Saint Louis of Toulouse, Ludwig of Toulouse
Date of Birth:
Date of Death:
August 20, 1297
He gave up his position in the succession to the crown of France for a life of austerity dedicated to God.
Taking up several key roles in the Church, Saint Louis’ most significant achievements were as a Franciscan devotee and as Bishop of Toulouse.
Saint Louis of Toulouse (February 1274 – 19 August 1297) was a cadet of the royal French house of Anjou who was made a Catholic bishop.
He was born in Brignoles, Provence, (or in Italy, at Nocera, where he spent a part of his early life), the second son of Charles of Anjou "the Lame" and Maria Arpad of Hungary, daughter of the King Stephen V of Hungary. His father was appointed King of Naples, by Pope Clement IV, the former secretary to Louis IX of France. The boy was himself a nephew of St Louis and of Mary of Hungary (her great-aunt being Saint Elizabeth of Hungary), and also the aunt of Saint Louis' mother was Saint Margaret of Hungary.
When Charles II of Naples was taken prisoner in Italy, during the war with King Peter III of Aragon that followed the Sicilian Vespers, he obtained his own freedom by giving over his three sons as hostages. The boys were taken to Barcelona—Aragonese territory—where they were placed under the care of Franciscan friars for their education and held for seven years. Though still held in captivity, Louis was made archbishop of Lyon as soon as he reached his majority. When his older brother died in 1295, Louis also became heir to his father's secular titles; however, when he was freed that same year, Louis went to Rome and gave up all claims to his royal inheritance in favor of his brother Robert of Anjou and announced that instead he would take the Franciscan vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience.
On 5 February 1297, Louis was also consecrated Bishop of Toulouse, where his uncle, Alphonse of Toulouse had until recently been Count, but had died in 1271 leaving no heir. In this ambivalently dynastic and ecclesiastical position, in a territory between Provence and Aquitaine that was essential to Angevin interests, despite the princely standing that had won him this important appointment at the age of about 22, Louis rapidly gained a reputation for serving the poor, feeding the hungry, and ignoring his own needs. After just six months, however, apparently exhausted by his labors, he abandoned the position of Bishop. Shortly thereafter, at age 23, he died of a fever, possibly typhoid, at Brignoles.