November 19, 2017

St. Felix of Valois, Co-Founder of the Trinitarian Order

Saint Felix of Valois

According to the 1962 Missal of Saint John XXIII, November 20th is the feast of St. Felix of Valois, the companion of St. John of Matha in founding the Trinitarian Order for the redemption of Muslim captives. St. Felix died in 1212, in Cerfroid. The Trinitarian Order's motto inscribed in the heart of Trinitarians is, "Gloria Tibi Trinitas et captivis libertas." (Glory to you O Trinity and liberty to the captives.)

St. Felix of Valois was born in 1127. Together with St. John of Matha, he founded the Order of Trinitarians for liberating captured Christians from Saracen (Muslim) slavery. He belonged to the royal family of Valois. The breviary recounts several marvelous events from his life. As a boy he frequently gave away his clothes to clothe the naked. He pleaded for the life of a murderer condemned to death and foretold that he would reform and lead a highly edifying life-which proved true.

With St. John of Matha he journeyed to Rome at the bidding of an angel and requested permission from Pope Innocent III to found a religious Order (1198). During holy Mass the Pope was granted a revelation regarding the proposed foundation; an angel appeared to him clothed in white with a red and blue cross. At Innocent's bidding the Order took the name of the Blessed Trinity. The last fifteen years of Felix's life were spent in developing his growing congregation.

In the newly-founded monastery at Cerfroid, Felix was favored with a visit by the Blessed Virgin. During the night preceding the feast of Our Lady's Nativity all the brethren there slept through Matins by a special divine dispensation. Felix alone appeared at choir, where he found the Blessed Virgin clothed in the habit of the Trinitarians, accompanied by a great throng of angels similarly so adorned.

United with them, with Mary as choir leader, Felix recited the Divine Office as usual. When he was about to leave the earthly choirs to join those of heaven, an angel told him the day of his departure. Admonishing his brethren to persevere in love, he died on November 4, 1212, mature in age and merit. Almighty God, You inspired Saint Felix to leave his hermitage to devote himself to the ransoming of prisoners; grant we pray, that by his intercession, through Your grace we may be feed from sin and born to heavenly glory. Through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Adapted excerpt from The Church's Year of Grace, Father Pius Parsch.

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