St. Louis Takes the Cross

March 10, 2016

It was the will of God that the King should be overtaken at Paris by a grievous sickness. He was brought so low, it was said, that one of the ladies who were nursing him said he was dead and wished to cover his face with the sheet. Another lady, who was on the other side of the bed, would not allow her, and said that his soul was still in his body.

St. Louis IX
While the King was listening to their argument, Our Lord worked in him and soon sent him back his health. He had lost the power of speech, but as soon as he was again fit to speak he asked for the Cross to be given to him, which was done. When the Queen, his mother, heard that he could speak again she was overjoyed. But when she heard that he had taken the Cross, as he told her, too, himself, she was as miserable as if she had seen him dead.

After he had taken the Cross all his three brothers did the same—Robert, Count of Artois, Alfonse, Count of Poitiers, and Charles, Count of Anjou, who was afterwards King of Sicily. Hugh, Duke of Burgundy, also took the Cross, and William, Count of Flanders, brother of the Count Guy of Flanders who died recently, the good Hugh Count of Saint Pol, and my Lord Walter, his nephew, who bore himself well overseas and would have done great things had he lived.

Painting of King St. Louis IX of France in the church Saint Louis of the French in Rome, Italy.

Painting of King St. Louis IX of France in the church Saint Louis of the French in Rome, Italy.

With them were the Count of La Marche and his son, my Lord Hugh le Brun, the Count of Sarrebrück, and his brother, my Lord Gobert of Apremont: it was in company with the Count of Sarrebrück that I, John of Joinville, crossed the seas in a ship which, being cousins, we hired together.


John of Joinville, The Life of St. Louis, trans. René Hague (New York: Sheed and Ward, 1955), 51.

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 515


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