Franciscan Saints




 23rd August



Blessed Queen Blanche



Widow, Third Order


The title of Blessed which was conferred on her in popular devotion may still be used, but it has not yet been officially confirmed by the Holy See. Both Louis and Isabelle, her only surviving daughter, were Canonized.




Our Divine Lord says: “By their fruits you shall know them” (Mt. 7, 16), and in these words He bestows great praise on Queen Blanche, for St. Louis IX of France was her son, and his holiness was in great measure the result of her maternal rearing.


Blanche, the daughter of the king of Castile, Spain, lived in happy wedlock with Louis VIII, King of France, for twenty-six years. She enjoyed the confidence of her husband so perfectly that when he died he entrusted her with the guardianship of their twelve-year-old son Louis and, until his maturity, with the government of the country. There were among the great ones in the land such who were envious of the widow and foreigner, and would have liked to take over the government. But Blanche administered the high and burdensome office with such impartial justice and great wisdom that the envious were silenced and her executive ability was highly commended by all.


As a mother she evinced genuine Christian sentiments. It is in the love for her children that a Christian mother must generally stand the test. Will she allow them to do things that are displeasing to God? Will she love them more than God? “He who loves son or daughter more than Me, is not worthy of Me” (Mt. 10,37). Blanche proved that she was a true Christian mother, for she often said to her son; “Rather would I see you dead at my feet ` than stained with a mortal sin.”


She was not satisfied, however, with helping her son to avoid mortal sin, she was anxious also to preserve him from venial sin. Mother and son therefore had themselves enrolled in the Third Order of St. Francis. In living up to the rule she encouraged him to practice every virtue and to strive after Christian perfection.


The saintly son had such confidence in his mother that, having personally governed the country for several years, he again placed her in charge, while he went to the Holy Land with his army. He did not return until he received the news of her death in 1253. Blanche died surrounded by devout sisters of the Cistercian Order, whose convent at Maubisson she had built. Clothed in the habit of the Third Order, she was buried in their church. The title of Blessed which was conferred on her in popular devotion may still be used, but it has not yet been officially confirmed by the Holy See. (Cf, Forum, 1949, pp. 238-240, 252.)





Prayer of the Church


Grant unto us, eternal Saviour, that as we,  by Thy grace,

receive forgiveness of our sins, so we may henceforth avoid all sin.

Through the same Christ Our Lord Who liveth  and reigneth
Thee and the Holy Spirit,  One God, now and forever.  Amen



Habig, Marion A., O.F.M., 1959, ed., The Franciscan book of Saints, Franciscan Herald press, Chicago, Illinois


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