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Francis of Paola

1416-1507. Founder of the Minims* Order. After a year at the Franciscan friary of San Marco, a pilgrimage to Rome and Assisi, and living as a hermit at Paola, he started the mendicant order in 1435; a church and house were built for them in 1453, and further foundations came later. Sixtus IV urged him to leave Italy for France, the court of Valois, where he ministered to Louis XI and became tutor to his son Charles VIII. He helped restore peace between France and Brittany by advising the marriage of the Dauphin and Anne of Brittany, and between France and Spain by urging Louis to return the counties of Rousillon and Cerdagne. Many miracles were attributed to Francis; he was declared patron of seafarers by Pius XII (1943); was honored in Latin countries by the devotion of the “Thirteen Fridays”; was a subject for paintings by Murillo, Velasquez, and Goya. He was canonized in 1519. His letters have been preserved.