Biography of San Francisco Solano (1549-1610)

San_Francisco_Solano_(1549_-1610)Francisco Solano was born on March 10, 1549, in Montilla, Spain, located in the fertile hillsides of Cordoba, the capital of Andalusia. Francisco was the third child born to this affluent and noble family. Before his birth, Francisco’s parents, Matteo Sanchez Solano and Anna Jimenez Hildago, had dedicated their son to St. Francis of Assisi.

When asked as a young man the question, “What is a saint?” Francisco Solano answered that a saint is a person who has emptied his or her heart of selfishness and has filled it with Christ.

Francisco Solano entered the Franciscan Order at La Recolecion Monastery in April, 1569. Two years later, he began studies in theology and philosophy at the seminary in Loreto. Francisco Solano was ordained a priest on October 4, 1576, the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi.

During the plague in Spain, Francisco Solano, a man of compassion, risked his life caring for victims of the disease.

In February, 1589, Father Francisco embarked on a long and treacherous journey by ship to Peru, which ended in shipwreck near Colombia. Those aboard the shipwrecked vessel found strength and comfort in Francisco’s example, prayer, and heroism.

As a missionary to the Americas, Francisco Solano was a renowned preacher, reconciler, and peacemaker. A gifted musician, Francisco Solano used music as a means of leading persons to God. Beauty is, indeed, a path to God.

In poor health, Francisco Solano spent the final year of his earthly life in the Franciscan Infirmary in Peru. He died on July 14, 1610, the Feast of St. Bonaventure.

In 1726, Pope Benedict XIII proclaimed Francisco Solano a Saint.