King St. Louis IX (1214-1270) reigned over France for thirty-five years. The son of Louis VIII, the young king ascended to the throne in 1235 and soon showed himself to be a just and able administrator. Louis was impartial and merciful in dispensing justice (even forgiving nobles who rebelled against his reign). He insisted on upholding the rights of each of his subjects, and sometimes held court beneath a grove of trees away from his royal residence, so that even the lowliest peasant would feel free to approach him.
At the age of nineteen, Louis married Marguerite of Provence (who was herself only twelve). Though she was by nature arrogant and restless, she was charmed by Louis’ piety and love, and they and their ten children had a happy family life.
King Louis sought to bring this same harmony to France. He replaced trial by combat with an examination of witnesses, had written records kept at the royal court, and established numerous hospitals where he himself often cared for lepers and the sick. With the exception of his involvement in the Crusades, France was at peace during his reign.
Louis led an army which in 1248 captured an Egyptian port city from the Moslems, but soon afterward the Crusaders were defeated and Louis was taken prisoner. After being ransomed, Louis returned to France, but led another Crusade in 1270. This was even less successful than the earlier effort, and Louis died of dysentery in the city of Tunis. St. Louis, after whom the American city in Missouri is named, was canonized in 1297.
Other Saints We Remember Today
St. Joseph Calasanctius (Calasanz) (1648), Priest, Founder of Piarists
St. Patricia (665), Virgin, Patron of Naples