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Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord and will be repaid in full. –Proverbs 19:17

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Today Christians Celebrate Feast of St. Louis of Toulouse, Patron Saint of Mission San Luis Obispo

St Louis of Toulouse

St. Louis of Toulouse (1274-1297)
Image: Pax Et Bonum

(Franciscan Media) Born in Italy Nocera the son of Charles II of Anjou, King of Naples according to SQPN and Great-Nephew of Saint Louis IX (Feast Day: 25 August) and Saint Elizabeth of Hungary (Feast Day: 17 November) Louis at an early age exhibited early signs of attachment to prayer and compassion to those in need. As a child, he would take food from the castle to feed the poor.

When Louis was 14 yrs old, he along with two of his brothers were taken as hostages to the King of Aragon’s Court as part of a political deal involving their father. At the Court, Louis was tutored by the Franciscan Friars under which he made great progress both in his studies and spiritually. — Like St.Francis of Assisi Louis developed a very special love for those afflicted with leprosy.

While still a hostage, Louis decided to renounce his royal title in favor of his brother Robert and was Ordained a Priest at the age of 23 — Very shortly thereafter Fr. Louis was appointed Bishop of Toulouse.

The Franciscan spirit pervaded Fr. Louis: “Jesus Christ is all my riches, He alone is sufficient for me,” Bishop Louis of Toulouse kept repeating.

Even as Bishop, Fr. Louis continued to wear the Franciscan Habit and sometimes would yet go out a beg for charity–Bishop Louis of Toulouse assigned a Friar to offer him correction, in public if necessary and the Friar always did his job.

Bishop Louis of Toulouse service to the Diocese was richly blessed, in no time he was considered a Saint — Bishop Louis of Toulouse set aside 75% of his income to feed the poor and maintain Churches, each day he would feed on average 25 poor people at his table.

On this date in 1297 at the age of 23, Bishop Louis of Toulouse fell asleep in the arms of the Lord Jesus Christ — In  1317 Bishop Louis of Toulouse was Canonized by Pope John XXII

  • Publishers Note: Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa was the 5th California Mission founded in 1772 and named after St. Louis of Toulous by Fr. Junipero Serra who will soon be Canonized a Saint by Pope Francis, during the Holy Father’s visit to the United States next month.

More here on Saint Louis of Toulouse by American Catholic

California Picture of the Day: Cute Little Girl With her Pet Toad at 1936 Venice Beach Pet Show

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Today Christians Honor St. Junipero Serra, First Saint of California

Blessed Junipero Serra

St. Junipero Serra (1713-1784)
Image: Tinh Than

(Angelus) Just after Canonizing the first Saint of Sri Lanka St. Joseph Vaz, Pope Francis announced that he would also be Canonizing the first Saint of California–Blessed Junipero Serra, in 2015

“We are grateful to our Holy Father Pope Francis for this gift to California and the America’s,” said Archbishop Jose Gomez of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, in a January statement — “Its wonderful  to think that this new Saint once walked the road that is now the Hollywood Fwy and called it El Camino Real: The King’s Highway.”

St. Junipero Serra was born on Spain’s island of Mallorca according to Franciscan Media and entered the Franciscan Order, taking the name of St. Francis’ childlike companion  Brother Juniper. Until he was 35, he spent most of his time in the classroom, first as a student of theology and then following his Ordination as a professor.

Suddenly he gave this all up and followed his yearning that had begun years before when he had heard about the missionary work of St. Francis Solanus in South America — Fr. Junipero’s desire was to evangelize the native people of Mexico and California according to NCRegister and he established the first 9 of California’s 21 Missions, used to teach American Indians Catholicism and learn new skills such as growing crops and raising livestock that would help improve their standard of living.

Dubbed ‘The Evangelizer of the West in the United States,” by Pope Francis, St. Serra was most known for his zeal and determination, both physically and spiritually.

St. Junipero Serra missionary motto has been described as, “Never turn back.” According to several reports, once Fr. Junipero landed on Mexico’s shores with his companions, he insisted on walking the more than 200 miles to Mexico City. During this trek, Fr. Junipero suffered an infected insect sting on his leg that would affect him for the rest of his life. — Fr. Juniper’s fierce determination, also led him to baptize more than 6,000 people and confirm another 5,000

Fr. Junipero reputation as a ‘Great Evangelizer’ of his time is on par with several other Saints Canonized by Pope Francis, including the recent St. Joseph Vaz of Sri Lanka, St. Peter Faber of France, St. Jose Anchieta of Brazil, together with St. Francois de Laval and St. Marie of the Incarnation of Canada.

According to Gregory Orfalea, author of Journey to the Sun: Junipero Serra’s Dream and the Founding of California, “evangelization is one of the several things Blessed Junipero and Pope Francis have in common.

“Serra talked about how Faith seemed to have dried up in (Spain) Mallorca,” Orfalea said in an email interview. “The Native Americans surely resurrected it. So evangelizing for both Pope Francis and Padre Serra was a two-way street of redemption.”

Similarly, both Pope Francis and St. Junipero Serra, experienced success in the academic world but preferred to be in the streets serving the poor, Orfalea said. They also came from similar backgrounds in religious orders.

“I sometimes think (Pope) Francis is a Franciscan Jesuit and (Junipero) Serra a Jesuit Franciscan,” Orfalea said.

Pope Francis had waived the customary requirement of a second miracle in the Canonization cause of St. Junipero Serra. — Beatified by Pope Saint John Paul II in 1988, Blessed Junipero Serra’s first miracle was the inexplicable cure of a dying Nun with kidney failure in St. Louis in the 1960s — Pope Francis announced that the Canonization of Blessed Junipero Serra would take place during the Holy Father’s visit to the United States in September, 2015