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Francis of Paola

From Academic Kids

Francis of Paola (1416-April 2, 1507) was a mendicant friar and the founder of the Order of the Minims.

He was born in Paola in Calabria, Italy, which at that time was part of the Kingdom of Naples. In his youth he was educated by the Franciscans in Paola. As a teenager, he made a pilgrimage to Rome and Assisi, and after returning to Calabria, he became a hermit. By 1436, he and two followers began a movement that would become the foundation of the Hermits of Saint Francis of Assisi, which would later be renamed as Minim Friars. Their name refers to their role as the "least of all the faithful."

According to legend, in the year 1464, he was refused passage by a boatman while trying to cross the Strait of Messina to Sicily. He reportedly laid his cloak on the water, tied one end to his staff as a sail, and sailed across the strait with his companions.

He died in 1507 in France.

He was canonized by Pope Julius II in 1512. He is considered to be a protector of boatmen, mariners, and naval officers. His feast day is celebrated on his birthday April 2.

In 1562, a group of Huguenots in France reportedly broke open his tomb and found his body incorrupt. They burned it and scattered the bones, which were gathered by Catholics and distributed as relics.

In 1963, Pope John XXIII designated him as the patron saint of Calabria.

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