August 19 – The prince who was made bishop at age 22

August 19, 2013

St. Louis of Toulouse

St. Louis of Toulouse by Antonio Vivarini in the Louvre.

St. Louis of Toulouse by Antonio Vivarini in the Louvre.

Bishop of Toulouse, generally represented vested in pontifical garments and holding a book and a crosier, b. at Brignoles, Provence, Feb., 1274; d. there, 19 Aug., 1297. He was the second son of Charles II of Anjou, called the Lame, King of Naples (1288- 1309), and nephew of St. Louis IX of France; and of Mary of Hungary, whose great-aunt was St. Elizabeth of Hungary. If in some and even early sources (Analecta Franciscana, IV, 310) he is called primogenitus, it is only because he succeeded to the rights of his eldest brother, Charles Martel (d. 1295). In 1288 Louis was sent with two of his brothers to the Kingdom of Aragon as hostage for his father, who had been defeated and captured in a naval battle off Naples by the Sicilians and Aragonians (1284). During the seven years of their captivity (1288-95) in the castle of Sciurana, Diocese of Tarragona, and partly in Barcelona, the education of the three princes was entrusted to some Franciscan friars, among whom were Ponzius Carbonelli, Peter of Falgar, and Richard of Middleton. Peter John Olivi, the great Franciscan Spiritual, was also one of their friends, who on 18 May, 1295, wrote them a long letter, published by Ehrle in “Archiv f. Litt. u. Kirchengesch.”, III, 534- 40. Louis outstripped his brothers both in holiness and learning, and, during a severe illness, made the vow to become a Friar Minor.

Reliquary of St. Louis of Toulouse

Reliquary of St. Louis of Toulouse

He was still in captivity when Celestine V entrusted to him the administration of the Archbishopric of Lyons, on 7 Oct., 1294, having previously granted Francis of Apt, O.F.M., the saint’s confessor, the faculty of giving him the clerical tonsure and minor orders. Neither Bull seems to have been carried out. From John of Orta it appears that he was tonsured only on 1 Nov., 1295, after his release. Louis then returned to Naples. After renouncing all the rights of succession in favour of his brother Robert, he was ordained subdeacon in Rome by Boniface VIII, and in 1296 deacon and priest at Naples. Boniface VIII appointed the saintly young priest Bishop of Toulouse, but Louis, wishing first to become a Friar Minor, received the Franciscan habit in Rome from the minister general, John Minio of Murro, on 24 Dec., 1296, and immediately made solemn profession. He was consecrated Bishop of Toulouse by Boniface VIII on 29 (30?) Dec., 1296. After the Feast of St. Agatha (5 Feb.), 1297, on which day he appeared for the first time publicly in the Franciscan habit, he betook himself to Toulouse, where his mild figure and his virtues were admired by everybody. He was the father of the poor and a model of administration. But his episcopate was very brief, for on his return journey from a visit to his sister, the Queen of Aragon, he was seized by fever and died at Brignoles.

The St. Louis of Toulouse, his brother Robert of Anjou is crowned King of Naples, predella with scenes from the saint's life by Simone Martini.

The St. Louis of Toulouse, his brother Robert of Anjou is crowned King of Naples, predella with scenes from the saint’s life by Simone Martini.

We have scarcely any record of literary work of St. Louis. Recently, however, Amelli, O.S.B., published in the “Archivium Franciscanum Historicum”, II, 378-83, a small treatise on music written by the saint, and from this it appears that he is also the author of a “Liber de Musicae Commendatione”. Sbaralea ascribes to him also some sermons. His canonization, promoted by Clement V in 1307, was solemnized by John XXII on 7 April, 1317. His relics reposed in the Franciscan church at Marseilles till 1423, when they were taken by Alfonso V of Aragon to the cathedral church of Valencia, of which town Louis became patron saint. His feast, celebrated in the Franciscan Order on 19 Aug., was decreed by the general chapter held at Marseilles in 1319, and the rhythmical office, beginning Tecum, composed by the saint’s brother, King Robert of Naples, was inserted in the Franciscan Breviary by the General Chapter of Marseilles in 1343, but seems to have been abolished by the Tridentine reform of the Breviary under Pius IV [sic, i.e., St. Pius V], 1568 .

San Luis Obispo Mission in California which is named after St. Louis of Toulouse.

San Luis Obispo Mission in California which is named after St. Louis of Toulouse.

The best contemporary life is by the saint’s chaplain, JOHN DE ORTA in Anal. Boll., IX (Paris and Brussels, 1890), 278-340; ibid., 341-51 (miracles); and in Anal. Ord. Min. Cap., XIII (Rome, 1897), 338-51, 360-72; XIV (1898), 16-27, 83- 92; some appendixes, ibid., 92-4, 120-6, 156-8, 181-3. A second old life is by PETER CALO, of which extracts are given in Acta SS., Aug., III, 781-97, passim; a compendium edited by PRESUTI in Archiv. Franc. Hist., I (Quaracchi, 1908), 278- 80; cf. ibid., 569-76 (miracles). BARTHOLOMEW OF PISA in Anal. Franc., IV (Quaracchi, 1906), 309-17; Chronicle of the XXIV Generals in Anal. Franc., III (Quaracchi, 1897), 447-52; BLUME AND DREVES, Anal. Hymnica Medii Aevii, XXVI (Leipzig, 1897), 265-74, give three rhythmical offices formerly used in Franciscan Breviaries. For some samples of notable hymns see EUSEBE CLOP, Cantus varii in usu apud nostrates (Tournai, 1902), 177-88. LEON, Lives of the Saints and Blessed of the Three Orders of St. Francis (Taunton, 1886), 26-49, tr. from the Aureole Seraphique, III. The best modern life is: VERLAQUE, Saint Louis, prince royal, eveque de Toulouse (Paris, 1885); DA PALMA, Vita di S. Lodovico d’ Angio (Naples, 1855). On the iconography, see SALTER, Franciscan Legends in Italian Art (London, 1905), 180-182; BERTAUX, Les saints Louis dans l’art italien in Revue des Deux Mondes, CLVIII (Paris, 1900), 616-44; KLEINSCHMIDT, St. Ludwig von Toulouse in der Kunst in Archivium Franc. Hist., II (Quaracchi, 1909), 197- 215. Concerning the sixth centenary see the richly illustrated work, S. Lodovico d’Angio. . .e Sua Santita Leone XIII, Ricordo del VI Centennario della morte del Santo 1297-1897 e del LX Anniversario del Giubileo Sacerdotale di Sua Santita 1838-1898 (Rome, 1898).

LIVARIUS OLIGER (Catholic Encyclopedia)



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