Saints and Saintly Dominicans – 2 April

detail of a painting of Saint Francis of Paola with King Louis XI; by Nicolas Gosse, 1843; Hall of Bourbon, Museum Anne de Beaujeu; photographed on 1 May 2008 by Sergey Prokopenko; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsSaint Francis of Paula

Imitating Saint Francis of Assisi, Saint Francis of Paula was distinguished for his great humility, and, having founded an Order of religious, he desired that they should bear the name of Minims, the better to express the lowliness in which they were to maintain themselves. His austerity was also very great; in his rule the religious were bound by vow to observe abstinence, and to this he added the constant practice of using only Lenten food, that is, without eggs or milk. Human reason protested against this observance and for some time the saint was disturbed, but he was confirmed in his resolution by a celestial light. “God,” says Bellarmine, “desired this austerity as an anticipated reparation for the attacks of Protestantism against the practice of fasting and abstinence and against the right of the Church to impose it.” Nevertheless Saint Francis de Paula put charity above everything and prescribed nothing, nor gave, nor received anything but with those words which became the motto of his Order: “In charity.” When he came into France the Dominican confessors of Louis XI introduced him to that monarch, who became a protector of the Minims. He died on Good Friday. There exists a custom of honoring him on thirteen Fridays, the number of days in thirteen weeks, recalling the ninety-one years of his life. (1507)

Prayer

“O Lord, into Thy hands I commend my spirit!” (Last words of Saint Francis de Paula)

Practice

Do all your actions and bear all contradictions in a spirit of charity.