The Chapel of Saint Francis de Paula

Now here you are before the Chapel of Saint Francis de Paula. It takes its name from the founder of the Order of Minims. He is represented in the picture before you. This was painted in the context of the restoration campaign of the church of Trinità dei Monti, in the nineteenth century, by one of the Ladies of the Sacred Heart.

  • lightbulb_outlineWho was Saint Francis de Paula ?

    Saint Francis de Paula, originally from Calabria, founded the Order of Minims at the end of the fifteenth century. He worked numerous miracles, notably of healing, and his fame spread gradually as far as the Royal Court of France under King Louis XI. The king was experiencing a tormented end to his life, fearing death more than anything; he had Francis de Paula called to his Court to heal him. When the king’s demand was relayed by the Pope,
    Saint Francis de Paula left his native Calabria to travel to France to the Court of the King. He undertook a long journey from the south of Italy as far as Paris, healing numerous people of the plague along the way.

    Saint Francis de Paula made friends with Louis XI during the last months of the king’s life and helped him to die in peace with himself, with his family and with God. Saint Francis de Paula then remained at the French Court for many years, becoming a counsellor of his son Charles VIII, who was then on the throne. In gratitude for the aid given to his father, Charles VIII offered to the Minims the Pincio Hill. This was the birth of Trinità dei Monti, a royal French convent.

  • schoolThe Order of Minims

    The Order of Minims is a religious order of brothers founded in Italy by Saint Francis de Paula. They are called Minims because they want to be less important than the Friars Minor (for example, the Franciscans and Dominicans). Therefore, they add to the three traditional monastic vows (of poverty, chastity, and obedience), the vow of perpetual Lent, that is, a constant fast on poor food and other privations. The Minims wear a cord with four knots, testifying to their four vows, as you can observe in the picture in front of you. The motto of the Order is “Caritas”: Charity. According to tradition, this motto was given to Saint Francis de Paula by the Archangel Michael. You can find it in different places in the church. In this chapel, it is associated with the fleurs-de-lys of the kingdom of France, as a witness to the privileged relationship between Saint Francis de Paula and the French Crown.

  • paletteDescription of the painting

    Originally, in this place there was the altarpiece attributed to Fabrizio Chiari, which was replaced by the famous painting of The conferring of the Keys to Saint Peter painted by Ingres between 1817 and 1820. This work was soon noticed and contributed greatly to the fame of the artist. When he left Italy, he took his painting with him, leaving the chapel without a principal picture. The original is now in the Ingres Museum at Montaubun, while the convent owns only a copy, realised by J. G. Murat in 1841, and installed to the left of the choir.

    In the nineteenth century, the congregation in charge of the Trinità dei Monti, the Ladies of the Sacred Heart, decided to redecorate the church, notably through paintings referring to the founding order of the convent : the Minims. Therefore, one of the Ladies of the Sacred Heart painted the picture before which you are standing and which represents Saint Francis de Paula with his traditional attributes : a religious habit with a pointed hood, a big walking-stick, a cord with four knots, and the motto “Caritas”. This painting has been made on the planks of wood that the Saint used for his bed.

A time of meditation

We suggest you take a short time of recollected silence and prayer.

Do not hesitate to settle yourself comfortably on a bench and listen to this song.

At the image of Saint Francis de Paula, abandon yourself entirely to Jesus, full of confidence. He guides you and accompanies you; he has a project of Life for you!