Franciscan Saints

24th December

The Servant of God Constance, Queen of Aragon

Widow, Second Order

Sometimes wicked fathers have good children, and not seldom does it devolve upon saintly daughters to atone for the sins of their father. Constance fulfilled this mission. Her father was Manfred, son of the wicked Emperor Frederick II. Stepping into the footsteps of his father, he heeded neither the precepts nor the rights of the Church. He usurped the kingdom of Sicily against the will of the pope, to whom, at the time the disposition of it belonged. In consequence he was excommunicated by the pope.

His pious daughter, Constance prayed much and performed severe penances and mortification in order to obtain from God the conversion of her father. She would gladly have made the sacrifice of her entire life in a strict order in atonement for his crime, but she was obliged to yield to her father's will and marry the king of Aragon.

In the married state she undertook to sanctify both herself and her children, so successfully that her daughter, Elizabeth, Queen of Portugal is a Saint in the Catholic church.

After her husband died Constance was required to maintain the governance of her husband's kingdom for eight years during this time she edified everyone by her Christian love of enemies. Charles of Anjou had robbed her father of his throne and his life; he had also driven her cousin Conradin from the throne of Naples and had caused him to be executed in the market square of that city. Now Charles' son was imprisoned by Constance's fleet and taken to her home in Barcelona. Far from taking revenge on the son of the enemy of her family, she visited him in prison and made his conditions there as easy as possible. Yes! When the Royal court pronounced the death sentence upon him, she refused to execute it, " How could I" she said "justify myself before my judge, who on the Cross pleaded forgiveness for his enemies?"

Constance abdicated to enter the Order of St. Clare, in which she lived sixteen years, devoting herself to prayer and penitential practises until she died in a saintly manner in 1301.

Prayer of the Church
(Ninth Post-communion under " Various Prayers")

Pour forth upon us, O Lord , the spirit of Thy charity, that
those whom Thou has sated with the one bread from heaven,
Thou mayest in Thy goodness make of one mind.
Through this same Christ our Lord who liveth and reigneth
with Thee and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.

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

Last edited 13/09/2017 07:36 
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