Tuesday, April 01, 2014
The saint of the day for April 2 is St. Francis of Paola.
Francis was born in Paola in Calabria, Italy on March 27, 1416. His parents were remarkable for the holiness of their lives: they were childless for many years, but following prayers for the intercession of Saint Francis of Assisi, they had three children; Francis was the oldest.
Francis suffered from a swelling which endangered the sight of one of his eyes. His parents again prayed for the intercession of St. Francis of Assisi, and made a vow that their son should pass an entire year in the "little habit" of St Francis in one of the convents of his order, a not uncommon practice in the Middle Ages. Francis was immediately cured.
From his early years Francis showed signs of extraordinary sanctity. At the age of thirteen, he entered a convent of the Franciscan Order in order to fulfill the vow made by his parents. Here he glorified God by his love of prayer and mortification, his profound humility, and his prompt obedience. At the completion of the year he went with his parents on a pilgrimage to Assisi, Rome, and other places of devotion. Returning to Paula he selected a retired spot on his father's estate, and there lived in solitude; but later on he found a more retired dwelling in a cave on the sea coast. Here he remained alone for about six years giving himself to prayer and mortification.
In 1435 two companions joined him in his retreat, and to accommodate them Francis caused three cells and a chapel to be built. This was the origin of a new order, to which he gave the name of Minims, that is "the least" in the house of God. Pope Sixtus IV sent him to France to help Louis XI on his deathbed. He remained there and founded a house of his Minims at Tours.
The last three months of his life he spent in entire solitude, preparing for death. On Maundy Thursday he gathered his community around him and exhorted them especially to have mutual charity amongst themselves and to maintain the rigor of their life and in particular perpetual abstinence. The next day, Good Friday, April 2, 1507, he again called them together and gave them his last instructions and appointed a vicar-general. He then received the last sacraments and asked to have the Passion according to St. John read out to him, and while this was being read, his soul passed away. Leo X canonized him in 1519.
Patronage: against fire, against sterility, Amato, Italy, boatmen, Calabara, Italy, mariners, naval officers, plague epidemics, sailors, travelers, watermen, Fossato Serralta, Italy
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 written by Saint Francis of Paola