Saint of the Day – 11 December – Blessed Francesco Lippi O.Carm (1211-1291) also known as Blessed Franco of Siena – Carmelite Hermit, Mystic, Penitent, with the gift of prophesy. Born in c 1211 at Grotti-Siena, Italy and died on 11 December 1291 in Siena, Italy of natural causes, aged 80.
Blessed Francesco was born at Grotti, Italy of the noble parents, Matteo and Dorotea Lippi.
He spent his dissolute adolescence as a soldier who indulged in many vices. His military unit captured Sarteano from the Orvientani but, during the fighting, he was blinded in 1261. In his supplication in prayer, he promised to change his life if he was healed and regained his sight. After praying fervently to Saint James for his intercession, his sight was indeed restored.
He travelled on a pilgrimage to Campostella and to the Basilica di San Nicola in Bari to visit the tomb of Saint Nicholas. He also travelled to both Loreto, Rome and Siena, where he heard the preaching of Blessed Ambrose Sansedoni OP, a renowned preacher whose oratory, simple rather than elegant, was most convincing and effective. Thereafter, Blessed Francesco resolved to live the remainder of his life as a hermit and to do penance for his earlier life. He shut himself in a small cell and remained there from 1261 to 1266.
Then he entered the Carmelite Order and continued to live as a hermit. He experienced visions of Jesus Christ and the Madonna as well as seeing angels and experiencing the temptations of demons. He became well-known for his prophetic gifts.
He died on 11 December 1291. Part of his relics were relocated to a Carmelite convent in Cremona in 1341.
The confirmation of the late Lippi’s ‘cultus’ (or popular devotion) allowed for Pope Clement X to approve his Beatification in 1670.