Saint Francis of Paola (1416-1507) was healed of a kind of eye disease through the intercession of St Francis of Assisi when he was still a young man, led an extraordinarily ascetic life, had many followers, founded dozens of monasteries, frequently performed miracles, and made several astounding prophecies regarding the end times Army of the Lord—prophecies which are astonishing in their scope and detail, and which are found in the body of his seven letters reproduced here.
For a brief introduction to the content of the seven letters see this link.
(The original of the following letter is purportedly preserved by the Benedetti family in the city of Spoleto.)
My most esteemed Lord, — Through the grace of the Holy Spirit, and through your merits, but not through my virtue, the spirit of prophecy is granted to me often to foretell most wonderful events in relation to the reformation of the Church of the Most High.
From your Lordship shall be born the great leader of the Holy Militia of the Holy Spirit which shall overcome the world, and shall possess the earth so completely that no king or lord shall be able to exist, except he belongs to the Sacred Host of the Holy Ghost. These devout men shall wear on their breasts, and much more within their hearts, the sign of the living God, namely, the cross.
The first members of this holy Order shall be natives of the city of … . where iniquity, vice, and sin abound. But they shall be converted from evil to good; from rebels against God they shall become most fervent and most faithful in his divine service. That city shall be cherished by God and by the great monarch, the elect and the beloved of the Most High Lord. For the sake of that place all holy souls who have done penance in it shall pray in the sight of God for that city and for its inhabitants.
When the time shall come of the immense and most right justice of the Holy Spirit, his Divine Majesty wills that such city become converted to God, and that many of its citizens follow the great Prince of the Holy Army. The first person that will openly wear the sign of the living God shall belong to that city, because he will through a letter be commanded by a holy hermit to have it impressed in his heart and to wear it externally on his breast.
That man will begin to meditate on the secrets of God about the long visitation which the Holy Spirit will make and the dominion that he will exercise over the world through the Holy Militia. O! happy man, who shall receive from the Most High the greatest privileges! He will interpret the hidden secrets of the Holy Ghost, and he shall often excite the admiration of men by his revealed knowledge of the internal secrets of their hearts. O, rejoice, my lord, because that Prince above other princes, and King over other kings will hold you in the greatest veneration, and, after having been crowned with three most admirable crowns, will exalt that city, will declare it free and the seat of the Empire, and it shall become one of the first cities of the world. I say nothing more. Kissing your hand, together with the inhabitants of … . whom I beg, when they shall see this letter, to receive it as a prophecy,
Friar Francis di Paola.
From our house of Paola, 5th February, 1482.
My excellent Lord, — You and your consort desire to have children; you shall have them. Your holy offspring shall be admired upon earth. Among your descendants there will be one who shall be like the sun amidst the stars. He shall be a first-born son; in his childhood he will be like a saint; in his youth, a great sinner; then he will be converted entirely to God and will do great penance; his sins will be forgiven him, and he shall become a great saint.
He shall be a great captain and prince of holy men, who shall be called the holy Crociferi (I.e the Cruciferi, cross-bearers) of Jesus Christ, with whom he shall destroy the Mahometan sect and the rest of the infidels. He shall annihilate all the heresies and tyrannies of the world. He shall reform the Church of God by means of his followers, who shall be the best men upon earth in holiness, in arms, in science, and in every virtue, because such is the will of the Most High. They shall obtain the dominion of the whole world, both temporal and spiritual, and they shall support the Church of God until the end of time. I say no more.
Friar Francis di Paola.
25th March, 1485.
My excellent Lord, — O great treasurer of the Holy Spirit! O new Abraham upon earth! [After these words St. Francis gives a long and severe reproach to ecclesiastics for their covetousness, indolence, and want of charity and zeal for the spiritual welfare of the people; then he says]: Let the kings and princes in Christendom be ashamed of themselves, who live without charity. God has granted them means to lead a good life, and they are bad, having their hands shut up with the accursed lock of avarice; they are stingy in good works and prodigal in doing evil; they spend more than what they have in vanities and in useless things, in order to indulge their passions, oppressing their poor subjects. O wretched, unhappy men! Do you know what vanity is? Do you understand that your people are the creatures and subjects of the Most High God? They are men like you; children of Adam like you; they have been given to you as subjects, not that you might rob and maltreat them, but in order that you govern them with that diligence and care required in the shepherd towards his own sheep. They are worse by far than ravenous wolves and worse than hungry lions! Be ashamed of your wicked actions, ye Christians by name, but without truth; you are worse than the infidels, O ye tyrants of the people of God! You turn to spiritual principles, much worse than your secular and worldly principles.
O comrades of Judas Iscariot! To you I say, evil prelates, greedy for robbery to devour the sheep of Jesus Christ bought back with His Most Precious Blood: what care do you have of the holy fold of Christ? Good care, you say; but what? You have no other care than to devour and eat the goods of Holy Church without ever remembering the poor of the blessed Jesus Christ. Your benefits are not enough for you, I call evil deeds for you, not the abbeys of the monks you have tyrannized, but hospitals, giving them their income, and the poor are starving to death in the fields and on the streets. (NOTE: -hospitals: it became a status symbol in towns in the medieval period to be able to set up a hospital, which were quite luxurious in Florence for one example, and therefore could be a point of pride. Obviously St. Francis is upset great funds were possibly being used wrongfully and spreading the vices of pride and greed, and not actually going to help those they were meant to help. This could also be a prophecy of our times, i.e. of great funds going to huge charitable organisations, that actually don’t do what they were set up to do but get funnelled into the pockets of the managers at the top).
Woe to you because God Almighty will exalt a very poor man of the blood of the Emperor Constantine, son of St. Helena, and of the seed of Pepin, (i.e King Pepin of France) who shall on his breast wear the sign which you have seen at the beginning of this letter (a cross). Through the power of the Most High he shall confound the tyrants, the heretics, and infidels. He will gather a grand army, and the angels shall fight for them; they shall kill all God’s enemies. O my Lord that man shall be one of your posterity, because you come from the blood of Pepin.
Friar Francis di Paola.
25th of April, 1486.
My excellent Lord and Benefactor, — From the beginning of the world, after the creation of man, and to the end of human generation, there have been and there shall be seen wonderful events upon the earth. Four hundred years shall not pass when his Divine Majesty shall visit the world with a new religious order much needed, which shall effect more good among men than all other religious institutions combined. This religious order shall be the last and the best in the Church; it shall proceed with arms, with prayer, and with hospitality. Woe to tyrants, to heretics, and to infidels, to whom no pity shall be shown, because such is the will of the Most High! An infinite number of wicked men shall perish through the hands of the Cross-bearers, the true servants of Jesus Christ. They shall act like good husbandmen when they extirpate noxious weeds and prickly thistles from the wheat-field. These holy servants of God shall purify the earth with the deaths of innumerable wicked men. The head and captain of these holy servants of God shall be one of your posterity, and he shall be the great reformer of the Church of God.
Francis di Paola.
From Spezzako, 13th of January, 1489.
(The original letter is said to be preserved in the city of Montalto in Calabria, and has been copied by John Baptist Francesco, a public notary.)
My Lord and Brother in Jesus Christ our Lord, — May his Divine Majesty reign in every place, namely, in heaven, upon earth, and even in hell. How spiritually blind are those persons who, having no thought about the things of God, fix their end in earthly objects! Wretched men! by far worse than the very beasts which are guided by their senses, because they cannot have reason; but when men abandon the use of their reason, they become brutalized. Hence they shall ever be in confusion. Let, therefore, the princes of this world be prepared for the greatest scourges to fall upon them. But from whom? First from heretics and infidels, then from the holy and most faithful Cruciferi elected by the Most High, who, not succeeding in converting heretics with science, shall have to make a vigorous use of their arms. Many cities and villages shall be in ruins, with the deaths of an innumerable quantity of bad and good men. The infidels also will fight against Christians and heretics, sacking, destroying, and killing the largest portion of Christians. Lastly, the army, styled of the Church, namely, the holy Cruciferi, shall move, not against Christians or Christianity, but against the infidels in pagan countries, and they shall conquer all those kingdoms with the death of a very great number of infidels. After this they shall turn their victorious arms against bad Christians, and shall destroy all the rebels against Jesus Christ. These holy Cruciferi shall reign and dominate holily over the world until the end of time. The founder of these holy men shall, my lord, be one of your posterity. But when shall this take place? When crosses with the stigmas shall be seen, and the crucifix shall be carried as the standard. May our blessed Lord Jesus Christ reign! Gaudeamus omnes; let us all rejoice who are in the service of the Most High, because the great visitation and reformation of the world is approaching when there shall be only one fold and one Shepherd.
F. Francis di Paola.
26th of March, 1490.
My excellent Lord, — The time is coming when his Divine Majesty will visit the world with a new religious order of holy Cruciferi, who will carry a crucifix, or the image of our crucified Lord, lifted up upon the principal standard in view of all. This standard will be admired by all good Catholics; but at the beginning it will be derided by bad Christians and by infidels. Their sneers shall, however, be changed into mourning when they shall witness the wonderful victories achieved through it against tyrants, heretics, and infidels. Many wicked men and obstinate rebels against God shall perish; their souls will be plunged into hell. This punishment shall fall upon all those transgressors of the Divine commandments who with new and false doctrines will attempt to corrupt mankind and turn men against the ministers of God’s worship. The same chastisement is due to all obstinate sinners, but not to those who sin through weakness, because these being converted, doing penance, and amending the conduct of their life, shall find the divine mercy of the Most High full of kindness towards them.
O holy Cross-bearers of the Most High Lord, how very pleasing you will be to the great God, much more than the children of Israel! God will through your instrumentality work more wonderful prodigies than he has ever done before with any nation. You shall destroy the sect of Mahomet, and all infidels of every kind and of every sect. You shall put an end to all the heresies of the world by extinguishing all tyrants. You will remove every cause of complaint by establishing a universal peace, which shall last until the end of time. You will work the sanctification of mankind.
O holy men ! People blessed of the Most Holy Trinity ! Your victorious founder shall triumph over the world, the flesh, and the Devil. Laos Deo et omnibus Sanctis ejus. May God and all his saints be praised .
Friar Francis di Paola.
7th of March, 1495.
My excellent Lord, — Let your soul rejoice! for his Divine Majesty manifests through you such wonderful signs and great miracles, according to what I, by God’s will, have often and again written and foretold to you. One of your posterity shall achieve greater deeds and work greater wonders than your lordship. That man will be a great sinner in his youth, but like St. Paul he shall be drawn and converted to God. He shall be the great founder of a new religious order different from all the others. He shall divide it into three classes, namely:
1. Military knights;
2. Solitary priests;
3. Pious hospitallers.
This shall be the last religious order in the Church, and it will do more good for our holy religion than all other religious institutes. By force of arms he shall take possession of a great kingdom. He shall destroy the sect of Mahomet, extirpate all tyrants and heresies. He shall bring the world to a holy mode of life. There will be one fold and one Shepherd. He shall reign until the end of time. On the whole earth there shall be only twelve kings, one emperor, and one pope. Rich gentlemen shall be very few, but all saints. May Jesus Christ be praised and blessed; for he has vouchsafed to grant to me, a poor unworthy sinner, the spirit of prophecy, not in an obscure way as to his other servants, but has enabled me to write and to speak in a most clear manner. I know that unbelieving and reprobate persons will scoff at my letters and will reject them; but they will be received by those faithful Catholic souls who aspire to the possession of heaven. These letters shall infuse such sweetness of divine love in their hearts, that they will be delighted in perusing them often, and in taking copies of them, because such is the will of the Most High. In these letters it will be found out who belongs to our blessed Lord Jesus Christ and who does not, who is a predestinate or a reprobate. Much better will this be known through the holy sign of the living God. He shall be a saint of God who will take it, love it, and wear it.
Nothing more occurs to me.
Friar Francis di Paola.
18th August, 1496.
*End of the letters of St Francis di Paola*
Regarding the above prophecies:
One ought to remember that not all prophecies are absolute. Some prophecies turn out to be provisional, while others are absolute.
When prophecies are given by God to inspire repentance, their fulfilment may potentially be suspended, altered, or completely reversed if souls return to God, much in the same way that the Lord did in the case of the prophet Jonah and the people of Ninevah. (Book of Jonah)
In other words, if the prophecies have the desired effect then God, at his own discretion, withdraws the pre-announced chastisements, for God has “no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live.” (Ezekiel 33:11)
Therefore, in making a study of prophecy, it is up to us to exercise caution and prayerful discernment when comparing one prophecy with another, and when comparing prophecy with historical events, both past and present.
St Francis of Paola predicts that the final Order, the army of the Lord that will usher in worldwide peace, would come within 400 years of his time. There is reason to believe that this 400 year period has been extended by God due to mitigating circumstances. Given the pivotal role that the army of the Lord will fulfil in the end times, and given that the Age of Peace has not yet dawned upon the world, the manifestation of the army of the Lord is evidently still in the future.