Saint Francis Solanus: The Iconography

At Lima, Peru, St. Francis Solanus, priest of the Order of Friars Minor and confessor. He is famous for his preaching, his miracles, and his virtue among the Indians of the west. He went to the Lord [on this day] and was placed on the calendar of saints by Pope Benedict XIII. Roman Martyrology for July 14

This saint is famous an an evangelist among the indigenous peoples of South America and as a thaumaturge A thaumaturge is a miracle-worker . He was said to have caused a spring to flow, to have revived a dead boy, and on at least two occasions to have fearlessly roped and tamed raging bulls that had just killed several villagers (image). He later took up residence in Lima, Peru, where he preached against the corruption and cruelties of the Spaniards. His spiritual life was marked by great devotion to the Virgin Mary, and he would often play his lute before her statue. Because of this practice, some images portray him with a lute or guitar in hand. In others, he holds a cross or crucifix as a symbol of his preaching.

The backgrounds of some of his images feature churches toppling in an earthquake, as in the third picture at right. In 1603 he preached to the people of Trujillo, Peru, that their sins would cause God to destroy them; fifteen years later the city did suffer a devastating earthquake.

Prepared in 2017 by Richard Stracke, Emeritus Professor of English, Augusta University

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St. Francis Solano holding the crucifix (See the description page)


Solano holding a violin (See description page)


This 18th-century painting combines several episodes in the life of the saint. See the description page for the details.

DATES

  • Lived 1549-1610
  • Feast day: July 14

HAGIOGRAPHY