02.04.

1507: St. Francis of Paola – One of the Humblest Members of the Catholic Church

1507: St. Francis of Paola – One of the Humblest Members of the Catholic Church
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons

Story Highlights

  • Historical event:
  • 2 April 1507
  • At first, his religious community was called the "Poor Hermits of St. Francis of Assisi", but was later renamed to the Order of Minims (Latin: Ordo Minimorum).

This day in 1507 marked the death of the famous saint Francis of Paola (San Francesco di Paola). He was an Italian from the town of Paola, in southern Italy. His parents named him after St. Francis of Assisi, and little St. Francis of Paola was indeed educated under the wing of the Franciscan Order. 

Already during childhood, he showed a tendency towards a modest and humble lifestyle. It is interesting that he was never actually ordained a priest, but joined the Franciscan order. He lived as a hermit in a cave, and eventually others joined him, and thus a religious community was founded.

At first, his religious community was called the “Poor Hermits of St. Francis of Assisi”, and was later renamed to the Order of Minims (Latin: Ordo Minimorum). Today, members of the order are called Minims (Latin: the least). This name reflects the tendency of this order towards humility and modesty.

It is interesting that St. Francis of Paola introduced the rule within his order that the brothers were not allowed to eat animal-derived foods, i.e. not just meat, but even cheese, milk, fish, or eggs.

St. Francis of Paola died at the old age of 91, precisely on Good Friday, allegedly while the Passion according to St. John was being read out to him.

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