(Saint Louis, King of France, with a Page', El Greco, 1592-95, oil on canvas, Musée du Louvre, Paris, France)
Son of King Louis VIII and Blanche of Castile, King St. Louis IX (commonly called St. Louis) is the only French monarch to have ever been canonized. He was crowned the King of France and Count of Artois at age eleven, though his mother ruled as regent until he reached 22. Thereafter, St. Louis reigned for 44 years. St. Louis made numerous judicial and legislative reforms, promoted Christianity in France, established religious foundations, aided mendicant orders, propagated synodal decrees of the Church, built leper hospitals, and collected relics (see below).
In 1230 the King forbade all forms of usury. Where the profits of the Jewish and Lombard money-lenders had been exorbitant, and the original borrowers could not be found, Louis exacted from the usurers a contribution towards the crusade which Pope Gregory was then trying to launch. Louis also ordered, at the urging of Pope Gregory IX, the burning in Paris in 1243 of some 12,000 manuscript copies of the Talmud and other Jewish books.
He married Marguerite of Provence at age 19, and fathered eleven children. Furthermore, St. Louis supported Pope Innocent IV in war against Emperor Frederick II of Germany. He was a Trinitarian tertiary and also led two Crusades. It was during the second of these Crusades that he died.
The Holy Crown of Jesus Christ (the relic of the crown which rested on the Head of our Lord) was bought by King St. Louis IX from Baldwin II. It is preserved today in a 19th century reliquary, in Notre-Dame Cathedral, Paris.
"I think more of the place where I was baptized than of Rheims Cathedral where I was crowned. It is a greater thing to be a child of God than to be the ruler of a Kingdom. This last I shall lose at death but the other will be my passport to an everlasting glory." (St. Louis IX, King of France)
O God, Who didst translate blessed Louis, Thy Confessor, from an earthly throne to the glory of Thy heavenly kingdom: grant, we beseech Thee, through his merits and intercession, that we may have fellowship with the King of kings, Jesus Christ Thy Son: Who liveth and reigneth.
Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal