St Francis of Paula (Paola), Confessor; Memorial: April 2
Francis was born at Paula in Calabria. Afire with God’s love, as a youth he withdrew to a lonely place where for six years he led an austere life sweetened by contemplation. As news of his great holiness spread far and wide, many people who desired formation in the spiritual life came to him.
Out of charity, he left his solitude, built a church near Paula and there started his Order. He preserved his virginity, and his humility prompted him to call himself the least of all men. He wanted his followers called Minims. He wore coarse clothes, walked barefoot, and slept on the ground. He was so filled with charity that he made it his order’s watchword.
God willed to reveal his servant’s holiness through many miracles, of which the most celebrated concerns his sailing with a companion to Sicily on his cloak after some sailors refused him passage. He had the gift of prophecy, and died at Tours in 1507 at the age of ninety-one.
O God, the greatness of the humble, who raised blessed Francis, your Confessor, to the glory of your Saints, grant, we beseech you, that, by his merits and our imitation of his life, we may happily attain the rewards promised to the humble. 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. Amen.