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Saint Francis of Paola

Invoked against fire and plague


Public Domain

Founder of the Order of Minims (1416-1507)

His life

+ Francis was in Paola, Italy, to elderly parents who had prayed through the intercession of Saint Francis of Assisi that God would bless them with a child.

+ After making a pilgrimage to Rome and Assisi, Francis became a hermit in a cave near Paola. Although he was still a young man, he attracted followers and by 1450 they had become so numerous that he composed a rule of life for them, calling them the “Hermits of St. Francis of Assisi.”

+ The new order was approved in 1474 and later renamed “Franciscan Order of Minim Friars,” seeing themselves as the last and least—Minim—in the Church.

+ Francis was honored as a prophet and miracle worker, but was also a champion of the poor and a reformer chosen to represent the papacy in various disputes, helping to prevent wars and bring peace where divisions occurred.

+ Saint Francis of Paola died on Good Friday, April 2, 1507, and was canonized in 1519. Because he was seen as a powerful adversary of the devil and demonic forces, he is invoked as special protector against fire.

+ Although the Minim Order is relatively small today, Saint Francis has been honored as one of the great founders of a religious order and a statue of him is found in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

For reflection

Indeed I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as refuse, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own, based on the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith; that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that I possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.”—Philippians 3:8-11


To learn about the Minim Fathers and Brothers, visit:


O God, exaltation of the lowly,
who raised Saint Francis of Paola to the glory of your Saints,
grant, we pray, that by his merits and example
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.

(from The Roman Missal)

Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.

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