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Observations placeholder

Saint Francis of Paola - Louis XI King of France



Type of Spiritual Experience


The healing refers to the plague victims

A description of the experience

Reverend Butler  - The Lives or the Fathers, Martyrs and Other Principal Saints, Vol. IV, 1864

Lewis XI, King of France, a prince perhaps the most absolute, most tenacious of his authority, jealous of his prerogative, and impatient of control, that ever wore that crown, after an apoplectic fit fell into a lingering decay.

Never had any man a stronger passion for life, or a greater dread of the very thoughts of death. Such was his frowardness and impatience that everyone trembled to approach him, nor durst any ask him a favour. He gave his physician ten thousand crowns a month, as long as he should prolong his life, and stood in the greatest awe of him. He shut himself up in his palace or castle of Plessis-les-Tours, near the city of Tours. Jesters, buffoons, and dancers were employed to divert his melancholy and peevishness, but in vain. He ordered prayers, processions, and pilgrimages for his health, and even against the north-wind, which he found injurious to him, and he caused holy relics from the remotest places to be brought to Plessis, into his chamber.

His distemper still increasing, he sent an ambassador to our holy hermit in Calabria, begging he would come to see him and restore his health, making the greatest promises to serve both him and his Order.

Hearing that the man of God would not be prevailed on by his promises to comply with his request, he entreated Ferdinand, King of Naples, to send him.

Francis answered, positively, that he could not tempt God, or undertake a voyage of a thousand miles to work a miracle which was asked upon low and merely human motives.

Louis did not yet desist, but desired the pope to interpose in favour of his request. Sixtus IV, by two briefs, commanded Francis immediately to repair to the king. Hereupon the obedient saint without delay set out, and passed through Naples, where he was exceedingly honoured by King Ferdinand. He took also Rome in his way, where he was treated with the highest distinction by the pope and cardinals.

Embarking at Ostia, he landed in France, and cured many sick of the plague in Provence as he passed.

Louis, in great joy, gave a purse of ten thousand crowns to him who brought the first news of the saint's arrival in his dominions, and sent the dauphin, with the principal lords of his court, to meet him at Amboise, and to conduct him to his palace.

The saint arrived at Plessis on the 24th of April, in 1482. The king went out to meet him, attended with all his court, and, falling on his knees, conjured him to obtain of God the prolongation of his life. St. Francis told him no wise man ought to entertain such a desire; to which he added this useful lesson, that the lives of kings had their appointed limits no less than those of his meanest subjects; that God's decree was unchangeable; and that there remained nothing to be done but for his majesty to resign himself to the divine will, and prepare for a happy death.

The king gave orders that he should be lodged in an apartment in his palace, near the chapel, and assigned him an interpreter. St. Francis often spoke to his majesty both in private and before his courtiers, and always with such wisdom, though a man without learning, that Philip Commines, who frequently heard him, says that all present were persuaded the Holy Ghost spoke by his mouth.

By his prayers and exhortations he effected a perfect change in the king's heart, who, having recommended to him. his three children, and the repose of his soul, died in his arms, perfectly resigned, on the 30th of August, in 1483.

The source of the experience

Saint Francis of Paola

Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps