Saint Francis of Girolamo

St. Francis de Girolamo (1642-1716) was the eldest of eleven children born to honorable and virtuous parents in Naples, Italy. As a child he was drawn to God and a life of prayer. Realizing his vocation to Holy Orders, he was ordained a Jesuit priest at the age of 28. He became a renowned public preacher due to his distinguished and eloquent voice. He was described as "a lamb when he talks, and a lion when he preaches." He had a heart for the missions after his patron St. Francis Xavier, but instead of traveling to distant lands he accepted his hometown of Naples as his India. He went as a missionary priest into country towns and villages for open-air preaching in the streets. He sought to convert sinners wherever they were—in brothels, prisons, galleys, hospitals, and asylums—as well as instructing the pious in their religious houses. He converted Muslim prisoners of war to the Christian faith, rescued chidren from dangerous and degrading situations, and opened a pawn shop for charity. The fruit of his labor was abundant. He converted many souls, even hardened sinners, and made them virtuous. Everyone knew him for his holiness and zeal. He also had a reputation for being a miracle worker during his lifetime and after his death. After spending 40 years in apostolic labor in Naples, he died of an illness from which he suffered greatly without complaint. His feast day is May 11th.
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