Few Dominicans have had more difficulty getting into the Order than Blessed Francis de Posadas, and he was one of the glories of the convent of the Scala Coeli, in Cordova. It is embarrassing for us to read that the reason for his exclusion was plain and simple snobbery on the part of the superiors of the convent of St. Paul, in Cordova.
Francis was born of a poor young couple who were war refugees, and who had been shunted from place to place until, when Francis was very small, his father’s health failed, and he died in Cordova. The young widow tried several types of work, and finally she was reduced to selling eggs and vegetables at a street stand. She tried to educate her child, for she knew he was very talented, but, without money, it simply was not possible to send him to school. She encourage him to go to the Dominican Church of St. Paul, and he served Mass there every morning from the time he was six or seven years old.
While he was still a very tiny child, he used to gather the other children together for rosary processions or other devotions. The smile of God seemed to rest upon him. For all his poverty, he was a very happy and attractive child, like by everyone; and he was a natural leader among his fellows. Twice during his childhood, he was miracuously saved from death. This fact and his undoubted piety, should have seemed sufficient reason for admitting him into a religious order. However, by the time Francis was old enough, there were two reasons to make his entry difficult: his mother had remarried, and the step-father would not permit him to enter. The Dominicans, moreover, would not have him. They said that they did not want the son of a street peddler.
Francis had friends in the Order, but the prior of the house he wished to enter took a violent dislike to him. It was several years before the young man could overcome the resistance of this man, who, having some influence with the provincial, was stubbornly determined that Francis should not be allowed to enter. Even when the fathers in the convent of Scala offered to take the boy and train him in Latin- so that he could qualify for clerical studies-the vindictive dislike of the prior followed him and almost prevented his acceptance.
Francis was finally accepted, made his novitiate, and gradually overcame all dislike and distrust by his charming manner and his unquestioned talents as student and preacher. After his ordination, he was sent out to preach, and he earned the reputation of being a second St, Vincent Ferrer. His talents as a preacher were rivaled only by his gifts as a confessor. He not only could read hearts and discover sins that had been willfully concealed, but sometimes he was called to one place or another by an interior spirit and shown someone badly in need of the sacraments.
Francis hated the thought of holding authority in the Order. When appointed prior of one of the convents, he remarked that he would much sooner be sentenced to the galleys. He twice refused a bishopric, and he skillfully eluded court honors.
Several remarkable conversions are credited to Francis Posadas. His last tears were a series of miracles wrought in the souls of his penitents. People followed him about to hear him preach, regarding him as a saint and miracle worker. One of his most noted converts was a woman more than one hundred years old- a Moor- with no intention of deserting Mohammedanism.
Francis of Posadas was the author of a number of books which he wrote to assist him in his apostolate. One was a life of St. Dominic. and several were biographies of other saintly people.
After a life filled with miracles, Francis died in 1713. Being forewarned of his death, he made private preparations, but to the last minute he was busy in the confessional before dying suddenly. By the time of his death, not only the Dominicans of Cordova, but the people of all Spain were happy to have him as a fellow countryman. He was beatified a century after his death, in 1818.
Born: Cordona in Spain in 1644
Died: In 1713 of natural causes
Beatified: He was declared Blessed by Pius VII in 1818