Saint Francis of Paola (Patron for Mariners)
Saint Francis of Paola (Patron for Mariners) born in the town of Paola which lies in the southern Italian Province of Cosenza, Calabria. An Italian mendicant friar and the founder of the Roman Catholic Order of Minims. Unlike the majority of founders of men’s religious orders, and like his patron saint. Francis never ordained a priest. Educated by the Franciscan friars in Paola.
Had recourse to prayer and especially commended themselves to the intercession of St. Francis of Assisi after whom they named their first-born son. Two other children were eventually born to them. St. Francis also raised his pet lamb, Martinello, from the dead after it had been eaten by workmen. “Being in need of food, the workmen caught and slaughtered Francis’ pet lamb, Martinello, roasting it in their lime kiln. They were eating when the Saint approached them, looking for his lamb.
When still in the cradle, Francis suffered from a swelling which endangered the sight of one of his eyes. His parents again had recourse to Francis of Assisi and made a vow that their son should pass an entire year wearing the “little habit” of St Francis in one of the friaries of his Order, a not-uncommon practice in the Middle Ages.
At the age of 13, being admonished by a vision of a Franciscan friar, he entered a friary of the Franciscan Order to fulfill the vow made by his parents. At the completion of the year he went with his parents on a pilgrimage to Assisi, Rome, and other places of devotion.
Returning to Paola, he selected a secluded cave on his father’s estate and there lived in solitude; but later on he found an even-more secluded cave on the sea coast. Here he remained alone for about six years, giving himself to prayer and mortification.