Patron Saints Index:
Francis’s parents were childless for many years, but following prayers for the intercession of Saint Francis of Assisi, they had three children; Francis was the oldest. Following a pilgrimage in his teens to Rome and Assisi in Italy, he became a hermit in a cave near Paola. Before he was 20 years old he began to attract followers. By the 1450‘s the followers had become so numerous that he established a Rule for them and sought Church approval. This was the founding of the Hermits of Saint Francis of Assisi, who were approved by the Holy See in 1474. In 1492 they were renamed the Franciscan Order of Minim Fiars, which means they count themselves the least of the family of God.
Prophet. Miracle worker. Reputed to read minds. In 1464 Francis wanted to cross the Straits of Messina to reach Sicily, but a boatman refused to take him. Francis laid his cloak on the water, tied one end to his staff to make a sail, and sailed across with his companions. Franz Liszt wrote a piece of music inspired by the incident.
Defender of the poor and oppressed. Gave unwanted counsel and admonitions to King Ferdinand of Naples and his sons. Traveled to Paris at the request of Pope Sixtus IV to help Louis XI prepare for death. Used this position to influence the course of national politics, helping restore peace between France and Brittany by advising a marriage between the ruling families, and between France and Spain by persuading Louis XI to return some disputed land.
In an old tradition that has certain saints opposing on an equivalent demon, Francis is the adversary of Belial since his simple humility cancels the demons raging pride.