Feast: April 2
From his writings:
Be converted with a sincere heart
St. Francis was born in Paola, Italy. His parents had a great devotion to St. Francis of Assisi, which is who he was named after, and in school was taught by the Franciscan friars. He decided at the age of thirteen that he wanted to live by the rule of their religious community.
At the age of fifteen, he became a hermit after going on pilgrimage to Rome and Assisi with his parents. He slept in a cave and ate what he could gather from the wild. After a few years, he had two others join him and they began a religious community called the Minim friars. They took a fourth vow which consisted of them fasting from meat and other animal products. He established more foundations in southern Italy and Sicily.
Pope Sixtus IV asked Francis to travel to France. King Louis XI was near death and was hoping that Francis would perform a miracle so he may be healed. Francis told him he should not be afraid for the end of his earthly life, rather for fear of losing eternal life. He gave the king spiritual guidance and asked him to surrender his life to God. The king died in 1483.
The king’s son, Charles VIII, stayed close friends with Francis and kept him as a spiritual advisor. He continued at this time to still remain faithful to the monastic rule he developed as a hermit, remained as superior of the Minims and continued to begin new foundations in France. In the last three months of his life, he went back to living in solitude and gave his brothers instructions on the future of the order. He died on Good Friday, April 2nd, 1507. He was canonized in 1519 by Pope Leo X. The Minim order still exists in Italy to this day.
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