He was crowned king at 12, at
his father’s death. His mother, Blanche of Castile, ruled during his minority. When he was 19 and
his bride 12, he was married to Marguerite of Provence. It was a loving marriage, though not without
challenge. They had 11 children.
Louis “took the cross” for a
Crusade when he was 30. His army seized Damietta on the Nile but not long after, weakened by
dysentery and without support, they were surrounded and captured. Louis obtained the release of the
army by giving up the city of Damietta in addition to paying a ransom. He stayed in Syria four
He deserves credit for extending justice in civil
administration. He drew up regulations for his officials which became the first of a series of
reform laws. He replaced trial by battle with a form of examination of witnesses and encouraged the
beginning of using written records in court.
Louis was always
respectful of the papacy, but defended royal interests against the popes and refused to acknowledge
Innocent IV’s sentence against Emperor Frederick II.
Louis was devoted to his
people, founding hospitals, visiting the sick and, like his patron St. Francis, caring even for
people with leprosy. (He is one of the patrons of the Secular Franciscan Order.) Louis united
France—lords and townsfolk, peasants and priests and knights—by the force of his personality and
holiness. For many years the nation was at peace.
Every day Louis
had 13 special guests from among the poor to eat with him, and a large number of poor were served
meals near his palace. During Advent and Lent, all who presented themselves were given a meal, and
Louis often served them in person. He kept lists of needy people, whom he regularly relieved, in
every province of his dominion.
Disturbed by new Muslim advances in Syria, he led another crusade in 1267, at the age of 41. His crusade was diverted to Tunis for his brother’s sake. The army was decimated by disease within a month, and Louis himself died on foreign soil at the age of 44. He was canonized 27 years later.
Join the new media evangelization. Your tax-deductible gift allows Catholic.net to build a culture of life in our nation and throughout the world. Please help us promote the Church's new evangelization by donating to Catholic.net right now. God bless you for your generosity.
|Print Article||Email Friend||Palm Download||Forums||Questions||More in this Channel||Up|
Write a comment on this article|