Friday, September 20, 2013

September 20: Blessed Francis de Posadas, C., O.P., III Class

Today, in the 1962 Dominican Rite Calendar, we celebrate the feast of Blessed Francis Possadas, confessor of the Order of Preachers.  The feast is III Class, but this year it falls on Ember Friday in September, so a commemoration is made of his feast at Lauds only.

From “Short Lives of the Dominican Saints” (London, Kegan Paul, Trench, and Trübner & Co., Ltd., 1901):

Blessed Francis Possadas was born about A.D. 1643, at Cordova in Spain, of a family which had fallen from its ancient position of nobility into a state of poverty.  Whilst still an infant, the name of Mary was found miraculously imprinted over his heart, and it was the first that his baby lips were heard to utter.  From his earliest years he gave evidence of the tenderest piety.  He daily recited the Rosary and practiced other exercises of devotion whilst still a child.  His mother, who was a very pious woman, seeing his great attraction to religion, wished him to enter the Order of Saint Dominic, and had him educated with that view.  But after his father’s death she married again, and Francis was cruelly treated by his step-father, who insisted on his giving up his studies and being put to learn some useful trade.  This was accordingly done; but the pious youth never abandoned his holy purpose, and by his unfailing obedience and sweetness of temper so won his master’s favor as to obtain his leave to continue his studies.  He was at last allowed to enter the noviciate in the Dominican Convent of Scala Coeli; but as a further trial of his constancy, God permitted that his true worth and character should not be at first appreciated by his Brethren and Superiors.  He was treated with contempt and harshness, all which he endured with unalterable patience, until at length justice was done him, and the Community, recognizing his sanctity and full of admiration at the wonderful patience with which he had borne their unkindness, unanimously consented to his being admitted to the priesthood.

Blessed Francis led a life of prayer and penance, joined to marvelous activity in laboring for the salvation of souls.  He set before himself as his model for imitation the glorious Saint Vincent Ferrer, whom he chose as his special patron.  The success which attended his preaching scarcely less wonderful than that which resulted from the apostolic ministry of St. Vincent.  His example, even more than his inflamed discourses, produced so extraordinary an effect on the hearts of his hearers that he obtained almost boundless influence over them.  In his native city of Cordoba, he set himself, and that which marvelous success, to the difficult task for reforming the public morals, which were in a state of lamentable corruption.  By the power of his preaching, the citizens were at length induced to close all the theaters and places of public amusement, which had formerly been scenes of immorality and disorder.

His chief delight was to minister to the poor, the sick, and the imprisoned, providing for their bodily as well as for their spiritual needs.  Very often he was known to continue from sunrise to sunset instructing the poor and ignorant in the mysteries of the faith.  He refused all positions of authority in the Order, and could not be induced to accept two bishoprics which were offered to him at different times.  So profound was his humility, that he not only exercised the lowliest offices in the House, but even rejoiced in being despised, calumniated, and insulted.  He had to undergo terrible conflicts with the devil, from all of which he came forth victorious.  He was endowed with the gifts of prophecy, discernment of spirits, and other supernatural favors.

At length, having exercised the duties of a confessor and preacher for about forty years, he calmly slept in the Lord on the 20th of September, A.D. 1713.  His heroic virtues having been confirmed, by miracles, he was beatified by Pius VII.


O God, you made your confessor, the blessed Francis, who was filled with the sweetness of heavenly charity, and outstanding preacher of your word; grant, at his intercession, that enkindled by the fire of your love we may always live in your friendship.  Through our Lord…