Some Awesome People

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

St. Francis Caracciolo

(1563 –1608)

Ordinary Time: June 4th

St. Francis Caracciolo was born from a noble family on October 13, 1563, in Villa Santa Maria (Abruzzo Region). His parents, Ferrante Caracciolo and Isabella Baratucci baptized him as Ascanio.

He received an excellent human formation and Catholic education, and these showed from his virtues since childhood.

When he was 22 years, he was inflicted by a terrible disease (leprosy),  which almost led him to death. In this trial, he heart the Lord’s call and was ready to dedicate his life completely in the service of God and neighbor, if he would recover.

After his miraculous cure, Ascanio, faithful to his promise, renounced all his properties and noble titles. He left his place and went to Naples to prepare himself to priesthood. He was ordained priest and joined the Confraternity of the White Servants of Justice, a confraternity that looked after the spiritual welfare of prisoners and those condemned to death. It was located close to the Hospital of Incurables.

Francis founded the Order of Minor Clerks Regular with St. John Augustine Adorno. The congregation's apostolate was preaching missions and performing diverse works of charity. In the course of time, he became known as "Venerable Father, the Preacher of the Love of God," a title merited for promoting devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and introducing nocturnal adoration in his community. He had a childlike love for the Blessed Virgin; his greatest joy was to be of service to his neighbor. God endowed him with the gift of prophecy and the discernment of spirits.

At the age of forty-four, while praying one day in the church at Loretto, he recognized that his end was near. Immediately, he went to the monastery of Agnona in the Abruzzi, and exclaimed as he entered, "This is my final resting place." Shortly after, he was stricken with fever, received the last sacraments with deepest fervor, and quietly fell asleep in the Lord.

The Church selects our saint's zeal for prayer and his spirit of penance for emphasis in today's Collect, and proposes these two virtues for imitation. "In imitating him, grant that we may make such progress that we may pray without ceasing and constantly have our bodies under subjection." This is not an easy task; the liturgy, therefore, provides the needed assistance, the example of St. Francis, and the holy Eucharist.

Excerpted from The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch


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