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Sunday, April 2, 2017
St. Francis of Paola
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Double (1954 Calendar): April 2nd

St. Francis was born to parents who were childless for many years.  Yet the parents pleaded through the intercession of St. Francis of Assisi that they should be given children by God.  And so their prayers were heard.  They had three children, of which St. Francis of Paola (Paula) was one of them.

As a young boy, St. Francis journeyed to Rome on a pilgrimage to Rome and Assisi and decided to followed the will of God and become a hermit.  Before he was even 20 years old he began to attract followers and thus founded 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 Friars, with the use of "Minim," it meant that they counted themselves as the least worthy of those in the household of God.

St. Francis was regarded as a miracle worker, prophet, and defender of the poor.  In 1464 St. Francis wanted to cross the Straits of Messina to reach Sicily, but a boatman refused to take him. St. Francis responded by laying his cloak on the water, tying one end to his staff to make a sail, and then he proceeded to sail across with his companions. Franz Liszt wrote a piece of music inspired by the incident.

At the request of Pope Sixtus IV, he journeyed to Paris and helped Louis XI prepare for death.  He also used his position to help 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.

St. Francis of Paola died on Good Friday, April 2, 1507, in Pelssis France.  He was canonized in 1519 by Pope Leo X.

Tragically, in 1562 Huguenots (Protestant heretics) broke open his tomb, found his body incorrupt, and burned it; the bones were salvaged by Catholics, and distributed as relics to various churches.

Collect:

O God, the exaltation of the lowly, who hast raised Thy blessed Confessor Francis to the glory of the Saints; grant, we beseech Thee, that by his merits and example we may happily obtain the rewards promised to the lowly. Through Our Lord . . .

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