25 August 2009

Saint Louis IX

25 AUGUST 2009. Today the Church celebrates the memorial of Saint Louis IX, King of France from 12126-1270. Louis was canonized by Pope Boniface VIII in 1297, and is the only French monarch to be canonized a saint. Louis was also a tertiary of the Trinitarians. In his day, Saint Louis was perceived as the exemplary Christian prince and, because of his renown, many places are named after him, including St. Louis, Missouri.

Louis was born in 1214 in Poissy, France, the son of King Louis VIII. When he was 12, Louis' father died and he was named king. His mother, though, served as ruler of France, as regent, until Louis reached the age of 21. During his reign, Louis conducted two crusades and is reported to have been known for his piety and kindness to the poor. Apparently, it would have been unthinkable among the contemporaries of Louis, for him to not have conducted crusades to the Holy Land.

Under Louis, France enjoyed its pinnacle of political strength and economic wealth in Europe. Louis' patronage in architecture radiated throughout Europe, and can be seen clearly in his personal chapel the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris.

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