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Resurrection Miracles

St. Francis Paola

St. Francis Paola

Calabria, Italy

A.D.1416- 2nd April A.D.1507

Raised 6 from the dead

Biography of St. Francis Paola

Between the time of St. Catherine of Siena and that of St. Teresa of Avila came the life of St. Francis of Paola, one of the greatest wonder-workers in the history of the Church, Francis was so famous that Louis XI of France, suffering from a prolonged ailment, begged Francis to make the journey from Italy in order to cure him. St. Francis taught the king that resignation to God’s will was more important than bodily healing. After helping Louis spiritually and preparing him for death (and exerting great influence through the king), St. Francis held the king in his arms as he died a good death.

St. Francis of Paola also had occasion to help his own family, specifically his nephew, Nicholas d’Alesso, son of Francis’ sister Brigida. His sister had not consented to allow her son to become a monk, and the lad had died. St. Francis of Paola decided to bargain with his sister over the death and life of the nephew.

When the young man’s body was about to be lowered into the grave at Francis’ monastery, Francis stopped the grave workers, and instead carried the body to his own room. That same night, after many tears and prayers on the part of Francis, his nephew came back to life. But Nicholas’ mother did not know this.

In the morning Brigida came to the monastery church, unaware of what had happened. She wept there in the church over the death of Nicholas, her oldest son. Francis kept the youth hidden away while he spoke to Brigida: “Brigida, if your son should return to life, would you consent to his becoming a religious?” Brigida looked at her brother in his penitential sackcloth robe. Her eyes glimmered with some spark of hope. “If Heaven wants it,” she said, bemoaning that it was not too late, “it will be my greatest consolation.”

Francis left her, went to his cell, and returned with Nicholas clothed as a monk. His mother, relatives and friends who had come sorrowing to the church greeted him with amazement and great joy.

This and many other miracles were sworn to by numerous witnesses both before the Bishop of Cosenza, and later at Rome during canonical hearings in 1519.

The life of St. Francis of Paola, founder of the Hermits of St. Francis of Assisi (“Minims”), is well documented as that of a super miracle worker, not only a real thaumaturge but also a man who fearlessly counseled kings. Francis is credited with raising at least six persons to life. One he raised twice: Thomas d’Yre of Paterna was first crushed by a tree, and later he fell from a steeple.

When another man, the workman Domenico Sapio, was crushed by a huge pine tree, St. Francis prayed on his knees beside the corpse, raised his arms to Heaven and then having risen to his feet, cried out: “In the name of Charity, Domenico, arise!” (Francis continuously preached Caritas, or Charity, the virtue of supernatural love and also one of the names of God.) In the Name of Charity Domenico arose, dusted himself off and, after thanking Francis, returned to work.

Those who worked on St. Francis’ monastery building projects were so aware of the great number of astounding miracles performed by the saint that they worked with a calm unconcern unknown on construction projects. But what else could one expect of a saint who cured the deaf, the paralyzed, the dying, who drove out demons, ordered a boulder rolling down a mountain to stop, withstood the heat within a furnace, and held burning coals in his hands in the presence of the papal investigator who was sent to interview him?

After St. Francis of Paola’s famed crossing on his cloak over the straits of water from Italy to Sicily, he came to a place called the “Pond of the Hanged.” A body had been dangling from the gallows there for three days. With the help of Brother John who was with him, the saint removed the rope, and compassionately gathered the dead man into his arms. He prayed to God, and the revived criminal fell at his knees with an outpouring of thanks.

Wanting to be sure of the subsequent safety of his soul, the hanged man begged Francis to receive him into his order. He became one of Francis’ Minim friars and saw many years service of God as a monk.

It is interesting to note that a companion who was with St. Francis at the time, Father Rendacio, refused to interfere in this “legal execution.” But sometimes the saints take matters into their own hands, just as Christ often overruled the petty objections of the Pharisees.

At Galeazzo, St. Francis also restored to life the dead son of the Baron of Belmonte. Later, after Francis’s death, there were many miracles, including the April 2, 1613 resurrection of the four-year-old Ponger boy who had drowned in a pool at Amiens, France.

It seems fitting to mention also, in the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi himself and his love for all creatures, the revivals of the pet trout, “Antonella,” and the pet lamb, “Martinello,” by St. Francis of Paola. If St. Francis of Assisi had a tender spot in his heart for even the fierce wolf of Gubbio, it is understandable how Francis of Paola reacted when his innocent pet trout met with a sad fate.

One day Antonella was swimming about the pool, like a good fish should. A visiting priest helping with a religious service saw it, caught it, took it home and began to fry it.

St. Francis missed the trout, and either realizing naturally or else having superior knowledge of what had happened, he sent one of his religious to get it back. When the priest heard this request from the hermit sent by Francis, he was annoyed. He threw the cooked trout on the ground, the impact shattering it into several pieces.

When the hermit returned to St. Francis with the broken pieces, Francis placed them in the pool and prayed: “Antonella, in the Name of Charity, return to life!” The trout at once became whole again and happily began to swim about the pool, Friars and workers witnessed the miracle.

Later, at Bormes, as a guest in the home of the governor, Francis restored to life a cooked fish which his host had prepared for him, not realizing that Francis would hold himself to his very limited personal diet.

On another occasion, from nothing but bones and fleece left and thrown into an oven, St. Francis of Paola called back to life his pet lamb Matrinello, which had been recently roasted and eaten by some nearby workmen.


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