The saint of the day for June 4th is St. Francis Caracciolo, (1563-1608), confessor, and founder of the Minor Clerks Regular. He is the patron saint of Naples, Italy as well as the patron of chefs.
He was born of a royal family in the Kingdom of Naples. At the age of 22, he contracted leprosy, and nearly died from it. In this trial he heard the Lord’s call and was ready to dedicate his life completely in the service of God and neighbor if he would recover.
After his miraculous cure, faithful to his promise, he renounced all his properties and noble titles. He left his palace and went to Naples to prepare himself to priesthood. He was ordained priest and joined the Confraternity of the White Servants of Justice, a confraternity that looked after the spiritual welfare of prisoners and those condemned to death.
He spent every possible moment in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. His thought was that it was for men that Our Lord came to us in the Eucharist, and while the angels throng Catholic churches to worship God there, men desert Him. While kneeling before the Blessed Sacrament, his face blazed with light, which everyone could see. His favorite devotion was visiting the Blessed Sacrament in unfrequented churches, where few people came.
Francis Caracciolo, in 1588, founded the Clerics Regular, whose main work was the perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. He died when only forty-four years old, on the eve of Corpus Christi, at the same age as Saint Francis of Assisi when he died. Saint Francis Caracciolo’s last words were, “Let us go, let us go to Heaven!” When his body was opened after death, these words were found imprinted on his heart: “The zeal of Thy house hath eaten me up.”
Francis Caracciolo was beatified in 1769 by Pope Clement XIV. He was canonized on May 24, 1807 by Pope Pius VII.
On March 26, 1996, after a consolidated veneration of the saint by the chefs of Villa Santamaria (St. Francis’ hometown) and of Italy, with the request of the Italian Federation of Chefs and the approval of the Italian Conference of Bishops, the Holy See declared St. Francis Caracciolo Patron of the Chefs throughout the world.
St. Francis Caracciolo is acclaimed throughout the world not only for being the Founder of the Clerics Regular Minor (Adorno Fathers), but also as Patron of those who prepare food for sustenance of the body as well as an authentic promoter and example of Eucharistic devotion for the nourishment of our souls.
* Via the Clerics Regular Minor.
O God, You adorned blessed Francis, the founder of a new Order, with a zeal for prayer and a love of penance; grant that your servants may make such progress in the imitation of his virtues, that by constant prayer and bringing their bodies into subjection, they may deserve to attain heavenly glory. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who being God, lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever. Amen.