Francis was born on October 13, 1563, in Italy. At one point in his life he contracted leprosy, but after being miraculously cured, he vowed himself to the service of God. He gave away all his worldly goods and left for Naples in 1585 to study theology.
After being ordained a priest in 1587, he entered the confraternity of the Bianchi della Giustizia (The white robes of Justice) who ministered to prisoners who were condemned to death. By providence, he received a letter from Giovanni Agostino Adorno meant for another person of the same name, requesting him to assist in founding a new religious institute. He assisted in writing up the rules for the congregation and Sixtus V approved it on July 1, 1588. Perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament was kept and the monks continually practiced mortification. Francis was chosen general of the first house of the congregation in Naples in 1593, which was called St. Mary Major’s. He traveled to Spain three times to establish foundations and opened the house of the Holy Ghost in Madrid in 1599. On his second journey, he established Our Lady of the Annunciation at Valladolid and then in 1601, on his third trip, he opened a school for teaching science called St. Joseph at Alcala.
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 on the vigil of Corpus Christi in Agnone on June 4, 1608 at the young age of forty-five.
Francis Caracciolo was beatified by Pope Clement XIV in 1769 and canonized by Pope Pius VII in 1807. He was chosen patron saint of the city of Naples in 1838.
Heavenly Father, we pray that we might be like St. Francis Caracciolo in showing our love and appreciation for all Your blessings by living our lives for You. May the Holy Spirit live always in our hearts, and may we bring glory to Your Holy Name through our words and deeds. Amen.