Ludovico of Casoria

Ludovico of Casoria (11 March 1814 – 30 March 1885) - born Arcangelo Palmentieri - was an Italian Roman Catholic priest and a professed member of the Order of Friars Minor. He was a renowned social reformer who founded both the Grey Friars of Charity and the Grey Franciscan Sisters of Saint Elizabeth.

Ludovico of Casoria
Born11 March 1814
Naples, Kingdom of Naples
Died30 March 1885(1885-03-30) (aged 71)
Naples, Kingdom of Italy
Venerated inRoman Catholic Church
Beatified18 April 1993, Saint Peter's Square, Vatican City by Pope John Paul II
Canonized23 November 2014, Saint Peter's Square, Vatican City by Pope Francis
Feast30 March
AttributesFranciscan habit

Pope Francis canonized him as a saint of the Roman Catholic Church on 23 November 2014; he remains a patron of Casoria and of his religious orders.


Tomb at Santa Chiara in Naples.

Early lifeEdit

Arcangelo Palmentieri, was born in Casoria, near Naples, on 11 March 1814. He apprenticed as a cabinet maker in his youth. He entered the novitiate of the Order of Friars Minor on 1 July 1832, taking the name Ludovico. Ludovico was ordained five years later and was appointed to teach philosophy, mathematics, and chemistry to the younger members of the Order at the Franciscan priory of Saint Peter (San Pietro) in Naples.[1]

Ludovico reported having a mystical experience in 1847, after which he embarked on a lifetime of establishing works to care for the poor and needy of the time, founding dispensaries and orphanages. About 1852 he opened a school for the education of African boys and girls redeemed from slavery. He also founded institutions for the deaf and the mute. He also worked to provide care for the elderly members of his own Order. In addition to an infirmary for friars of his province, he began charitable institutes in Naples, Florence and Assisi.[1]


Following the advice of his superiors to find others to whom he could entrust this work, in 1859 he instituted a community of men as a religious congregation of the Franciscan Third Order Regular at San Pietro. The group was composed of men who had belonged to the Secular Franciscans.[1] They became known as the Gray Friars of Charity (Italian: Frati Bigi della Carità) on account of the traditional grayish color of the Franciscan religious habit. Three years later, he instituted likewise a congregation of religious women, known as the Franciscan Sisters of Saint Elizabeth (Suore Elisabettiane Bigie), whom he placed under the protection of Elizabeth of Hungary, one of the first members of the Third Order of Saint Francis and its patron saint.

The work of the friars spread to the United States, where they served the Italian American community in New Jersey; the Holy See formally approved the friars in 1877. Due to the small number of members still in the congregation, the Holy See disbanded the friars in 1971. A new group of men and women, dedicated to his vision, however, currently exists in the process of forming.[2]

The Franciscan Sisters of Saint Elizabeth currently serve in Italy, the United States of America, Ethiopia, India, Panama and the Philippines.[3]

Death and venerationEdit

A serious and painful illness attacked Ludovico around 1876; he never completely recovered and died nine years later.

Within months after the death of Ludovico, the cause for his canonization was introduced in Rome. Pope John Paul II beatified him on 18 April 1993 and Pope Francis canonized him in 2014 on 23the of November.[4][5] His annual feast day is celebrated on 30 March.[6]

His spiritual testament begins: "The Lord called me to himself with a most tender love, and with an infinite charity he led and directed me along the path of my life." ((Saint of the Day ))

The reconstructed body of San Ludovico da Casoria is visible in the Basilica of Santa Chiara. The new transparent urn replaces the small reliquary that contained the bones of the friar since 2015. On 1 November, after the mass celebrated by the provincial father of the Friars Minor, Carlo D'Amodio, the urn showing the body in its natural was discovered anatomical conformity, covered by the Franciscan habit. The skeleton, preserved in its entirety, was reconstituted by medical experts Professor Michele Papa, Professor of Normal Human Anatomy at the Luigi Vanvitelli University of Naples, Professor Rosaria Maria Anna Costanzo, Pathological Anatomy Researcher and Doctor Domenico Ronga, emeritus Primary Pascale Institute of Naples. [7] The body is visible in the plastic image of the moment of death, which occurred at 7.15 am on 30 March 1885 in the Marino hospice of Posillipo.


  1. ^ a b c Foley, Leonard ofm. "St. Ludovico of Casoria", Saint of the Day, Franciscan Media
  2. ^ "Home Page". Grey Franciscan Friars of Charity. Archived from the original on October 10, 2013.
  3. ^ "Vocation". Franciscan Sisters of Saint Elizabeth. Archived from the original on September 4, 2013.
  4. ^ Rite of canonization of blesseds: Giovanni Antonio Farina, Kuriakose Elias Chavara of the holy family, Ludovico of Casoria, Nicola of Longobardi, Euphrasia Eluvathingal of the sacred heart, Amato Ronconi
  5. ^ "The Papacy of John Paul II". Retrieved 2013-04-25.[dead link]
  6. ^ "Saint Who? Saint Ludovico of Casoria". Magnificat. Magnificat USA. 18 (3): 281. May 2016.
  7. ^ "San Ludovico da Casoria, il corpo a Santa Chiara". Napoli Post | Notizie, politica, cronaca, turismo e cultura in Campania (in Italian). 2018-11-16. Retrieved 2019-06-16.


  • Acta Ordinis Minorum (May, 1907), 156-158;
  • The Catholic World (November, 1895), 155-166;
  • Voce di Sant' Antonio (July, 1907), 23-26.

External linksEdit


  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainHerbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Ludovico of Casoria". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.