Felix of Cantalice

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For other people named Felix, see Felix (name).
Saint Felix of Cantalice, O.F.M. Cap.
Rubens Felice da Cantalice.JPG
Saint Felix of Cantalice by Peter Paul Rubens
Born 18 May 1515
Cantalice, Italy
Died 18 May 1587
Rome, Italy
Honored in
Franciscan Order
Beatified 1 October 1625 by Pope Urban VIII
Canonized 1709 by Pope Clement XI
Feast May 18
Attributes Capuchin habit; holding the Baby Jesus
Patronage Spello

Felix of Cantalice, O.F.M. Cap. (Italian: Felice da Cantalice), was born on 18 May 1515 to peasant parents in Cantalice, Italy, in the central Italian region of Lazio. As a boy he worked hard as a farm laborer and shepherd, and, in 1543, entered the newly founded Capuchin friars as a lay brother at the Citta Ducale friary in the municipality of Anticoli Corrado.

It is said that he was well noted for his piety. In 1547 he was sent to Rome as quaestor of the Capuchin Friary of St. Bonaventure, where he spent his remaining 40 years begging alms to help in the friars' work of aiding the sick and the poor. In Rome, Brother Felix became a familiar sight, wandering barefoot through the streets, knocking on doors to seek donations. He preached in the street, rebuked corrupt politicians and officials, and exhorted young men to stop leading dissolute lives. He also composed simple teaching canticles, and arranged for children to gather in groups to sing them as a way to teach them the catechism. Felix was revered by all and was a good friend of St. Philip Neri. He helped to revise St. Charles Borromeo's rules for his Order of Oblates.[1]

Felix died in Rome on his 72nd birthday and was buried in the famed crypt of the Church of Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini. He was beatified on 1 October 1625 by Pope Urban VIII and canonized on 22 May 1712 by Pope Clement XI. He was the first Capuchin friar in the history of the Order to be canonized.[2]

In 19th-century Poland, the Felician Sisters, a religious congregation of Franciscan Sisters of the Third Order Regular, was founded to care for the poor and adopted him as their patron saint.

His feast day is celebrated on the Calendar of Saints of the Franciscan Order on May 18. A titular church in Rome is erected under his honor, the Church of San Felice da Cantalice a Centocelle.

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