Monday, August 25, 2014

Saint Louis and St. Louis

Mark and I visited the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (Sacre Coeur) in Paris during our 2012 visit on a cold, clear, crisp November Saturday and I took this picture of the statue of St. Louis.

Today is his feast day and this year marks two great anniversaries: the 800th anniversary of his birth and the 250th anniversary of the founding of the city of St. Louis, Missouri!

Yesterday, the Bourbon heir to the throne of France, Prince Louis, was present at a vigil Mass celebrated at the great Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis in St. Louis:

A descendant of St. Louis IX, King of France, Prince Louis was born April 24, 1974. A member of the Royal House of Bourbon, he grew up in Madrid. Prince Louis is the oldest of the Capetian line of French kings and descends in a direct line from Henry IV, the first king of the Bourbon branch. Ten generations link him directly to Louis XIV. He has dual French-Spanish nationality.

After studying economic sciences at the Lycee Francaise de Madrid, the prince went to the university Centro Universitario de Estudios Financieros, gaining an advanced degree in economic science, with a specialization in finances. He is an international vice president of a bank based in Venezuela.
Prince Louis is a great-grandson of King Alphonse XIII of Spain, and a cousin of King Phillip of Spain. As successor of the kings of France and as head of house, the prince is regularly invited by local or national authorities to preside over commemorative ceremonies, both in France and in the various countries in which the Capetians had a historical role. Known formally as Louis Alphonse of Bourbon, Duke of Anjou, he enjoys sports, including skiing, polo, ice hockey -- and he ran marathons in New York, Berlin and Paris.

Married in 2004 to Margaret of Caracas, Venezuela, the couple have a daughter and twin sons.

The Archdiocese of St. Louis published this editorial in the St. Louis Review earlier this month in preparation for the feast in such an important anniversary year:

This year's celebration of the 250th anniversary of the founding of our city is a fitting time to commit ourselves to the Christian values and dedication to the poor of the man whose name is St. Louis.

Louis IX served as king of France in the mid-13th century and was known as a living embodiment of the Christianity of the time. He had a special place in his heart for religious orders -- as does our city, known as the home of many communities of men and women religious and the many ministries they established here.

His biographers note that St. Louis received indigent people each day and brought them food. In Lent and Advent, he cared for all who came, often waiting on them in person. He had a passion for justice, and changed the "King's court" of his ancestors into a popular court, where he listened to any of his subjects who came with grievances and gave what seemed to them wise and impartial judgments. He sought to replace the feudal method of settling disputes by combat with peaceful arbitration or the judicial process of a trial, complete with the presentation of testimony.

The man who is St. Louis also gave generous monetary gifts to poor people whether others considered them worthy or not. Monks and nuns, widows and prostitutes, gentlefolk fallen on hard times and minstrels too old or sick to perform, St. Louis gave happily to them all. He also built hospitals and homes for those who needed them.

King Saint Louis was canonized at Orvieto in 1297 by Pope Boniface VIII.

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