Saint Francis Caracciolo was an Italian priest and religious leader who lived from 1563 to 1608. He is best known for his devotion to the sick and his commitment to the education of young people.
Saint Francis was born in the small town of Villa Santa Maria in Italy on October 2, 1563. He was the son of a wealthy and noble family and his mother was a relative of Saint Thomas Aquinas. He felt called to serve God from a young age. At one point in his life he contracted leprosy, but after being miraculously cured, he vowed himself to the service of God. He entered the priesthood and was soon known for his kindness, compassion, and dedication to the sick.
In 1588, Saint Francis founded the Order of the Minor Clerics Regular, also known as the Caracciolines, which was dedicated to the care of the sick and the education of young people. He became the first superior of the order, and under his leadership, it grew quickly, attracting many young men who wanted to serve God in this way.
One of Saint Francis's most notable achievements was the establishment of the Hospital of the Incurables in Naples. This hospital was one of the first in the world to care specifically for patients with incurable diseases, and it quickly became famous for the high level of care and compassion provided to its patients.
Francis was known for his spirituality and humility. He was known to fast often, as well as to pray for long hours in front of the Blessed Sacrament. He was also known for his strict adherence to the rules of the Church, which he saw as a way of following the will of God. Francis remained humble throughout his life. Even though Pope Paul V desired Francis to be a bishop, Francis was not interested. He became ill and died in June of 1608 at the young age of forty-five.
Saint Francis Caracciolo was canonized by Pope Benedict XIII in 1729. He is the patron saint of the sick, hospitals and of those who work in healthcare and also said to be the patron saint of Italian cooks. His feast day is celebrated on June 4th and he is remembered for his devotion to the sick, his commitment to education, and his deep faith in God. He inspires those who work in healthcare and education, and his legacy lives on through the many institutions that he founded.