Feast Day: July 14
Canonized: December 27, 1726
Beatified: June 20, 1675
When Francis was ordained, he thought he would spend his life as an ordinary priest in his Spanish homeland. He did not know that his desire to follow Jesus would take him to foreign lands to share the Word of God.
Francis was born in Andalusia in 1549 and was ordained a Franciscan priest in 1576. He tended the sick and dying during a 1583 epidemic in Spain, never worrying about his own health. He comforted families who lost loved ones. Many people called him a hero for his bravery during this crisis.
Francis was chosen to go the South America as a missionary. During the journey, a storm at sea crashed his ship against the rocks not far from Peru. The crew and the passengers abandoned the ship, but Francis stayed with the slaves that were onboard. During the long days of the journey, he had taught them about Jesus’ love. He encouraged them to put their trust in God and he baptized them. After three days, Francis and his new Christian friends were rescued.
During his 20 years as a missionary, Francis worked in the countries we now call Bolivia and Argentina, but he spent most of his time in Lima, Peru. He worked hard to learn all the different languages of the natives so they could understand him when he preached the Gospel. People say that he converted more than 9,000 people after one sermon!
Tradition tells us that God gave Francis the ability to perform miracles so that people would know God’s power and love. Francis became known as the “wonder worker of the New World.”
Francis was a very prayerful man. He loved to praise God by singing as he played a stringed instrument called a lute. It is said that his last words were “Glory be to God.” He died in Lima in 1610 and was canonized in 1726. Today, St. Francis Solano is the patron saint of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, and Peru.
Connecting to Blest Are We® Parish and School
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