In a unique way, each saint teaches us something important about God. “Their great example lends us courage,” says the Roman Missal’s Preface II of the Saints. Because of original sin, no person is born holy. Behind every saint is the story of that person’s courageous and progressive opening to God’s grace.
St. Louis IX (1214–1270) continuously opened his heart to God’s ways, fulfilling his duties as husband, father, Secular Franciscan, and king of France. Louis, a friend to Sts. Bonaventure and Thomas Aquinas, was very concerned about the administration of justice in his realm. He was especially concerned that poor people be treated justly.
St. Louis and his royal contemporary, St. Elizabeth of Hungary, are considered patrons of the Secular Franciscan Order—of people encouraged to live the gospel of Jesus after the example of Francis in marriage, in the single vocation “in the world,” or as diocesan priests. Louis went on crusade twice, dying of disease in North Africa. He was canonized 27 years later. The Church worldwide honors him on August 25. California’s Mission San Luis Rey, near Oceanside, is named for him.
May Louis help us to open our lives to God’s grace and then follow that grace wherever it may lead us!
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