Stories & Legends
The Resurrections Worked by
St. Francis of Paola
As the pagan spirit of the Renaissance and the mood of doubt assailed Western Christendom in the 15th century, God gave the Church a great miracle worker who cured the sick, raised the dead, prophesied, walked on water, and influenced seven Popes and five Kings. This man was St. Francis of Paola (1416-1507), who founded an order – the Franciscan Minims – with close to 500 monasteries.
The ambitious Pope Sixtus IV sat on the papal throne, but this Franciscan hermit monk – who had lived for several years in a cave practicing mortification – came to exert an influence greater than the worldly Pope.
St. Francis raised six persons from the dead, the son of the Baroness of Belmont, above
He became so famous that King Louis XI of France, suffering from a prolonged ailment, begged Francis to make the journey from Italy in order to cure him. St. Francis came to his bedside and instructed him in resignation to the will of God. After preparing the King, St. Francis remained with him and saw him die a good death.
St. Francis of Paola also had occasion to help his own family, specifically his nephew, Nicholas d’Alesso, son of his sister Brigida. Brigida would not give her consent for her son to become a monk, and the boy had become ill and died.
When the young man’s body was about to be lowered into the grave at the monastery of St. Francis, the wonder worker of Paola stopped the grave workers, and ordered that the body be taken to his room. Then he beseeched Our Lord to restore the life of his nephew. That same night, Nicholas came back to life, but St. Francis told no one of the miracle.
In the morning, Brigida came to the monastery church for the funeral Mass of her eldest son. Francis approached his weeping sister and asked: “Brigida, if your son should return to life, would you consent to his becoming a religious?”
“If Heaven so desires,” she replied, “it will be my greatest consolation.”
Francis left her, went to his cell, and returned with Nicholas clothed as a monk. His mother, relatives and friends who had come sorrowing to the church greeted him with amazement and great joy.
This and many other miracles were sworn to by numerous witnesses both before the Bishop of Cosenza, and later at Rome during canonical hearings in 1519.
The life of St. Francis of Paola, founder of the Hermits of St. Francis of Assisi (the Minims), is well documented, and he is credited with raising at least six persons to life. One he raised twice: Thomas d’Yre of Paterna was first crushed by a tree, and later he fell from a steeple. Each time St Francis prayed and returned him to life.
Once, a workman of Paola, Domenico Sapio, was crushed by a huge pine tree. St. Francis prayed on his knees beside the corpse. Then, rising to his feet and raising his arms to Heaven, he cried out: “In the name of God, Domenico, arise!” Domenico arose, dusted himself off and, after thanking Francis, returned to work.
After St. Francis of Paola’s famed crossing on his cloak over the straits of water from Italy to Sicily, he came to a place called the “Pond of the Hanged,” where convicted criminals were hanged. A body had been dangling from the gallows there for three days.
St. Francis and companion cross the strait to Messina on his cloak
With the help of a brother who accompanied him, the saint removed the rope from the corpse’s neck, and compassionately gathered the dead man into his arms. He prayed to God, and the revived criminal fell at his knees with an outpouring of thanks. That hanged man became one of his friars and lived many more years in the service of God as a monk.
At Galeazzo, St. Francis also restored to life the dead son of the Baron of Belmonte.
Later, after Francis’s death, there were many miracles worked through his intercession, including the April 2, 1613 resurrection of the four-year-old Ponger boy who had drowned in a pool at Amiens, France.
Posted on June 2, 2012
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