Saint Francis Caracciolo (1563-1608)

for June 4

Saint Francis Caracciolo had a rare skin disease that resembled leprosy. When he was ordained a priest, the mysterious condition went away. He joined the White Robes of Justice, who ministered to condemned prisoners. He was mistakenly contacted by John Augustine Adorno to found a new religious order of priests, but the two became friends and ended up establishing the Congregation of the Minor Clerks Regular, who helped the sick and prisoners. He was appointed superior of the congregation, but continued to do menial household tasks. Francis was well-known for his work with the poor, his prophecies, and his miraculous ability to cure the sick by blessing them with the sign of the cross. He was sought after to become bishop, but refused, referring to his congregation's vow not to hold any high position in the Church. Saint Francis Caracciolo is the patron of Naples, Italy, and the Association of Italian Cooks.

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Saint Francis Caracciolo focused his work, among other concerns, on the plight of prisoners. In our society, we have uniquely high crime rates and an unprecedented proportion of our citizenry behind bars. It is easy to forget that prisoners are not too different from us. They simply did something wrong, like many of us have and will do in our lives. Saint Francis Caracciolo knew that Jesus came to help and save everyone, especially those guilty of the most heinous wrongdoing. When people wrong you, do you forgive them?


Dear Jesus, please help me to forgive others and embrace them in spite of their wrongdoing, as Saint Francis Caracciolo embraced the prisoners to whom he ministered.