A Garner of Saints – Saint Louis of France

detail of a stained glass window of Saint Louis IX, date and artist unknown; Saint Edward's Hall Chapel, University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Indiana; photographed on 5 April 2016 by Eccekevin; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsArticle

(German: Ludwig; Italian Ludovico): The ninth of his name, born on 25th April 1215 and brought up by his mother Blanche of Castile, who acted as regent. During his reign France enjoyed the utmost prosperity, the laws being administered with justice and equity, and the officials of the crown being restrained from acts of oppression. The king himself was always ready to hear complaints and judge causes; everyone could approach him, and he would sit in his garden at Paris or under a tree at Vincennes to judge differences which were brought before him, without a formal trial. Sometimes he arranged a compromise while on other occasions he would give a decisive judgment, but no one ever found him to be anything but just and equitable. He was diligent in all acts of piety, fasting regularly, mortifying the flesh and giving alms. Every Saturday he gathered a multitude of poor beggars and washed their feet, dismissing them with an alms. Often he would entertain them in the palace and wait on them himself. He displayed a great zeal in collecting relics, and brought the crown of thorns from Constantinople through Venice to Sens. When it approached that city, the king and queen with Blanche and a number of nobles went to meet it, and the king, bare-headed and bare-footed, carried it into the cathedral and laid it on the altar. Subsequently it was brought to Paris amid great pomp and deposited in the Sainte Chapelle, which Louis caused to be erected to receive it. In 1243 the king fell sick of fever and dysentery so that his life was despaired of. On his recovery he vowed that he would go on a crusade. The queen-mother and the bishop of Paris endeavoured to dissuade him, but he persisted, and embarked in 1248. He set out for Egypt, but was compelled to winter in Cyprus because of the plague which broke out in the army. Early in the following year he captured Damietta. After another victory he was compelled to retreat upon Damietta, when he and his army were taken prisoners by the Saracens. Being ransomed, he returned to France, where he strictly kept every obligation into which he had entered with the infidels. After remaining for some years in his country, which he reduced to the most perfect state of order and contentment, Louis determined to set out on another crusade. The fleet sailed in 1270, but was dispersed by a tempest. On being reunited, they landed at Tunis. Although the bey had promised assistance, they were obliged to fight in order to obtain a place of safety. Carthage was taken and Tunis besieged, but the besiegers were themselves hemmed in and began to suffer from want of provisions. Dysentery broke out in the army and Louis was among the sick, being finally carried off by the disease. 25th August.

Attributes

  • Dressed as a king with the crown and sceptre, his robe covered with fleurs de lys. He often carries a crown of thorns.

MLA Citation

  • Allen Banks Hinds, M.A. “Saint Louis of France”. A Garner of Saints, 1900. CatholicSaints.Info. 21 April 2017. Web. 29 May 2017. <>