St. Francis di Girolamo (Feast: May 11)
Born in Taranto in the province of Naples of exceptionally virtuous parents, the “Apostle of Naples” was the eldest of eleven children.
Showing early signs of intense piety and intellectual ability, he was received into a community of secular priests who initiated his education. He received the tonsure at sixteen and was ordained with special permission before the age of twenty-four.
He taught at a Jesuit college for several years, and at twenty-eight was received into the Society of Jesus, having overcome his father's strong opposition to his decision by his own meekness and charity.
His novitiate complete, Francis was sent to Leece to assist a renowned preacher, Father Agnello Bruno.
For the next three years the two ardent priests traversed the length and breath of the province of Otranto. At the close of the mission Francis completed his theological studies and was professed.
The next field of his apostolic labors was to preach at the Church of Gesu Nuovo in Naples, and from the onset, attracted huge crowds.
His preaching produced such excellent results that he was appointed to train other missionaries.
Preaching was his dominant talent. Wherever he went, people were spellbound by his eloquence and crowded his confessional. He preached in one church after another, at times impromptu in the street, he visited hospitals, prisons, and galleys. Once he brought to the Faith twenty Turkish prisoners in a Spanish galley.
The holy Jesuit’s preaching was enhanced by his reputation as a wonder-worker, though he continuously disclaimed any extraordinary powers, and rather attributed the numerous cures which accompanied his ministry to the intercession of St. Cyrus to whom he had a special devotion.
After suffering from a painful illness, St. Francis of Girolamo died at age seventy-four. He was canonized in 1839.
DAILY QUOTE for May 18, 2021
As the century began anew, so did Catherine’s life. Catherine was a young woman possessing great beauty.