St. Louis King of France
St. Louis King of France
Born on the 25th of April 1214 and died on the 25th of August 1270at the age of 56, Saint Louis is also known as Louis the saint. Crownedin the Reims Cathedral, Louis IX became a King of France at the age oftwelve after the age of his father. His mother was the regent ruleruntil he had reached maturity.
His Life as a King
When she was the regent ruler, Louis’ mother dealt with rebelliousvassals and obtained a definitive victory in the Albigensian Crusadewhich had started 20 years earlier. When Louis finally took over thereins, he also faced recurring conflicts with some of his kingdom’s mostpowerful nobles.
In spite of all the opposition, Louis annexed several province notablyparts of Aquitaine, Maine and Provence. During the time he was in power,the kingdom of France reached an economic as well as political peak. Hewas highly regarded by his fellow European rulers.
St Louis was also a reformer who developed the French royal justicewhereby the King was the supreme judge. He banned the trial by ordeal inwhich the accused were subjected to painful torture as way ofdetermining their innocence. He also introduced the principle ofinnocent until proven guilty.
St Louis banned all form of giving loans with the idea of getting aninterest, he was renowned for his charity as he fed beggars from histable, washed their feet and ministered to the needs of the lepers whowere generally ostracized.
As a king, he would feed over one hundred people and would eat theirleft overs. He founded many hospitals and houses such as the house ofthe Filles-Dieu for reformed prostitutes, and the Quinze, Vingt for 300blind men.
At one point Louis led the seventh crusade in his mid-thirties andeighth crusade in his mid-fifties against the Ayyubids, Bahriyya Mamluksand Hafsid Kingdom as a way of honoring a vow he had made in prayer whenhe was ill. When he was leading the seventh crusade he was captured andransomed against a third of France’s annual revenue and he died fromdysentery when he was leading the eighth crusade.
Up until the time his mother died in 1252, she remained a valued advisorto him. She advised him on how to be a great leader and a greatChristian.
During the golden century of St Louis , the kingdom of France was at itsheight both politically and economically. He commanded the largest armyand ruled the largest and wealthiest kingdom as well as the Europeancenter of arts and intellectual thought at the time.
St Louis was also very famous for the style of his court because ofartwork purchased from Persian masters. The Saint’s personal chapel, theSainte, Chapelle in Pariswas known for its intricate stained glasswindows and it has been copied more than once by his discipleseverywhere.
His Life as a Christian
He is generally regarded as an ideal Christian ruler. St Louis wasinspired by Christian zeal and the Catholic devotion. He is known forenforcing strict Catholic orthodoxy and he punished those whoblasphemed.
Saint Louis was also known for protecting the poor and never speakingill of anyone. Everything that he did was for the glory of God and thegood of his people. He excelled in penance, he had a great love for thechurch and was even merciful to the rebels.
Many Europeans had much respect for St Louis and it was mainly becauseof his personality and not because of his military domination. He wasthe ideal example of a Christian prince. He had a reputation forfairness and saintliness and in many cases, he was chosen as an arbiterin quarrels among rulers of Europe.
Another act to show his dedication to Christianity is when he burned 12000 manuscript copies of the Talmud and other imported Jewish books.
St. Louis the Husband
St Louise married Margaret of Provence on the 27th of May 1232. Thisnew queen had a religious zeal and this qualified her as the well-suitedpartner for the king and this marriage also had political connections.
St Louis enjoyed the company of his wife and they would ride together ashe showed her the public works he was making in Paris. The public worksthat he did were both for Paris’ defence and its health.
They would read and listen to music together. This however aroused somejealousy in the saint’s mother and she tried to keep the couple apart asmuch as possible.
St Louis’ patronage of the arts inspired much innovation of the gothicart. His feast day is celebrated on the 25th of August. He is known asthe patron saint of the third order of St Francis.
5 Interesting Facts About St. Louis King of France
- Remembered as one of the most notable European monarchs of the
- St Louis enforced a law that punished blasphemy by the mutilation
of the tongue and lips.
- St Louis is the only canonized king of France.
- Much of what is known about St Louis comes from Jean de
Joinville’s famous “Life of Saint Louis”
- Both his grandfathers were kings.
Prayer to St. Louis King of France
O holy King St. Louis, worthy son of our Holy Father St. Francis andpatron of the Third Order, intercede for me with our Heavenly Father.Obtain for me the grace to follow in thy footsteps, to be always adutiful child of St. Francis, and to observe exactly, all the days of mylife, that holy rule which thou loved so ardently and kept sofaithfully.Be my guide and protector, so that I may never stray from the path ofvirtue but increase daily in holiness and perfection, and finally meritto be numbered among the chosen ones of our Seraphic Father in Heaven.Amen.