Tuesday, June 28, 2011

St Francis de Paola

St Francis de Paola at the Church of the Trinity of the Mounts  - at the top of the Spanish Steps, Rome
I have just discovered this amazing saint - St Francis de Paola. I took this image at the Church of the Trinity of the Mounts, at the top of the Spanish Steps in Rome. He is the patron saint of mariners. He was a vegetarian, a hermit and was founder of the Order of the Minims  - the least. The image depicts his hidden life as a hermit. He decreased so that Christ could increase.

Trinita' dei Monti is a famous church in Rome, well known because of its location just above the Spanish Steps that descend into the Piazza di Spagna. The church is dedicated to the Holy Trinity. It was built near the monastery founded by St. Francis di Paola in 1493. In the square at the bottom of the Spanish Steps is a fountain shaped like a boat. I wonder if that is because of one of St Francis of Paola many miracles, the one when he walked on the waves?

Here is a letter written by him -
St. Francis of Paola, Vatican Website, Prepared by Pontifical University Saint Thomas Aquinas
A reading from the letters of St Francis of Paola, Hermit (Letter AD 1486)
Turn to the Lord with a pure heart"May our Lord Jesus Christ, who repays most generously, reward your labour. You must flee from evil, and drive away dangers. We and all our brothers, although unworthy, pray constantly to God the Father and to his Son Jesus Christ, as well as to Mary the Virgin Mother, to be with you as you seek the salvation of your souls and your bodies.
Brothers, I most strongly urge you to work for the salvation of your souls with prudence and diligence. Death is certain, and life is short and vanishes like smoke. Therefore you must fix your minds on the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ who so burned with love for us that he came down from heaven to redeem us. For our sakes he suffered all the agonies of body and mind, and did not shrink from any torment. He gave us a perfect example of patience and love. For our part, we too must be patient when things go against us.
Put aside hatred and hostility. See to it that you refrain from harsh words. But if you do speak them, do not be ashamed to apply the remedy from the same lips that inflicted the wounds. In this way you will show each other mercy and not keep alive the memories of past wrongs. Remembering grievances works great damage. It is accompanied by anger, fosters sin, and brings a hatred for justice. It is a rusty arrow spreading poison in the soul. It destroys virtue and is a cancer in the mind. It thwarts prayer and mangles the petitions we make to God. It drives out love and is a nail driven into the soul, an evil that never sleeps, a sin that never fades away, a kind of daily death.
Be lovers of peace, the most precious treasure that anyone can desire. You are already aware that our sins drive God to anger, "so you must repent of them, that God in his mercy may spare you. What men conceal is open to God. Turn to him with a sincere heart. Live in such a way that you bring upon yourselves the blessing of God, and that the peace of God our Father may be with you always."
Born at Paola in Calabria in the year 1416.  He died at Tours in France in 1507.