold our combats with affection and solicitude for us. We are called to follow them, and do not we redouble our desires to join them? do not we earnestly prepare ourselves by compunction, penance, divine love, and the practice of all good works, to be worthy of their fellowship? do not we exult at the thought that we are very shortly, by the divine mercy, to be united to that blessed company, and made partners of their joy, triumph, and glory? do not we sigh for that hour, and, in the mean time, despise from our hearts all foolish promises or threats of the world, and bear with joy all labours or pains, that we may with the saints enjoy Christ? “Oh! if the glorious day of eternity had already shone upon us, whither would it even now have carried us? in what joys should we have been this instant overwhelmed?” says the devout Thomas à Kempis.

MLA Citation

  • Father Alban Butler. “Saints Timothy, Agapius, and Thecla, Martyrs”. Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Principal Saints, 1866. Saints.SQPN.com. 26 July 2014. Web. 28 July 2014. <>

Book of Saints – Louis of Toulouse


(a href=”saints”>Saint) Bishop (August 19) (13th century) Born in Provence (A.D. 1274), he was the great nephew of Saint Louis, King of France, and through his mother, the great-nephew also of Saint Elisabeth of Hungary. He was inured to hardships from his childhood, both because of the strictness of his homelife, and because of the ill-treatment he had received while kept prisoner for seven years at Barcelona, as hostage for his father, who had been taken prisoner of war. When again free he voluntarily embraced a life of austerity and prayer. He made his Religious Profession as a Franciscan Friar in Rome. Reluctantly, and “as the poorest of the poor,” he took possession of the important Archbishopric of Toulouse, to which he was almost at once promoted. He did not, however, live to govern his Diocese, but passed away at Brignolles, his birthplace, August 19, A.D. 1297, when only twenty-three years old. Such was his repute for sanctity that he was almost at once canonised. His relics are at Valentia in Spain.

MLA Citation

  • Monks of Ramsgate. “Louis of Toulouse”. Book of Saints, 1921. Saints.SQPN.com. 26 July 2014. Web. 28 July 2014. <>

Butler’s Lives of the Saints – Saint Lewis, Bishop of Toulouse, Confessor


This saint was little nephew to Saint Lewis, king of France, and nephew by his mother to Saint Elizabeth of Hungary. He was born at Brignoles, in Provence, in 1274, and was second son to Charles II, surnamed the Lame, king of Naples and Sicily, and to Mary, daughter of Stephen V., king of Hungary. He was a saint from the cradle, and from his childhood made it his earnest study to do nothing which was not directed to the divine service, and with a view only to eternity. Even his recreations he referred to this end, and chose only such as were serious, and seemed barely necessary for the exercise of the body, and preserving the vigour of the mind. His walks usually led him to some church, or religious house. It was his chief delight to hear the servants of God discourse of mortification, or the most perfect practices of piety. His modesty and recollection in the church inspired with devotion all who saw him. His mother assured the author of his life, that when he was only seven years old she found him often lying in the night on a mat which was spread on the floor near his bed, which he did out of an early spirit of penance. He inured himself to the practice of self-denial, sobriety, and mortification from his tender years. His mother herself taught him this lesson, judging it no severity for him to practise that for the sake of virtue which the Lacedemonians, and other warlike nations, obliged their children to do for the sake of corporal strength, and that they might be trained up to a martial life. The government and restraint of the senses, and of all the affections of the soul, especially against gluttony, lust, and other importunate passions, according to the prescript of reason, is called the virtue of temperance; and is that cardinal virtue which chiefly enables us and prepares us for all moral good; it is the sure basis upon which the whole building of a good life is erected, and was called by the ancient Greek philosophers the storehouse of all virtues. Under this are comprised chastity, sobriety, meekness, poverty of spirit, contempt of the world, humility, modesty, or the government of a man’s exterior, especially of the tongue; compunction, cleanness of heart, peace of mind, the mastery of the senses and passions, and the triumph over our own most dangerous and domestic enemies; all which make up the noble train of her attendants. These are the delightful streams which flow from her fountain; the beautiful flowers which grow in her garden, and are cultivated by her care. It is not therefore to be wondered at that all these virtues took early root in the soul of a young prince who laid their foundation so deep. God, by an unforeseen affliction, furnished him with a powerful means of spiritual improvement, and Lewis was inspired by his mercy with docility to the grave.

In 1284, two years after the general revolt of the two Sicilies, our saint’s father, Charles II, then prince of Salerno, was taken prisoner in a sea-fight by the king of Arragon. His father Charles died within a few months, and he was saluted by his friends, king of Sicily, but he remained four years prisoner, and was only released on hard conditions; being moreover obliged to send into Arragon, for hostages, fifty gentlemen, and three of his sons, one of whom was our saint, who was then fourteen years old; and remained seven years at Barcelona in rigorous captivity, where the inhuman usage he met with afforded him occasions for the exercise of patience and all other virtues. He was always cheerful, and encouraged his companions under their sufferings, often saying to them: “Adversity is most advantageous to those who make profession of serving God. We learn by it patience, humility, and resignation to the divine will, and are at no other time better disposed for the exercise of all virtue. Prosperity blinds the soul, makes it giddy and drunk, so as to make her forget both God and herself; it emboldens and strengthens exceedingly all the passions, and flatters pride, and the inordinate love of ourselves.” Not content with what he suffered from the severity of his condition, he practised extraordinary voluntary austerities, fasted rigorously several days every week, rejected the least vain or dangerous amusements, and would never see or speak to any woman but in public company, fearing the most remote danger of any snare that could be laid to his purity. He knew that this holy and amiable virtue is only to be kept untainted by a life of assiduous devout prayer, frequent pious meditation on the precepts of religion, the strictest rules of temperance, and the diligent shunning of all dangers: for, the least occasion, or the smallest spark of temptation, when not watched against, may sometimes suffice to put the contrary passion into a flame. He every day recited the church office, the office of our Lady, that of the passion of Christ, and several other devotions: went every day to confession before he heard mass, that he might assist at that tremendous sacrifice with greater purity of soul; and, as the whole city of Barcelona was his prison, he often waited on the sick in the hospitals. He obtained leave that two Franciscan friars, who were appointed to attend him, might live with him in his own apartments; he rose to pray with them in the night, and under them he applied himself diligently to the studies of philosophy and theology. In a dangerous fit of illness he made a vow to embrace that austere order, if he recovered his health and his liberty. In his releasement, he seemed to have no other joy than in the power of fulfilling this engagement.

He was set at liberty in 1294, by a treaty concluded between the king of Naples, his father, and James II, king of Arragon; one condition of which was the marriage of his sister Blanche with the king of Arragon. Both courts had, at the same time, extremely at heart the project of a double marriage, and that the princess of Majorca, sister to King James of Arragon, should be married to Lewis, on whom his father promised to settle the kingdom of Naples, (which he had in part recovered,) his eldest brother, Charles Martel, prince of Salerno, having been already crowned king of Hungary, in the right of his mother Mary, sister to the late King Ladislas IV., but the saint’s resolution of dedicating himself to God was inflexible, and he resigned his right to the crown of Naples, which he begged his father to confer on his next brother, Robert, which was done accordingly. Thus it was his ambition to follow Jesus Christ, poor and humble, rather than to be raised to honour in the world, which has no other recompenses to bestow on those who serve it but temporal goods. “Jesus Christ,” said he, “is my kingdom. If I possess him alone, I shall have all things: if I have not him, I lose all.” The opposition of his family obliged the superiors of the Friar Minors to refuse for some time to admit him into their body; wherefore he took holy orders at Naples. The pious Pope Saint Celestine had nominated him archbishop of Lyons in 1294; but, as he had not then taken the tonsure, he found means to defeat that project. Boniface VIII. gave him a dispensation to receive priestly orders in the twenty-third year of his age; and afterwards sent him a like dispensation for the episcopal character, together with his nomination to the archbishopric of Toulouse, and a severe injunction in virtue of holy obedience to accept the same. However, he took a journey first to Rome, and to fulfil his vow, made his religious profession among the Friar Minors, in their great convent of Ara Cœli, on Christmas Eve, 1296, and received the episcopal consecration in the beginning of the February following.

He travelled to his bishopric as a poor religious, but was received at Toulouse with the veneration due to a saint, and the magnificence that became a prince. His modesty, mildness, and devotion, inspired a love of piety into all who beheld him. It was his first care to provide for the relief of the indigent, and his first visits were made to the hospitals and poor. Having taken an account of his revenues, he reserved to his own use a very small part, allotting the rest entirely to the poor; of whom he entertained twenty-five every day at his own table, serving them himself, and sometimes bending one knee when he presented them necessaries. He extended his charities over all his father’s kingdom, and made the visitation of his whole diocess, leaving every where monuments of his zeal, charity, and sanctity. In his apostolical labours, he abated nothing of his austerities, said mass every day, and preached frequently. He was very severe in the examination of the abilities and piety of all those whom he admitted and employed among his clergy. Sighing under the weight of the charge which was committed to him, he earnestly desired leave to resign it, but could not be heard. He answered to some that opposed his inclination: “Let the world call me mad, provided I may be discharged from a burden which is too heavy for my shoulders I am satisfied. Is it not better for me to endeavour to throw it off than to sink under it?” God was pleased to grant him what he desired by calling him to himself. Being obliged to go into Provence for certain very urgent ecclesiastical affairs, he fell sick at the castle of Brignoles. Finding his end draw near, he said to those about him: “After a dangerous voyage, I am arrived within sight of the port, which I have long earnestly desired. I shall now enjoy my God whom the world would rob me of; and I shall be freed from the heavy charge which I am not able to bear.” He received the viaticum on his knees, melting in tears, and in his last moments ceased not to repeat the Hail Mary. He died on the 19th of August, 1297, being only twenty-three years and a half old. He was buried in the convent of Franciscan friars at Marseilles, as he had ordered. Pope John XXII, the successor of Boniface VIII, canonized him at Avignon, in 1317, and addressed a brief thereupon to his mother, who was still living. The saint’s relics were enshrined in a rich silver case, in the same year, in presence of his mother, his brother Robert, king of Sicily, and the queen of France. In 1423, Alphonsus, surnamed the Magnanimous, king of Arragon and Naples, having taken and plundered Marseilles, carried away these relics and deposited them at Valentia in Spain, where they remain to this day. See the life of Saint Lewis, carefully written by one who had been intimately acquainted with him, and the bull of his canonization; also Fleury, t. 18, and Pinius the Bollandist, etc.

MLA Citation

  • Father Alban Butler. “Saint Lewis, Bishop of Toulouse, Confessor”. Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Principal Saints, 1866. Saints.SQPN.com. 26 July 2014. Web. 28 July 2014. <>

Catholic Encyclopedia – Saint Louis of Toulouse


Bishop of Toulouse, generally represented vested in pontifical garments and holding a book and a crosier, born at Brignoles, Provence, February 1274; died there, 19 August 1297. He was the second son of Charles II of Anjou, called the Lame, King of Naples (1288-1309), and nephew of Saint Louis IX of France; and of Mary of Hungary, whose great-aunt was Saint Elizabeth of Hungary. If in some and even early sources (Analecta Franciscana, IV, 310) he is called primogenitus, it is only because he succeeded to the rights of his eldest brother, Charles Martel (died 1295). In 1288 Louis was sent with two of his brothers to the Kingdom of Aragon as hostage for his father, who had been defeated and captured in a naval battle off Naples by the Sicilians and Aragonians (1284). During the seven years of their captivity (1288-95) in the castle of Sciurana, Diocese of Tarragona, and partly in Barcelona, the education of the three princes was entrusted to some Franciscan friars, among whom were Ponzius Carbonelli (Analecta Franciscana, IV, 310), Peter of Falgar, and Richard of Middleton. Peter John Olivi, the great Franciscan Spiritual, was also one of their friends, who on 18 May, 1295, wrote them a long letter, published by Ehrle in “Archiv f. Litt. u. Kirchengesch.”, III, 534- 40 (see ibid., 439-41). Louis outstripped his brothers both in holiness and learning, and, during a severe illness, made the vow to become a Friar Minor.

He was still in captivity when Celestine V entrusted to him the administration of the Archbishopric of Lyons, on 7 October 1294, having previously granted Francis of Apt, O.F.M., the saint’s confessor, the faculty of giving him the clerical tonsure and minor orders (cf. Bullar. Franc., 332). Neither Bull seems to have been carried out. From John of Orta (Anal. Boll., IX, 292) it appears that he was tonsured only on 1 Nov., 1295, after his release. Louis then returned to Naples. After renouncing all the rights of succession in favour of his brother Robert, he was ordained subdeacon in Rome by Boniface VIII, and in 1296 deacon and priest at Naples (Anal. Boll., IX, 314). Boniface VIII appointed the saintly young priest Bishop of Toulouse, but Louis, wishing first to become a Friar Minor, received the Franciscan habit in Rome from the minister general, John Minio of Murro, on 24 Dec., 1296, and immediately made solemn profession. He was consecrated Bishop of Toulouse by Boniface VIII on 29 (30?) Dec., 1296 (“Bullar. Franc.”, IV, 422; cf. “Anal. Boll.”, IX, 297). After the Feast of Saint Agatha (5 Feb.), 1297, on which day he appeared for the first time publicly in the Franciscan habit, he betook himself to Toulouse, where his mild figure and his virtues were admired by everybody. He was the father of the poor and a model of administration. But his episcopate was very brief, for on his return journey from a visit to his sister, the Queen of Aragon, he was seized by fever and died at Brignoles.

We have scarcely any record of literary work of Saint Louis. Recently, however, Amelli, O.S.B., published in the “Archivium Franciscanum Historicum”, II, 378-83, a small treatise on music written by the saint, and from this it appears that he is also the author of a “Liber de Musicae Commendatione”. Sbaralea (“Suppl. ad Script.”, Rome, 1806, p. 498) ascribes to him also some sermons. His canonization, promoted by Clement V in 1307 (Bullar. Franc., V, 39), was solemnized by John XXII on 7 April, 1317 (loc. cit., 111). His relics reposed in the Franciscan church at Marseilles till 1423, when they were taken by Alfonso V of Aragon to the cathedral church of Valencia, of which town Louis became patron saint. His feast, celebrated in the Franciscan Order on 19 Aug., was decreed by the general chapter held at Marseilles in 1319 (Anal. Franc., III, 473), and the rhythmical office, beginning Tecum, composed by the saint’s brother, King Robert of Naples, was inserted in the Franciscan Breviary by the General Chapter of Marseilles in 1343 (loc. cit., 539), but seems to have been abolished by the Tridentine reform of the Breviary under Pius IV [sic, i.e., Saint Pius V], 1568 (cf. Acta SS., Aug., III, 805).

MLA Citation

  • Livarius Oliger. “Saint Louis of Toulouse”. Catholic Encyclopedia, 1913. Saints.SQPN.com. 26 July 2014. Web. 28 July 2014. <>