Saints of the Society of Jesus: Saint Francis of Hieronymo

11 May; Confessor

Saint Francis Of Hieronymo, the apostle of Naples, was known already as the holy priest before he entered the Society of Jesus. Not having obtained permission to seek the martyr’s crown in India or Japan, he devoted the whole of his life to the work of giving missions. There was no end to his labors, his austerities. His zeal met with its recompense, for all grades of persons yielded to his influence, in particular the classes whom all missionaries know to be the most difficult to convert, at least to sincere and lasting repentance – public sinners, thieves, and abandoned women. More than once, when one of these latter had refused to yield to his entreaties, he obliged the dead body to speak and reveal the torments of the condemned soul. Among those who were already good Christians he increased wonderfully the practice of devotion, frequent Communion, prayer and spiritual retreats. Such a man necessarily aroused the anger of the devil and made enemies – an enmity which only revealed his courage and his patience. As an instance of his meekness, it is said that a Mahometan slave, having struck him, began to experience terrible pains in his arm; Saint Francis blessed the arm, released the man from his suffering, and, delivering him at the same time from the darkness of his errors, received him into the Christian Church. Several times he literally turned one cheek when he had been struck upon the other. Saint Francis of Hieronymo died in the year 1716, at the age of seventy-four. He was beatified and canonized in the early part of this century.