Tuesday, April 2, 2013


Blessed John Paul - pope for almost 27 years
ARCHDIOCESE OF SYDNEY RELEASE: Eight years ago today tens of thousands of people gathered in St Peter's Square as the bells of the Basilica rang over and over again and those in the Square and millions around the world mourned the death of pope John Paul II.
It was 9.37pm on Saturday 2 April and Pope4 John Paul II had been the leader of the Roman Catholic Church and sovereign of Vatican City for almost 27 years.
As the leader of the Catholic Church, he travelled the world, visiting more than 100 countries to spread his message of faith and peace.
A vocal advocate for human rights, John Paul often spoke out about suffering in the world. He held strong positions on many topics, including his opposition to capital punishment. A charismatic figure, John Paul used his influence to bring about political change and is credited with the fall of communism in his native Poland. 
Born Karol Jozef Wojtyla on 18 May 1920,  in Wadowice, Poland,  he was ordained in 1946, became a bishop in 1958, archbishop in 1964 and was made a cardinal by Pope Paul V1 in 1967. The young man who loved both sport and the theatre and who studied at a secret seminary due to the Nazi 0ccupation of Poland, went on to become the first non-Italian pope in more than 400 years when he was elected at the 1978 conclave.
Travelled widely and loved by millions
Pope John Paul travelled widely and was loved by millions but especially young people which brought him to establish the World Youth Days. The 19 World Youth Days celebrated during his pontificate brought young people together from all over the world.
He also successfully encouraged dialogue with Jews and the representatives of other religions,  whom he several times invited to prayer meetings for peace, especially in Assisi.
Under his guidance the Church prepared for the Great Jubilee of 2000; he gave an extraordinary impetus to canonisations and beatifications; he expanded the College of Cardinals considerably and he produced numerous documents including 14 Encyclicals, 15 Apostolic Exhortations, 11 Apostolic Constitutions and 45 Apostolic Letters.
He promulgated the Catechism of the Catholic Church in light of Tradition as authoritatively interpreted by the Second Vatican Council and also published five books.
As his health deteriorated, millions watched his suffering
Again in 1981 the world was watching when an assassin shot John Paul twice in St Peter's Square. He recovered from his injuries and later even visited his would-be assassin in jail and forgave him.
Years later JP11 health was sp obviously failing although he pressed on with his role. People saw his suffering as his health continue to fail and at public appearances he moved increasingly slower, was unsteady on his feet, was stopped over and could hardly speak.
When news broke that he was near death thousands of people began  arriving in St Peter's Square, lighting candles and praying.
From the time it was announced that John Paul II had died until  8 April, the day of the funeral, more than three million pilgrims came to Rome to pay homage to the mortal remains of a pope people began calling John Paul the Great. Some of them queued for up to 24 hours.
On 28 April, the new Holy father Benedict XV1 announced that the normal five-year waiting period before beginning the cause of beatification and canonisation would be waived and the cause was officially opened by Cardinal Camillo Ruini on 28 June, 2005.
Beatified 1st May 2011
Six years later on 1 May 2011, the beatification ceremony for Pope John Paul II was presided over by Pope Benedict . A vigil in preparation for the celebration was held the night before in the Circus Maximus. The casket in which he was interred was exhumed and placed before Saint Peter's tomb on 20 April, in front of the main altar for veneration during the ceremony. It was then reinterred in the Chapel of St Sebastian. I vial containing the Pope's blood, taken during the final days of his life, was displayed as a relic for veneration.
A total of 87 international delegations attended the beatification ceremony, including 22 world leaders. One million Catholics had gathered for the mass in St Peter's Square.
On 2 May, 2011, following a two-day viewing by hundreds of thousands of pilgrims, Blessed John Paul's coffin was sealed within St Peter's Basilica under the Altar of St Sebastian.
Many hundreds of thousands of pilgrims visit  the site every year.


SPECIAL TO JCE NEWS FROM SARAH GOULD: What follows is a text version of our talk given at the Dynamic Women of Faith conference. It follows theintroduction found here.
What is The Feminine Gift: Tricia

What is the feminine gift, metaphysically speaking? Well, it stems from who you are.  You are a woman, and your very being is a gift.  Does it matter that you are a woman?  Yes, it does. You are different from a man. You share human nature with him, and aside from your femininity you have the unique gifts God has given to only you, but you are a woman, and that informs everything about you.

The feminine qualities speak of a woman’s heart. She is drawn to people rather than things, her preference is for relationships over concepts, her focus is on the personal rather than the theoretical. She is generous, receptive, desires to serve, is maternal. She has a capacity for spirituality, and has natural piety. She is attracted to beauty, and is creative.

Every book we’ve read about women and femininity acknowledges that women are inclined to piety. Teresa of Avila says that more women than men receive extraordinary mystical graces; Alice von Hildebrand says our one great advantage is that we know we are weak, and God is always choosing the weak, the helpless, the defective. (Pope Francis’ motto is “Lowly, yet chosen.”) It is a woman’s receptivity that opens her to holiness: she is receptive to God’s grace.

 It is also our yearning for connection, for relationship that impels us toward God. Our joy as women is union with God, either mystically as singletons or religious, or sacramentally with our husbands.
Human beings are comprised of mind, body, and spirit.  Women more fully integrate all three then men do. We use and apply all three in every aspect of life. Pop psychology tells us the same thing: men are in boxes, and women multitask.  Turns out there is a spiritual reality to that – it is God’s design that we be that way to complement each other.

Edith Stein says the main function of a woman is to protect, preserve, shelter, guard, and help.  These are the qualities of maternity. We are formed for a distinct purpose. Thomas Aquinas teaches that the soul is the form of the body – which means that a woman’s soul is distinct from a man’s. We are not neutral in either body or soul. You, as a woman, are Woman through and through! Therefore, a woman is both physically and spiritually endowed to be wife and mother. It means, as Edith Stein writes, that woman naturally seeks to embrace that which is living, personal, and whole. To cherish, guard, protect, nourish, and advance growth is her natural, maternal yearning. She aspires to a totality of mind, body, and spirit and wants the same for others. The mark of a woman is her concern for the whole person. This is the maternal touch. It’s why women touch and hug, ask questions, share personal details, and do so over food.

To be developed in its full sense, maternity must be interpreted as supernatural as well as natural. Supernatural maternity can be disassociated from natural maternity – by that, I mean a woman is maternal even when she doesn’t have natural children of her own. Our gift is to bring that maternal heart to every person we meet. Think of Teresa of Calcutta and the many thousands of souls who call her Mother. Think of the powerful force she was, and still is, for the Gospel message.

It is our maternal heart, which focuses on the personal, the relationship, and the perfection of the individual that we bring to our family, our community, and the Church. Though a woman may work in a traditionally masculine job, she does so, as Gertrude von le Fort explains it, under a feminine aspect. A woman computer analyst, or construction worker, or member of the armed services cannot help but influence her surroundings and colleagues with her feminine heart.

The question of femininity is tricky because the issue strikes so closely to the identity of a person, how we perceive ourselves, how we evaluate our purpose and worth. It is also often a touchy subject because many women do not understand how they have been formed by the feminist movement. Cardinal Ratzinger – before he became Pope, called contemporary feminism “one of the greatest threats menacing the Church” which has, as Alice von Hildebrand writes, “taken hold because of a lack of faith and a loss of the sense of the supernatural”.  Even as strong Catholic women, we have been hearing the messages of feminism our whole lives: a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle; free to be you and me; it’s your body, your choice; you can be anything, do anything just as good as a man.

Without going too deeply into the errors of modern feminism, modern feminists start off on the wrong foot by assuming that gender is irrelevant. Feminism is a metaphysical revolt against the characteristics of women, and it seeks to turn them into a caricature of men. Women are following along, because society has forgotten the hierarchy of values we are taught in scripture: blessed are the poor, the meek, the lowly – they shall have the Kingdom of God. Without that proper understanding, power seems to be located in strength – physical strength. We have forgotten that our strength as women lies in our receptivity, our maternity, our weakness. A woman’s power lies in her influence, not her physicality. Some of this awareness lingers in our culture though – the singer Beyonce reminds us in one of her songs: my persuasion can build a nation. (Run the world, girls)

The world is very masculine today. It focuses on accomplishments, and physical strength. It is trivializing the personal and the sacred. For this reason, the world really needs women to be women. In the closing remarks of the second Vatican council, the Church encourages us: “Now, at a time when women have power like never before, women imbued with a spirit of the Gospel can do much to aid humanity in not falling.”

The Feminine Gift –our blog – aims to counteract the errors of feminism. We want to reassure women that your femininity is indeed very relevant, and that it is a wonderful, beautiful gift.  In recognizing and accepting our femininity, we recognize and accept who we are in all the unique wonder of God’s marvelous design.  That acceptance leads to freedom. A woman opening herself to that freedom, allows men to also embrace their own identity as men – and we desperately need them to do that.
Our new Bishop of Rome, the Holy Father Pope Francis, models this freedom perfectly. When he stepped onto the balcony after his election to greet the crowd, I noticed his serenity, his quiet confidence. What we have seen of him since then has made it all the more clear: he knows God’s will for him, and he is living it. I think it goes deeper than his vocation as priest and bishop, and encompasses his personhood. He knows his identity; he very clearly knows who he is in God.

Sarah and I want that for us women.  We started The Feminine Gift because we want women to recognize the special gifts we have to offer, the powerful influence we have in the world by virtue of our femininity. We want to reawaken awareness of the spiritual reality that strength and weakness in God’s kingdom are very different from strength and weakness in the world.  As Pope Frances told us on the day of his installation, “Authentic power is service” which is not a message the world preaches, but is a message a woman’s heart understands.

The Feminine Gift blog hopes to be true to a proper hierarchy of values, to look at things in the right, eternal perspective. We want to provide a place for women to connect with each other and receive reassurance that it is right and fine to put aside the lies of secular feminism. We want to encourage women to be women so that men can be men.

Our mission statement reminds us of our purpose which is to “Bring our readers to a deeper relationship with God and His Blessed Mother by encouraging and teaching women to be authentically feminine; real with themselves and others.” We included this addendum: “This site isn’t about the feminine arts, but about the art of being feminine.”

Our hope for women: Sarah

Dietrich von Hildebrand once said that the greatest apostolate is the apostolate of being.  It is not what you say or what you do, but what you are.  Catherine Doherty says something similar – she said, “What you do matters, but not much.  What you are - matters tremendously.”   We women are extraordinarily gifted because we are the life-bearers of the world.  As Fulton Sheen put it, we’re “bearers of the Divine.  In fact, a woman has to bring the Divine to the human, otherwise she is not happy, fulfilled.”  And we do that by paying attention, being zoned in to the personal, the here and now, who’s happy, sad, upset or sick and “how can I help”. If I were to run crying off the stage right now, all of us would gasp, and half of you would try to find me, and this retreat would be remembered as the retreat where that lady ran off the stage crying.  Men would be all like, “huh.  Something’s wrong with her – hope she’s ok” and move on.  And that’s just the way it is - Man cooperates with nature – with facts and figures - but woman cooperates with the Spirit - persons.  Fulton Sheen says, again, for Woman to be happy, she must be a co-worker with the Divine; she bears what God alone can give.  So what we are does actually matter tremendously not only to our friends and families, but to our communities and countries as well because the level (and health) of any civilization is the level of it’s womanhood. 

And it is for just this reason that the evil one takes great pleasure in wounding our femininity, getting us to hate everything about ourselves in any way he can and steering us off course to being who we are meant to be .  As Stacy Eldredge puts it in her book Captivating, "If you listen carefully to any woman's story, you will hear a theme: the assault on her heart.  It might be obvious as in the stories of physical, verbal or sexual abuse.  Or it might be more subtle, like the indifference of a world that cares nothing for her but uses her until she is drained."   Satan has an intense raging hatred for all things feminine – all things life-bearing and life-affirming - for you and for your heart and soul and he works fiercely to shatter you completely.  And if he can’t shatter you, he’ll drown your soul as much as he can because he can’t have women out there being happy, fulfilled, working with God to bring life to the world! 

So he lies to us - telling us absolutely anything that will wound us.  He knows each of our particular gifts, and he knows our most vulnerable weaknesses.  So he tells you whatever you’re most afraid to hear – and he becomes that little voice nagging and accusing you – you’re never enough just as you are.  You’re too emotional, you wear too much makeup, you’re too old, you’re too young, you don’t know anything, you’re too skinny or not skinny enough, you can’t cook, who would want to love you.  And in the end he convinces you that you’re ugly, unwanted, unloved, and that your heart will always be alone – a terrible thought for someone who’s heart is made to be in communion with others.

But the unwavering truth is that I am enough, you are enough – just as you are.  And you are always loved.  We’re deeply loved and cherished because we are all daughters of the Father – first and foremost.  Katrina Zeno in her book Discovering the Feminine Genius writes about every woman being a daughter of the Father as  her primary vocation in life.  And it’s universal – every woman, the moment she is conceived, is our Heavenly Father’s daughter and when we know this – when we are  deeply convinced that we are loved, everything changes.  We’re able to be so much more than we thought we ever could be.

Katrina also talks about a secondary vocation – which is also universal – and it is according to our gender.  We are created to make a feminine and sincere gift of self to others, and this can most especially be seen through maternity and motherhood –but is also seen in many other facets of life.  When we are called to give of ourselves, even in the smallest way, this is where we tap into this vocation. There’s also a third vocation – which is more specific to each woman – it is each woman’s unique vocation, a beautiful tapestry…that is woven through the course of her life using her unique circumstances, struggles, gifts and talents.  Through her unique yes, she opens up countless possibilities for fruitfulness through the Holy Spirit.”  

St Edith Stein, one of the great saints of our time and a patron of The Feminine Gift said, “Living our vocation as a daughter of the Father heals the rupture between us and God. Living our vocation as women heals the rupture between us and others.  And living our unique vocation heals the rupture between body and spirit.  ” 

It is merely the act of living all three vocations out, just being who and what you are within yourself that activates the healing process.  

When we first started the Feminine Gift I have to admit, I was totally lost and embarrassed.  I had no idea what I was doing or what to write about.  I knew I wanted more femininity in my life, but I had no clue where to start.  So I began reading and exploring general feminine qualities and talents, things like compassion, fierceness, motherhood – and I read a lot of articles and books. I was a little obsessed.  But this is what helped me – well, started me on the road back to my own heart….that and a whole lot of spiritual direction with a good director.   As I worked to clear away all of the fears, noise, wounds and trivialities that were drowning out my heart – while allowing myself plenty of time and space to do it - I started to notice my very self take shape again – or at least notice what kind of shape my “self” takes.  The English mystic Caryll Houselander refers to that shape as the “purposeful emptiness” like the hollow of a reed or cup.  Our feminine souls have a specific form given to it by the purpose for which it’s intended.  Take a look at Joan of Arc, Esther, Therese of Lesieux or the women at the foot of the cross.  They’re all saints (or important women in the history of Catholicism) yet with completely different roles.  Fulton Sheen says the very uniqueness of the roles they played was due to the spiritual qualities they possessed.  The shape of the “purposeful emptiness” within them predisposed them to say yes to God when he called. 

Katrina Zeno said, “As I embrace more fully my unique vocation, I no longer experience a disconnect between who I am and what I do.  More and more, they are the same thing.  At times, I experience an incredible oneness of body and spirit that is so freeing, passionate, and full of life that I want to shout with Saint Symeon the New Theologian: I see how I was and what I have become.  O wonder!  ...God is writing an original script with each of our lives – none of our souls have the same shape.  He’s not writing a remake or adaptation of someone else’s life, but something never before written.”   

I have found out that my heart likes words and their meanings, putting them together into neat little phrases to describe my thoughts.  I like food – a lot – I like cooking it and eating it.  And wine.  And tea.  And most surprisingly to me, I have found my heart craving the feminine in every situation. 

And that is our main goal at tfg - to encourage women to re-discover who they are at their core – what we all have in common, but also what shape their souls take specifically.  We want to encourage women to say yes to God and be who they are, exactly where they are, despite what the world thinks!   My spiritual director, Fr. Tom says that a woman’s heart is an enclosed garden where everything is taken in and pondered – and then flowers grow if given enough time and space.  And that’s what we try and allow - time and space to come to understand and love your own femininity and who you are within it.  I know this is a tall order for a little blog, but we have big dreams.

I've heard so many women, both religious and non-religious say things like "If I had my choice, I would love to stay home with my children." or "If I'm honest with myself, I would tell you that I actually like housework because I love having a clean home - yet I would NEVER admit this to anyone."  It's not "cool" for women to be into housework or to be stay at home moms.  In fact it's not "cool" to be anything but a man-hating feminist.  Compassion, empathy, vulnerability - these things are not cool things for women, or anyone, to be - but generally speaking, they are desperately needed our communities, workplaces, homes and churches need to see much more of quote unquote the feminine qualities.  So why not just live freely – the world doesn’t love you and it will always find fault!?  So why not be who you are?  When people see the light in your eyes and the joy that radiates when you talk about your passions they'll want what you have - and then you can tell them about Christ and everything He's done for you…best way to evangelize – being who you are!  Who knew??  

I will leave you with a quote by Josemaria Escriva - “To fulfil [her] mission, a woman has to develop her own personality and not let herself be carried away by a naive desire to imitate, which, as a rule, would tend to put her in an inferior position and leave her unique qualities unfulfilled. If she is a mature person, with a character and mind of her own, she will indeed accomplish the mission to which she feels called, whatever it may be. Her life and work will be really constructive, fruitful and full of meaning, whether she spends the day dedicated to her husband and children or whether, having given up the idea of marriage for a noble reason, she has given herself fully to other tasks. Each woman in her own sphere of life, if she is faithful to her divine and human vocation can and, in fact, does achieve the fullness of her feminine personality. Let us remember that Mary, Mother of God and Mother of men, is not only a model but also a proof of the transcendental value of an apparently unimportant life.”

So with the Blessed Mother in mind, let us never underestimate the power and fruitfulness of our ‘yes’ to God.





by Nirmala Carvalho
The attackers killed Fr. K.J. Thomas hitting him in the face and head with a brick. Motive and identity of the killers still unknown. Archbishop of Bangalore "brutal and senseless murder, this is a great loss for us all." The funeral will be held in Ootacamund, his native diocese.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - Dozens of priests, seminarians and lay Catholics celebrated a mass in memory of Fr. K.J. Thomas this morning, the rector of the seminary in Bangalore (Karnataka) murdered yesterday morning at dawn. Meanwhile, the police continue to investigate a murder described as "brutal, terrible and senseless" by Msgr. Bernard Moras, Archbishop of Bangalore, speaking toAsiaNews. In the coming hours the priest's body will be transported in Ootacamund, his native diocese, where the funeral will take place. The local bishop will communicate the date as soon as it has been decided.
According to preliminary reports, the murder took place between 2:30 and 3 am on April 1, at which time cries were heard. The battered body was found at the table of the pontifical St. Peter's seminary at dawn. According to police, the rain that hit Bangalore on Easter night helped cover the murderers' actions, allowing them to enter the building undisturbed. The motive is not yet clear, but it seems that the attackers hit Fr. Thomas over the head and face with a brick to prevent him from raising the alarm. The face and body of the priest were so mangled that priests and seminarians struggled to recognize him. Police suggest the motive for the attack was theft, given that some documents were missing from the office of Fr. Thomas and the administration. However, his computer, iPad and other assets were not touched.
Yesterday morning, Fr. Thomas, in his second term as rector of the seminary, was supposed to pick up his sister, a nun at the airport. Seeing that her brother did not respond to her repeated calls, the nun went on her own to the seminary, where she received the terrible news.

The murder of Fr. Thomas has shocked the entire community, because he appeared to have no enemies, no problems. Archbishop Moras describes him as "a devout and calm priest, whose death is a great loss for all of us and especially for the seminary." Card. Oswald Gracias, as president of the Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI), expressed "my sincere condolences to the family of Fr. Thomas, students and staff of the seminary. He was a dear friend and a humble priest, compassionate, respectable and good-hearted, loved by everyone. "



St. Mary of Egypt
Feast: April 2

Feast Day:April 2
Born:344, Egypt
Died:421, Trans-Jordan desert, Palestine
Patron of:Chastity; Demons (deliverance from); Fever; Skin diseases
Born probably about 344; died about 421. At the early age of twelve Mary left her home and came to Alexandria, where for upwards of seventeen years she led a life of public prostitution. At the end of that time, on the occasion of a pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, she embarked for Palestine, not however with the intention of making the pilgrimage, but in the hope that life on board ship would afford her new and abundant opportunities of gratifying an insatiable lust. Arrived in Jerusalem she persisted in her shameless life, and on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross joined the crowds towards the church where the sacred relic was venerated, hoping to meet in the gathering some new victims whom she might allure into sin. And now came the turning-point in her career. When she reached the church door, she suddenly felt herself repelled by some secret force, and having vainly attempted three or four times to enter, she retired to a corner of the churchyard, and was struck with remorse for her wicked life, which she recognized as the cause of her exclusion from the church. Bursting into bitter tears and beating her breast, she began to bewail her sins. Just then her eyes fell upon a statue of the Blessed Virgin above the spot where she was standing, and in deep faith and humility of heart she besought Our Lady for help, and permission to enter the church and venerate the sacred wood on which Jesus had suffered, promising that if her request were granted, she would then renounce forever the world and its ways, and forthwith depart whithersoever Our Lady might lead her. Encouraged by prayer and counting on the mercy of the Mother of God, she once more approached the door of the church, and this time succeeded in entering without the slightest difficulty. Having adored the Holy Cross and kissed the pavement of the church, she returned to Our Lady's statue, and while praying there for guidance as to her future course, she seemed to hear a voice from afar telling her that if she crossed the Jordan, she would find rest. That same evening Mary reached the Jordan and received Holy Communion in a church dedicated to the Baptist, and the day following crossed the river and wandered eastward into the desert that stretches towards Arabia.

Here she had lived absolutely alone for forty-seven years, subsisting apparently on herbs, when a priest and monk, named Zosimus, who after the custom of his brethren had come out from his monastery to spend Lent in the desert, met her and learned from her own lips the strange and romantic story of her life. As soon as they met, she called Zosimus by his name and recognized him as a priest. After they had conversed and prayed together, she begged Zosimus to promise to meet her at the Jordan on Holy Thursday evening of the following year and bring with him the Blessed Sacrament. When the appointed evening arrived, Zosimus, we are told, put into a small chalice a portion of the undefiled Body and the precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ (P. L. LXXIII, 686; "Mittens in modico calice intemerati corporis portionem et pretioso sanguinis D.N.J.C." But the reference to both species is less clear in Acta SS., IX, 82: "Accipiens parvum poculum intemerati corporis ac venerandi sanguinis Christi Dei nostri"), and came to the spot that had been indicated. After some time Mary appeared on the eastern bank of the river, and having made the sign of the cross, walked upon the waters to the western side. Having received Holy Communion, she raised her hands towards heaven, and cried aloud in the words of Simeon: "Now thou dost dismiss thy servant, O Lord, according to thy word in peace, because my eyes have seen thy salvation". She then charged Zosimus to come in the course of a year to the spot where he had first met her in the desert, adding that he would find her then in what condition God might ordain. He came, but only to find the poor saint's corpse, and written beside it on the ground a request that he should bury her, and a statement that she had died a year before, on the very night on which he had given her Holy Communion, far away by the Jordan's banks. Aided, we are told, by a lion, he prepared her grave and buried her, and having commended himself and the Church to her prayers, he returned to his monastery, where now for the first time he recounted the wondrous story of her life.

The saint's life was written not very long after her death by one who states that he learned the details from the monks of the monastery to which Zosimus had belonged. Many authorities mention St. Sophronius, who became Patriarch of  Jerusalem in 635, as the author; but as the Bollandists give good reasons for believing that the Life was written before 500, we may conclude that it is from some other hand. The date of the saint is somewhat uncertain. The Bollandists place her death on 1 April, 421, while many other authorities put it a century later. The Greek Church celebrates her feast on 1 April, while the Roman Martyrology assigns it to 2 April, and the Roman Calendar to 3 April. The Greek date is more likely to be correct; the others may be due to the fact that on those days portions of her relics reached the West. Relics of the saint are venerated at Rome, Naples, Cremona, Antwerp, and some other places.

source: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/M/stmaryofegypt.asp#ixzz1qwC0A9pK


St. Francis of Paola
Feast: April 2

Feast Day:April 2
Born:1416 at Paola, Calabria, Italy
Died:2 April 1507 at Plessis, France
Canonized:1512 by Pope Julius II
Founder of the Order of Minims; b. in 1416, at Paula, in Calabria, Italy; d. 2 April, 1507, at Plessis, France. His parents were remarkable for the holiness of their lives. Remaining childless for some years after their marriage they had recourse to prayer, especially commending themselves to the intercession of St. Francis of Assisi. Three children were eventually born to them, eldest of whom was Francis. When still in the cradle he 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 in the "little habit" of St Francis in one of the convents of his order, a not uncommon practice in the Middle Ages. The child was immediately cured. From his early years Francis showed signs of extraordinary sanctity, and at the age of thirteen, being admonished by a vision of a Franciscan friar, he entered a convent of the Franciscan Order in order to fulfil the vow made by his parents. Here he gave great edification by his love of prayer and mortification, his profound humility, and his prompt obedience. At the completion of the year he went with his parents on a pilgrimage to Assisi, Rome, and other places of devotion. Returning to Paula he selected a retired spot on his father's estate, and there lived in solitude; but later on he found a more retired dwelling in a cave on the sea coast. Here he remained alone for about six years giving himself to prayer and mortification.
In 1435 two companions joined him in his retreat, and to accommodate them Francis caused three cells and a chapel to be built: in this way the new order was begun. The number of his disciples gradually increased, and about 1454, with the permission of Pyrrhus, Archbishop of Cosenza, Francis built a large monastery and church. The building of this monastery was the occasion of a great outburst of enthusiasm and devotion on the part of the people towards Francis: even the nobles carried stones and joined in the work. Their devotion was increased by the many miracles which the saint wrought in answer to their prayers. The rule of life adopted by Francis and his religious was one of extraordinary severity. They observed perpetual abstinence and lived in great poverty, but the distinguishing mark of the order was humility. They were to seek to live unknown and hidden from the world. To express this character which he would have his disciples cultivate, Francis eventually obtained from the Holy See that they should be styled Minims, the least of all religious. In 1474 Sixtus IV gave him permission to write a rule for his community, and to assume the title of Hermits of St. Francis: this rule was formally approved by Alexander VI, who, however, changed their title into that of Minims. After the approbation of the order, Francis founded several new monasteries in Calabria and Sicily. He also established convents of nuns, and a third order for people living in the world, after the example of St. Francis of Assisi.
He had an extraordinary gift of prophecy: thus he foretold the capture of Otranto by the Turks in 1480, and its subsequent recovery by the King of Naples. Also he was gifted with discernment of consciences. He was no respecter of persons of whatever rank or position. He rebuked the King of Naples for his ill-doing and in consequence suffered much persecution. When Louis XI was in his last illness he sent an embassy to Calabria to beg the saint to visit him. Francis refused to come nor could he be prevailed upon until the pope ordered him to go. He then went to the king at Plessis-les-Tours and was with him at his death. Charles VIII, Louis's successor, much admired the saint and during his reign kept him near the court and frequently consulted him. This king built a monastery for Minims at Plessis and another at Rome on the Pincian Hill. The regard in which Charles VIII held the saint was shared by Louis XII, who succeeded to the throne in 1498. Francis was now anxious to return to Italy, but the king would not permit him, not wishing to lose his counsels and direction. The last three mouths of his life he spent in entire solitude, preparing for death. On Maundy Thursday he gathered his community around him and exhorted them especially to have mutual charity amongst themselves and to maintain the rigour of their life and in particular perpetual abstinence. The next day, Good Friday, he again called them together and gave them his last instructions and appointed a vicar-general. He then received the last sacraments and asked to have the Passion according to St. John read out to him, and whilst this was being read, his soul passed away. Leo X canonized him in 1019. In 1562 the Huguenots broke open his tomb and found his body incorrupt. They dragged it forth and burnt it,  but some of the bones were preserved by the Catholics and enshrined in various churches of his order. The Order of Minims does not seem at any time to have been very extensive, but they had houses in many countries. The definitive rule was approved in 1506 by Julius II, who also approved a rule for the nuns of the order. The feast of St. Francis of Paula is kept by the universal Church on 2 April, the day on which he died.

SOURCE: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/F/stfrancisofpaola.asp#ixzz1qwCOCGTU