09 Aug

A short biography of St Ludovico

“…St Ludovico was born in Casoria, outside Naples, Italy, in 1814. As a youth he apprenticed as a cabinet maker, but on 1st July 1832 he entered the novitiate of the Franciscans.

Shortly after his ordination as a priest, he was appointed to teach philosophy and mathematics to the young members of the Friary of St Peter in Naples. St Ludovico soon embarked on a lifetime of establishing good works to care for the poor and needy, founding orphanages and dispensaries. In the year 1852 St Ludovico opened a school for African boys and girls who had been freed from slavery. He also founded institutions for the deaf and mute and provided care for the elderly members of the Franciscan Order.

The Grey Friars of Charity and the Franciscan Sisters of St Elizabeth

Following the advice of his superiors, St Ludovico wanted to ensure that the good works he had established would be able to be continued after his death. In 1859 he instituted a new community of men known as the Grey Friars of Charity because of the greyish colour of their religious habit. Three years later St Ludovico also instituted a likewise congregation of women, known as the Franciscan Sisters of St Elizabeth, whom he placed under the protection of St Elizabeth of Hungary, one of the first members of the Third Order of St Francis and its patroness.

Following Christ in suffering

Nine years before his death, St Ludovico was struck down with a serious and painful illness, from which he never completely recovered. He died in 1885 and within a few months his cause for canonisation as a saint was introduced to Rome. He was beatified by Pope Saint John Paul II in 1993, and has now been declared a saint by Pope Francis.

St Ludovico’s spiritual testament begins, ‘The Lord called me to Himself with a most tender love, and with an infinite charity He led and directed me along the path of my life.'”

– From: Spiritual Thought from Fr Chris/2014 (headings in bold added afterwards)


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