St. Louis IX

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St. Louis IX

Feast dayJuly 16

St. Louis IX, also known as King Louis IX of France, was a notable monarch who ruled from 1226 until his death in 1270. He’s often remembered as a devoutly religious king and is the only French king to be canonized, recognized as a saint by the Catholic Church. Here are some key points about him:

  1. Early Life: Louis IX was born on April 25, 1214, in Poissy, France. He became king at the age of 12, upon the death of his father Louis VIII, but his mother Blanche of Castile served as regent until he reached maturity.
  2. Religious Devotion: Louis IX was deeply religious and led a pious life. He was known for his personal piety, his commitment to justice, and his care for the poor. He regularly attended mass, fasted, and prayed extensively.
  3. Crusades: One of the most significant aspects of Louis IX’s reign was his participation in the Crusades. He led two crusades to the Holy Land, in 1248-1254 and 1270. His first crusade ended in defeat and his capture by Egyptian forces in 1250. He was ransomed for a large sum of money and eventually returned to France.
  4. Domestic Policy: Louis IX was known for his efforts to reform French administration and law. He strengthened royal authority, expanded the bureaucracy, and promoted the use of royal justice over feudal or ecclesiastical courts.
  5. Justice and Fairness: He was renowned for his sense of justice and fairness. He established the “parlement,” a court of law that traveled around France dispensing justice. He also heard cases himself, often under an oak tree in the forest of Vincennes.
  6. Legacy: Louis IX’s reign is often remembered as a period of stability and relative prosperity in France. His canonization in 1297 by Pope Boniface VIII solidified his reputation as a saintly king.
  7. Patronage of Arts and Architecture: Louis IX was a patron of the arts and commissioned numerous works of art and architecture during his reign. The Sainte-Chapelle in Paris, known for its stunning stained glass windows, was built to house the relics he acquired during the Crusades.

Louis IX’s legacy has endured through the centuries, with his reputation as a model Christian ruler and his contributions to French law and administration still remembered today.

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