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Observations placeholder

Saint Francis of Paola - The Gift of Miracles



Type of Spiritual Experience


Not really fire walking but fire holding

A description of the experience

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

In 1469, Pope Paul II sent one of his chamberlains, an ecclesiastic of the noble family of Adorno, in Genoa, into Calabria, to inform himself of the truth of the wonderful things that were related of the saint.

The chamberlain addressed himself to the vigilant Archbishop of Cosenza, who assured him, from his own intimacy with the saint, of his sincere virtue and extraordinary sanctity, and sent one of his ecclesiastics, named Charles Pyrrho, a canon of Cosenza, a man of great learning and probity, to attend him to Paula.

This Pyrrho had been himself healed ten years before of a violent toothache by the man of God touching his cheek with his hand (of which the authentic depositions are extant), and had from that time frequently visited him.

The saint was at work, according to his custom, among the masons who were laying the foundation of his church, but seeing two strangers coming towards him, left his work and came to meet them. He made them a low obeisance; and when the chamberlain offered to kiss his hand, according to the Italian custom of saluting priests and religious men, he would by no means allow it; and falling on his knees, said he was bound to kiss his hands, which God had consecrated for the thirty years he had said mass.

The chamberlain was exceedingly struck at his answer, hearing him, who was an entire stranger to his person, tell him so exactly how long he had been a priest; but, concealing himself and his commission, desired to converse with him in his convent.

The saint conducted him into a chamber. The chamberlain, who was a very eloquent man, made him a long discourse, in which, to try his virtue, he censured his institute as too austere; spoke much on the illusions and dangers to which extraordinary and miraculous gifts are liable, and exhorted him to walk in ordinary paths, trodden by eminent servants of God.

The saint answered his objections with great modesty and humility, but seeing him not yet satisfied, he went to the fire, and taking out some burning coals, held them a considerable time in his hand without receiving any harm, saying,

"All creatures obey those who serve God with a perfect heart," which golden words are inserted by Leo X in the bull of his canonization.

The chamberlain returned to Cosenza full of admiration for the holy man, and told both the archbishop and his holiness at his return to Rome that the sanctity of Francis was greater than his reputation in the world.

The source of the experience

Saint Francis of Paola

Concepts, symbols and science items


Fire walking

Activities and commonsteps