Monday, August 25, 2008

Patron of the Secular Franciscan Order - St. Louis IX of France

St. Louis, King of France, is a co-patron of the Secular Franciscan Order and TOR, Third Order Regular, along with St. Elizabeth of Hungary, 1214-1270. At the age of 12 yrs. he became king.
His mother, Blanche of Castile, ruled until Louis was 19. He and Margaret of Provence had 11 children to whom Louis gave excellent training. He was particularly noted for his spirit of penance, prayer, and love for the poor. In ruling France, he showed concern for the peace of his people and their spiritual welfare. He had a passion to free the Holy Land from the Moslems by leading a crusade but he died near Carthage.
Earlier in his life, Franciscans friars were among his instructors; eventually he became a Secular Franciscan. He fasted during Advent and on Fridays. He was generous in founding hospitals, building churches and promoting learning.
His greatest achievement was to rule his kingdom in the light of the Gospel. He always considered God's law superior to his own laws.
He died on his second crusade and was canonized in 1297.