Saint of the Day – 4 October – An Excerpt from The Little Flowers of St Francis of Assisi and a link to the free PDF

Saint of the Day – 4 October – St Francis of Assisi OFM (c 1181–1226)

An Excerpt from The Little Flowers
of St Francis of Assisi
Translated from the 14th Century Fioretti (1905)

“In this book are contained certain little Flowers, namely, miracles and devout examples of the glorious poor Little One of Christ, St Francis and of some of his holy companions, to the praise of Jesus Christ. Amen.

In the first place, let us consider how the glorious St Francis, in all the acts of his life, was conformed to the life of that blessed Christ; that, as Christ in the beginning of His preaching elected twelve Apostles that they should despise every worldly thing and follow Him in poverty and in all virtues, so St Francis, for the founding of his Order, elected, in the beginning, twelve companions, who were to be possessors of nothing but an entire poverty.

And, as one of the twelve Apostles of Christ, rejected by God for his infidelity, finally strangled himself, so also, one of the twelve companions of St Francis, who was called Brother John della Capella, apostatised and finally, hanged himself in like manner. And this is to the elect, a great warning and a matter of humility and of fear, to cause them to remember that no-one is certain, to persevere to the end, in the grace of God.

As the blessed Apostles were wholly marvellous for sanctity and humility and full of the Holy Ghost, so the blessed companions of St Francis were men of such great sanctity that, since the time of the Apostles, the world had not seen the like; since one of them, like St Paul, was taken up into the third heaven and this was Brother Giles; another of them, namely Brother Filippo Longo, was touched on the lips by an angel, like the Prophet Isaias, with a coal of fire; another of them and this was Brother Silvester, spoke with God, as one friend with another, after the manner of Moses; another, by the purity of his soul, flew up to the light of the Divine Wisdom, like the eagle, St John the Evangelist and this was the most humble Brother Bernard, who explained, most profoundly, Holy Writ and another was sanctified by God and canonised in Heaven whilst still living on earth and this was Brother Ruffino, who was a gentleman of Assisi. And so were they all privileged with remarkable signs of holiness, as will be declared in the sequel . . .” –page 1 – 2

To Download the PDF of The Little Flowers click here:


Saint of the Day – 25 August – St Louis IX (1214-1270) Confessor

Saint of the Day – 25 August – St Louis IX (1214-1270) King of France Confessor, King, Reformer, Apostle of Charity.

This remarkable man was born on 25 April 1214, near Paris, France. When his grandfather, King Philip II of France, passed away, his son, Prince Louis the Lion, became King Louis VIII. His wife became Queen Blanche. Their son, now Prince Louis, was only nine-years-old.

Three years later Louis’ father died and the boy was crowned King Louis IX. Because of his young age the Queen Mother, Blanche, took over the reins of government. A great woman in her own right, she made sure her son would be prepared for his life as King. Queen Blanche, also known as Blanche of Castille, took her Catholic faith very seriously. She was rigid and determined in teaching her son the faith and managed to instill genuine piety and a deep sense of devotion in him. She was quoted as having told her son, “I love you, my dear son, as much as a mother can love her child but I would rather see you dead at my feet, than that you should commit a mortal sin.

At the age of 21, Louis took charge of the government. His mother’s influence in his life was apparent because there was a force within Louis that made him strive to rule justly and to attain sanctity. King Louis had a pronounced affinity for the sick and poor of his kingdom. He treated the downtrodden with compassion, understanding and with a humility that was unheard of in a king.

Everyday King Louis IX would have three special guests called in from among the poor to have dinner with him…Since there were always crowds of poor and hungry outside the palace, he would try to have as many of them fed as was possible. During Lent and Advent anyone who presented themselves before him was given a meal and often, the King served them himself. He even had lists compiled of needy people in every Province under his rule.

Louis married his true love, Margaret of Provence on 27 May 1234. Queen Margaret was filled with religious fervour as was her husband and they truly made a beautiful couple while setting a fine example for all married couples. They both enjoyed each other’s company and liked riding together, listening to music and reading. King Louis and Queen Margaret had eleven children.

Louis was a strong-willed and strong-minded man with a powerful faith. His word was trusted throughout the Kingdom, and his courage, in taking action against wrongs was remarkable. Amazingly, this King had true respect for anyone with whom he had dealing, especially the poor and downtrodden. King Louis built Churches, libraries, hospitals and orphanages. He treated both Princes and commoners equally.

King Louis had taken his army on the 7th Crusade in 1248. This proved to be a disaster and the king was captured by the Muslims. After an absence of six years, he was successfully ransomed and returned home. In 1270 he sought redemption for his first failure and embarked on another crusade. It was summer in northern Africa and dysentery and typhoid swept through the dirty camps. King Louis IX, died while lying on a bed of ashes saying the name of the City he had not relieved; “Jerusalem, Jerusalem.

Pope Boniface VIII, proclaimed Louis a Saint in 1297. He is the only King of France named a Saint by the Church. This man was a true gentleman as he tried to treat everyone with courtesy, love and respect, whilst remaining strong and just at the same time. He is most beloved both in France and across the Catholic world.

More St Louis:


Saint of the Day – 19 March – The Solemnity of St Joseph, Spouse of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God and Patron of the Universal Church

Saint of the Day – 19 March – The Solemnity of St Joseph, Spouse of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God and Patron of the Universal Church.   The name ‘Joseph’ means “whom the Lord adds”.   Patronages • against doubt and hesitation • accountants • all the legal professions • bursars • cabinetmakers • carpenters • cemetery workers • children • civil engineers • confectioners • craftsmen • the dying • teachers • emigrants • exiles • expectant mothers • families • fathers • furniture makers • grave diggers • happy death • holy death • house hunters • immigrants • joiners • labourers • married couples • orphans • against Communism • pioneers • pregnant women • social justice • teachers • travellers • the unborn • wheelwrights • workers • workers • Catholic Church • Oblates of Saint Joseph • for protection of the Church • Universal Church • Vatican II • Americas • Austria • Belgium • Bohemia • Canada • China • Croatian people • Korea • Mexico • New France • New World • Peru • Philippines • Vatican City • VietNam • Canadian Armed Forces • Papal States • 46 dioceses • 26 cities • states and regions.

St Joseph is invoked as patron for many causes.   He is the patron of the Universal Church. He is the patron of the dying because Jesus and Mary were at his death-bed.   He is also the patron of fathers, of carpenters and of social justice.   Many religious orders and communities are placed under his patronage.

St Joseph, the spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the foster-father of Jesus, was probably born in Bethlehem and probably died in Nazareth.   His important mission in God’s plan of salvation was “to legally insert Jesus Christ into the line of David from whom, according to the prophets, the Messiah would be born, and to act as his father and guardian” (Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy).   Most of our information about St. Joseph comes from the opening two chapters of St Matthew’s Gospel.   No words of his are recorded in the Gospels;  he was the “silent” man.   We find no devotion to St Joseph in the early Church.   It was the will of God that the Virgin Birth of Our Lord be first firmly impressed upon the minds of the faithful.   He was later venerated by the great saints of the Middle Ages.   Pius IX (1870) declared him patron and protector of the universal family of the Church.

Unknown artist, 19th century, Italian

St Joseph was an ordinary manual labourer although descended from the royal house of David.   In the designs of Providence he was destined to become the spouse of the Mother of God.   His high privilege is expressed in a single phrase, “Foster-father of Jesus.”   About him Sacred Scripture has little more to say than that he was a just man-an expression which indicates how faithfully he fulfilled his high trust of protecting and guarding God’s greatest treasures upon earth, Jesus and Mary.

The darkest hours of his life may well have been those when he first learned of Mary’s pregnancy;  but precisely in this time of trial Joseph showed himself great.   His suffering, which likewise formed a part of the work of the redemption, was not without great providential import:  Joseph was to be, for all times, the trustworthy witness of the Messiah’s virgin birth.   After this, he modestly retires into the background of holy Scripture.

dream of st joseph

Of St Joseph’s death the Bible tells us nothing.   There are indications, however, that he died before the beginning of Christ’s public life.   His was the most beautiful death that one could have, in the arms of Jesus and Mary.   Humbly and unknown, he passed his years at Nazareth, silent and almost forgotten he remained in the background through centuries of Church history.   Only in more recent times has he been accorded greater honour.   Liturgical veneration of St Joseph began in the fifteenth century, fostered by Sts Brigid of Sweden and Bernadine of Siena.   St Teresa of Avila, too, did much to further his cult.

At present there are two major feasts in his honour.   Today 19 our veneration is directed to him personally and to his part in the work of redemption and is his main Feast and a Solemnity in the Universal Church, while on 1 May we honour him as the patron of workmen throughout the world and as our guide in the difficult matter of establishing equitable norms regarding obligations and rights in the social order….Excerpted from The Church’s Year of Grace, Pius Parschj m and joseph


Grant, we pray, almighty God, that by Saint Joseph’s intercession Your Church may constantly watch over the unfolding of the mysteries of human salvation, whose beginnings You entrusted to his faithful care.   Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.


Saint of the Day – 16 December – St Adelaide of Italy/Burgundy (c 931-999)

Saint of the Day – 16 December – St Adelaide of Italy/Burgundy – Holy Roman Empress, widow, Foundress of monasteries and Apostle of Charity (c 931-999) (c 931 at Burgundy, France – 999 at the monastery of Selta (Seltz), Alsace of natural causes).   Patronages – • abuse victims• against in-law problems• brides• empresses• exiles• parenthood• parents of large families• princesses• prisoners• second marriages• step-parents• widows.   Attributes – • empress dispensing alms and food to the poor, often beside a ship• escaping from prison in a boat• holding a church• veil.   St Adelaide was a Holy Roman Empress by marriage to Holy Roman Emperor Otto the Great; she was crowned as the Holy Roman Empress with him by Pope John XII in Rome on 2 February 962. She was regent of the Holy Roman Empire as the guardian of her grandson in 991-995.

St Adelaide was possibly the most prominent European woman of the tenth century through her second marriage to Otto the Great of Germany, the Holy Roman Emperor, Adelaide was regent for some time and later became the foundress of many monasteries of monks and nuns.Santa Adelaide, estátua em Seltz, Alsacia

The daughter of Rudulph II of Upper Burgundy, Adelaide was married at the age of sixteen to Lothair, who was then king of Italy.   A daughter, Emma, was born of this marriage.   Lothair was probably poisoned by his successor to the throne, Berengar.   As part of Berengar’s attempt to keep his grip on power, he ordered Adelaide to marry his son;  she refused, and he imprisoned her in a castle.  But soon after the German king, Otto the Great, defeated Berengar and freed Adelaide and proposed marriage, which she accepted.     On Christmas Day 951 she married Otto at Pavia.   The marriage consolidated his authority in northern Italy and in 962 they were crowned emperor and empress by Pope John XII in Rome.   Otto died in 973 and for twenty years Adelaide’s life was a turmoil of family and political troubles.   Her daughter-in-law, the Byzantine princess Theophano turned her son Otto II against her.   Adelaide had to leave the court and live for a time with her brother in Burgundy.   A reconciliation was effected and in 983 just before he died Otto appointed her his viceroy in Italy.

Otto II died the same year and the new emperor, her grandson Otto III, still a minor, was entrusted to the joint regency of his mother and grandmother.   Theophano was able once again to oust Adelaide from power and the court.   When Theophano died in 991 the regency reverted to Adelaide alone.   The bishop of Mainz, St. Willigis, came to her aid.

After Otto came of age in 995, Adelaide was able to devote herself to works of generosity to the poor, to help in evangelising the Slavs and in founding and restoring monasteries and convents.   She was especially friendly with the monastery of Cluny, then the centre of a movement for reform and with its abbots St Majolus and St Odilo.   The latter wrote a memoir of her, calling her ‘a marvel of beauty and goodness’.   When Otto III was old enough, Adelaide retired to the convent of Seltz near Cologne, a house she had built.   She never became a nun but she spent the rest of her days there in prayer.   Her feast is kept especially in many German dioceses.


Saint of the Day – 4 October – St Francis of Assisi OFM (1181–1226)

Saint of the Day – 4 October – St Francis of Assisi OFM Confessor, Religious, Deacon, Stigmatist and ounder, Apostle of the Holy Eucharist, the Blessed Virgin and of Charity, Preacher, Missionary, Mystic, Miracle-Worker, Co-patron of Italy, Founder of the Seraphic Order – the men’s Order of Friars Minor, the women’s Order of Saint Clare, the Third Order of Saint Francis and the Custody of the Holy Land, as well as being the Founder of the Nativity Crib and Manger as we know it today.

The oldest surviving depiction of Saint Francis is a fresco near the entrance of the Benedictine abbey of Subiaco, painted between March 1228 and March 1229.   He is depicted without the stigmata but the image is a religious image and not a portrait.

Born Giovanni di Pietro di Bernardone ( informally called Francesco by his Mother) – (1181 at Assisi, Umbria, Italy – 4 October 1226 at Portiuncula, Italy of natural causes).  His relics are enshrined in the Basilica built and named for him in Assisi, Italy.  St Francis was Canonised on 16 July 1228 by Pope Gregory IX.   Patronages – • against dying alone• against fire• animal welfare societies• animals• birds• ecologists, ecology• environment, environmentalism, environmentalists• families• lace makers, lace workers• merchants• needle workers• peace• tapestry workers• zoos• Italy• Colorado• Catholic Action• Franciscan Order• 10 dioceses• 10 cities.   Attributes – • apparition of Jesus• Christ child• birds• deer• fish• lamb• skull• stigmata• wolf.  In 1224 he received the stigmata during the apparition of Seraphic angels in a religious ecstasy making him the first recorded person in Christian history to bear the wounds of Christ’s Passion. He died during the evening hours of 3 October 1226, while listening to a reading he had requested of Psalm 142 (141).   Francis is one of the most venerated religious figures in history. 

A - ST Francis header
B. st francis and the crib info

Francis was born in Assisi in 1182, the son of a wealthy cloth merchant, Pietro Bernardone, and his wife, Pica.   He was baptised Giovanni (John) but soon gained the nickname Francesco because of his father’s close trading links with France.

Francis’ early years were not especially religious.   He was a leader among the young men of Assisi, enjoying a good social life, singing and partying.   His first biographer, Thomas of Celano, describes him as quite short, with black eyes, hair and beard;  he had a long face, with a straight nose and small, upright ears.   His arms were short but his hands and fingers slender and long.   He had a strong, clear, sweet voice.   Francis didn’t want to follow his father into the cloth trade;   he wanted to be a knight.   So at the age of twenty he joined the forces of Assisi in a minor skirmish with the neighbouring city of Perugia.   He was captured and spent a year in a Perugian jail, until his father ransomed him.   This became the first of a series of experiences through which God called Francis to the life which he finally embraced.

One of these experiences, at San Damiano, led to a rift with his father.   Francis, in response to a voice from the crucifix in this tiny ruined Church, began to rebuild churches;   when he ran out of money he took cloth from his father’s shop and sold it.   His father disowned him before the bishop of Assisi and Francis in his turn stripped off his clothes, returning to his father everything he had received from him and promising that in future he would call only God his Father.

And thus, Francis of Assisi, this poor little man began a journey to astound and inspire the Church by taking the gospel literally—not in a narrow fundamentalist sense but by actually following all that Jesus said and did, joyfully, without limit and without a mite of self-importance.Flemish School; St Francis of Assisi

Serious illness brought the young Francis to see the emptiness of his frolicking life as leader of Assisi’s youth.   Prayer—lengthy and difficult—led him to a self-emptying like that of Christ, climaxed by embracing a leper he met on the road.   It symbolised his complete obedience to what he had heard in prayer:  “Francis! Everything you have loved and desired in the flesh it is your duty to despise and hate, if you wish to know my will.   And when you have begun this, all that now seems sweet and lovely to you will become intolerable and bitter but all that you used to avoid will turn itself to great sweetness and exceeding joy.”

From the Cross in the neglected Chapel of San Damiano, Christ told him, “Francis, go out and build up my house, for it is nearly falling down.” Francis became the totally poor and humble workman.


He must have suspected a deeper meaning to “build up my house.” But he would have been content to be for the rest of his life the poor “nothing” man actually putting brick on brick in abandoned chapels.   He gave up every material thing he had, piling even his clothes before his earthly father (who was demanding restitution for Francis’ “gifts” to the poor) so that he would be totally free to say, “Our Father in heaven.”

He was, for a time, considered to be a religious “nut,” begging from door to door when he could not get money for his work, bringing sadness or disgust to the hearts of his former friends, ridicule from the unthinking.beeautiful francis 2.

But genuineness will tell.   A few people began to realise that this man was actually trying to be Christian.   He really believed what Jesus said:  “Announce the kingdom! Possess no gold or silver or copper in your purses, no traveling bag, no sandals, no staff” (see Lk 9:1-3).

Francis’ first rule for his followers was a collection of texts from the Gospels.   He had no idea of founding an order but once it began he protected it and accepted all the legal structures needed to support it.   His devotion and loyalty to the Church were absolute and highly exemplary at a time when various movements of reform tended to break the Church’s unity.

He was torn between a life devoted entirely to prayer and a life of active preaching of the Good News.   He decerned in favour of the latter but always returned to solitude when he could.   He wanted to be a missionary in Syria or in Africa but was prevented by shipwreck and illness in both cases.   He did try to convert the sultan of Egypt during the Fifth Crusade.beautiful francis

During the last years of his relatively short life (he died at 44) he was half blind and seriously ill.   Two years before his death, he received the stigmata, the real and painful wounds of Christ in his hands, feet and side.

On his deathbed, he said over and over again the last addition to his Canticle of the Sun, “Be praised, O Lord, for our Sister Death.”   He sang Psalm 141 and at the end asked his superior to have his clothes removed when the last hour came and for permission to expire lying naked on the earth, in imitation of his Lord.Death-of-St-Francis-of-Assisi-Evora-Portugal-Igreja-de-Sao-Francisco

On 13 March 2013, upon his election as Pope, Archbishop and Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina chose Francis as his papal name in honour of Saint Francis of Assisi, becoming Pope Francis I.
At his first audience on 16 March 2013, Pope Francis told journalists that he had chosen the name in honour of Saint Francis of Assisi and had done so because he was especially concerned for the well-being of the poor.   He explained that, as it was becoming clear during the conclave voting that he would be elected the new bishop of Rome, the Brazilian Cardinal Cláudio Hummes had embraced him and whispered, “Don’t forget the poor”, which had made Bergoglio think of the saint.   Bergoglio had previously expressed his admiration for St Francis, explaining that “He brought to Christianity an idea of poverty against the luxury, pride, vanity of the civil and ecclesiastical powers of the time.   He changed history.”   Bergoglio’s selection of his papal name is the first time that a pope has been named Francis.


Saint of the Day – 25 August – St Louis IX (1214-1270) Confessor, King of France

Saint of the Day – 25 August – St Louis IX, King of France (1214-1270) Confessor, King, Reformer, Apostle of Charity, a Third Order Franciscan.   Born on 25 April 1214 at Poissy, France and died on 25 August 1270 at Tunis (in modern Tunisia) of natural causes).   His relics in the Basilica of Saint Denis, Paris, France but they were destroyed in 1793 during the French Revolution.   He was Canonised in 1297 by Pope Boniface VIII.  Attributes:  crown, crown of thorns, king holding a cross, king holding a crown of thorns, nails, cross and Crucifix.   Patronages – against the death of children, barbers, bridegrooms, builders, button makers, construction workers, Crusaders, difficult marriages, distillers, embroiderers, French monarchs, grooms, haberdashers, hairdressers, hair stylists, kings, masons, needle workers, parenthood, parents of large families, passementiers, prisoners, sculptors, sick people, soldiers, stone masons, stonecutters, trimming makers, Québec, Québec, archdiocese of, Saint Louis, Missouri, Archdiocese of, Versailles, France, Diocese of, many cities in France and other parts of the world, Franciscan Tertiaries and the  Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Louis.

st louis HEADERst louis crusader

Louis IX was a reformer and developed French royal justice, in which the king is the supreme judge to whom anyone is able to appeal to seek the amendment of a judgment. He banned trials by ordeal, tried to prevent the private wars that were plaguing the country and introduced the presumption of innocence in criminal procedure.   To enforce the correct application of this new legal system, Louis IX created provosts and bailiffs.

According to his vow made after a serious illness, and confirmed after a miraculous cure, Louis IX took an active part in the Seventh and Eighth Crusade in which he died from dysentery.   He was succeeded by his son Philip III.

Louis’s actions were inspired by Christian values and Catholic devotion.   He decided to punish blasphemy, gambling, interest-bearing loans and prostitution and bought presumed relics of Christ for which he built the Sainte-Chapelle.   He also expanded the scope of the Inquisition and ordered the burning of Talmuds.   He is the only canonised king of France and there are consequently many places named after him.

Louis was born on 25 April 1214 at Poissy, near Paris, the son of Prince Louis the Lion and Princess Blanche, and baptised in La Collégiale Notre-Dame church.   His grandfather on his father’s side was Philip II, king of France; while his grandfather on his mother’s side was Alfonso VIII, king of Castile.   Tutors of Blanche’s choosing taught him most of what a king must know—Latin, public speaking, writing, military arts and government.   He was 9 years old when his grandfather Philip II died and his father ascended as Louis VIII. A member of the House of Capet, Louis was twelve years old when his father died on 8 November 1226.   He was crowned king within the month at Reims cathedral. Because of Louis’s youth, his mother ruled France as regent during his minority.   The night before he was crowned, he fasted and prayed. He asked God to make him a good servant, to make him a good and holy king for his people.

8_25_St. Louis IX best



Louis’ mother trained him to be a great leader and a good Christian. She used to say:

I love you, my dear son, as much as a mother can love her child;  but I would rather see you dead at my feet than that you should ever commit a mortal sin.

No date is given for the beginning of Louis’s personal rule.  His contemporaries viewed his reign as co-rule between the king and his mother, though historians generally view the year 1234 as the year in which Louis began ruling personally, with his mother assuming a more advisory role.   She continued to have a strong influence on the king until her death in 1252.   On 27 May 1234, Louis married Margaret of Provence (1221 – 21 December 1295), whose sister Eleanor later became the wife of Henry III of England.   The new queen’s religious devotion made her a well suited partner for the king.   He enjoyed her company and was pleased to show her the many public works he was making in Paris, both for its defense and for its health.   They enjoyed riding together, reading, and listening to music.   This attention raised a certain amount of jealousy in his mother, who tried to keep them apart as much as she could.

After the morning Mass, King Louis IX would ride his horse out into the country to see how he could work to make life better for his people.   He would often stop in villages to listen to what the people had to say.   He checked that wealthy, powerful nobles were not abusing people.   When he heard that the nobles unjustly took from people who had less, he forced the nobles to give back what they had taken.   He listened to people’s ideas for how to improve their country and he passed laws to protect those who were vulnerable. Louis was devoted to his people, founding hospitals, visiting the sick and like his patron Saint Francis, caring even for people with leprosy.   He is one of the patrons of the Secular Franciscan Order.   Louis united France—lords and townsfolk, peasants and priests and knights—by the force of his personality and holiness.   For many years the nation was at peace.   Every day, Louis had 13 special guests from among the poor to eat with him and a large number of poor were served meals near his palace.   During Advent and Lent, all who presented themselves were given a meal and Louis often served them in person.   He kept lists of needy people, whom he regularly relieved, in every province of his dominion.  

The king ordered churches and hospitals built throughout France.   In his travels, the king himself would often visit and care for those who were sick.   He listened to the needs of others.   As a man given the power to guide his country, he could do great good for his people.   He worked for peace in the world and when he did fight, he was merciful to those he captured.

In 1244, King Louis led a Crusade into the Holy Land.   As king, Louis could have taken special privileges and comforts.   Instead, he chose to share the hardships of his soldiers. Once, the king was captured.   While in prison, he prayed the Liturgy of the Hours every day.  Disturbed by new Muslim advances in Syria, he led another crusade in 1267, at the age of 41.   His crusade was diverted to Tunis for his brother’s sake.   The army was decimated by disease within a month and Louis himself died on foreign soil at the age of 44.   He was canonised 27 years later.

Louis’ patronage of the arts drove much innovation in Gothic art and architecture and the style of his court radiated throughout Europe by both the purchase of art objects from Parisian masters for export and by the marriage of the king’s daughters and female relatives to foreign husbands and their subsequent introduction of Parisian models elsewhere.   Louis’ personal chapel, the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris, was copied more than once by his descendants elsewhere.   Louis ordered the production of the Morgan Bible, a masterpiece of medieval painting.  In his private chapel, Saint Louis would genuflect during the Nicene Creed to show reverence to the incarnation of Christ at the words, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit from the Virgin Mary; and was made man.   During the crusades, the king’s practice became widespread and eventually was established as part of the rubrics of Holy Mass.   The painting of St Louis and St John the Baptist below, is from the Flemish school and was a detail for an altar of the Parliament of Paris.   In the background is the Louvre palace from the 13th century.St. Louis IX and St. John the Baptist

During the so-called “golden century of Saint Louis”, the kingdom of France was at its height in Europe, both politically and economically.   Saint Louis was regarded as “primus inter pares”, first among equals, among the kings and rulers of the continent.   He commanded the largest army and ruled the largest and wealthiest kingdom, the European centre of arts and intellectual thought at the time.   The foundations for the famous college of theology later known as the Sorbonne were laid in Paris about the year 1257.   The prestige and respect felt in Europe for King Louis IX were due more to the attraction that his benevolent personality created rather than to military domination. For his contemporaries, he was the quintessential example of the Christian prince and embodied the whole of Christendom in his person.   His reputation for saintliness and fairness was already well established while he was alive and on many occasions he was chosen as an arbiter in quarrels among the rulers of Europe.

When Louis was dying, he prayed “Lord, I will enter into your house. I will worship in your holy temple and will give glory to your name.”   Through his prayer, his support of the Church and his Christlike service to all, Louis made his whole life an act of worship.

st louis deathbed advice to his son
St Louis on his Deathbed instructing his son 

st louis receives the last rites
St Louis receives the Last Rites and Holy Communion


Saint of the Day – 14 March – St Matilda of Saxony

Saint of the Day – 14 March – St Matilda of Saxony  (c 894-968) – Queen, Apostle of Prayer and Almsgiving, Foundress  – Patronages – of death of children, disappointing children, falsely accused people, large families, people ridiculed for their piety, queens, second marriages, widows.  Medieval chroniclers like Liutprand of Cremona and Thietmar of Merseburg celebrated Matilda for her devotion to prayer and almsgiving.   Her first biographer depicted her leaving her husband’s side in the middle of the night and sneaking off to church to pray.   St. Matilda founded many religious institutions, including the canonry of Quedlinburg, which became a center of ecclesiastical and secular life in Germany under the rule of the Ottonian dynasty.   She also founded the convents of St. Wigbert in Quedlinburg, in Pöhlde, Enger, and Nordhausen, likely the source of at least one of her vitae.

Born in Saxony, Mathilda was the daughter of Thierri, a prince of considerable importance. From an early age, Mathilda demonstrated great piety and love for the Lord and was raised by her pious grandmother, Maud, the abbess of Enford, in the cloister.   There, as she grew up, she practiced daily prayer and penance and learned a love of labour and spiritual reading.   Mathilda would have been more than content to spend her life dedicated to religious pursuits.   However, her father arranged her marriage to Henry, the son of the Duke of Saxony.   Within seven years, Henry found himself the King of Germany, and Mathilda, the queen.


King Henry demonstrated through his actions that he was a God-fearing and pious spouse. His equity and courage won him the respect of his subjects and he encouraged and financed Mathilda’s longing to live a life of charitable service to others.   While Henry ruled his kingdom, Mathilda devoted herself to penance and spent her days visiting the poor and sick, offering them consolation and comfort.   She also founded schools to provide education to all, visited incarcerated prisoners and worked for the conversion of souls.   Overall, her life was relatively a simple one, despite her royalty, with her primary focus on daily prayer.


After seventeen years, Henry died of apoplexy, and Mathilda, looking to the Lord, gave up her royal vestments and jewels, laying them on the alter of the Lord.   Divesting herself of her title, she stepped aside for her children, with the eldest, Otho, becoming king. Henry became Duke of Bavaria and the youngest, Bruno, the Archbishop of Cologne.

However, all was not smooth prior to the coronation, with Henry contesting his brother’s rightful place as heir.   Mathilda, for her part, always partial to Henry, sided with him, her words creating significant discord between the brothers.   Eventually, the brothers reconciled, but turned against their mother, stripping her of her dowry,and accusing her publicly of mismanaging the royal funds in service to her charities.   Saint Mathilda accepted the punishment gracefully, recognising her sinfulness in siding with one son above another, repenting and offering herself wholly to the Lord in reparation.

The persecution and suffering of Mathilda was long and cruel but she patiently bore this all, until her son reconciled with her.   Her dowry restored, Mathilda was allowed to move back into the royal court.   However, instead, she chose to live in the Benedictine monastery of Quedlinbourg, using her funds to serve the poor and extend the religious communities in the region dedicated to charity.  he founded five monasteries, and built many churches.

Saint Mathilda grew ill and realized that death was upon her. In the presence of her community at the monastery, she made a public confession, donned sackcloth and covered herself with ashes.   She further received last sacraments from William, Archbishop of Mayence, her nephew.   Her body remains at Quedlinburg, where she is buried beside her husband.   She is venerated there today.