Saint Louis IX: King of France, Spouse and Father
August 25 is the optional memorial of Saint Louis IX (1215-1270). A third order Franciscan, he was a just king, a devoted spouse, and the loving father of eleven children.
Saint Louis IX, King of France, son of Louis VIII and Blanche of Castile, was born at Poissy, April 25, 1215. Louis was twelve years old when his father’s death made him king. At that time, his mother Queen Blanche of Castile, served in his place on the throne and remained an important influence throughout his life.
Louis had tutors who shaped him into a master of Latin, taught him to speak easily in public, and write with dignity and grace. But Blanche’s primary concern was to imbed in him a deep regard and awe for everything related to religion. She used often to say to him as he was growing up, “I love you my dear son, as much as a mother can love her child; but I would rather see you dead at my feet than that you should commit a mortal sin.”
At nineteen, he married Marguerite of Provence and the couple had eleven children. Louis was a model father and his children received careful instruction from him in the Christian life.
Louis brought justice to France. When, for example, a baron hanged three students for poaching rabbits, the King’s response was firm. He forced the baron to surrender his forest, imprisoned him for a time, fined him heavily, made him build a chapel in memory of each student, and ordered him to crusade for three years in Palestine.
Louis was a loving and generous king. The poorest of the poor were recipients of his charity and alms every day. Beggars were fed from his table, while he ate their leavings, washed their feet, and attended to the needs of the lepers. Daily, he fed 120 poor people. He founded many hospitals and houses: the House of the Felles-Dieu for reformed prostitutes; the Quinze-Vingt for 300 blind men (1254), and hospitals at Pontoise, Vernon, Compiégne.
Louis was a faithful Christian sovereign. One of his first acts as King was to build the famous monastery of Royaumont, with funds left for the purpose by his father. Louis gave encouragement to the religious orders, placing the Carthusians in the palace of Vauvert in Paris, and assisting his mother in founding the Maubuisson abbey.
Louis led an exemplary life, secretly spending long hours in prayer, fasting, and penance. He attended Holy Mass twice daily, and was surrounded, even while traveling, with priests chanting the hours.
Louis died near Tunis, August 25, 1270 and was canonized in Orvieto in 1297, by Boniface VIII.
He is the patron of: barbers, builders, construction workers, the death of children, difficult marriages, distillers, embroiderers, grooms, hairdressers, kings, parenthood, parents of large families, prisoners, sculptors, sick people, soldiers, stone masons, and the Archdiocese of Saint Louis, Missouri.
Saint Louis IX Quotes
“Love all good, and hate all evil, in whomsoever it may be.”
“Let no one be so bold as to say, in your presence, words which attract and lead to sin, and do not permit words of detraction to be spoken of another behind his back.”
“Love your brothers, and always wish their well-being and their good advancement, and also be to them in the place of a father, to instruct them in all good. But be watchful lest, for the love which you bear to one, you turn aside from right doing, and do to the others that which is not meet.”