St. Francis of Paola

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By Catholic Digest Staff

St. Francis of Paola

Feast Day: April 2


Humble farmers in southern Italy during the 1400s, Giacomo and Vienna prayed for years that their marriage might be blessed with a child. At last, after they made a vow to St. Francis of Assisi, their son Francis was born at Paola. Honoring their vow, they focused their modest resources and energy on his religious education, eventually entrusting his spiritual growth to the Conventual Friars. As he grew at the monastery, reports of miracles were attributed to him, particularly bilocation: He would help in the kitchens, but also serve Mass at the same time. Renowned for his piousness even as a teenager, people often sought him out for spiritual advice. When his parents were able to bring him to Rome on a pilgrimage, he was repulsed by the materialism he witnessed in the city. On the return trip he committed himself to living in a cave, focusing on intense fasting and penance. Disciples gathered around him, and they became “the hermits of Brother Francis of Assisi.” Loved by the people for their humility and simplicity, the local community helped the hermits construct a church and monastery. During construction many workmen reported that Francis miraculously intervened to save them from various accidents. The local archbishop approved the Order and the followers embraced penance, charity, humility, and a special vow to observe an unending Lenten fast. When Francis was invited to the French court he traveled the entire journey barefoot and would sleep only on a wooden board. He died on April 2, 1507 famous for his holiness, reform work, and miracles.

Catholic Digest Staff