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