The greatest Spanish Monarch and King of Castile and Leon. Born in 1199 exactly 100 years after the death of his illustrious ancestor – El Cid.
30th May was traditionally for Catholics in Spain a holy day of obligation in honor of the great saintly King Fernando III. Saint Fernando died on 30th May 1252 in Seville and was buried adorned in a simple habit of a Franciscan tertiary instead of the regal garments and mail armor plate which he wore during much of his life. (He was not just a king he was a knight warrior.) His funeral was celebrated on a Saturday consecrated to the Blessed Virgin Mary because of his devotion, during his entire life, to Christ through the intercession of His Holy Mother. In fulfillment of St. Fernando’s request, his body was buried beneath the statue of Our Lady the Virgin of Kings. Upon his death a great sorrow was cast over all of Christendom.
Even the emir of Granada, of that time, Alhamar the Red, once Fernando’s adversary but became his faithful vassal, venerated the memory of his friend by dispatching a 100 of his Moorish cavalrymen to the tomb of King Fernando, each one carrying pure white candles, 150 miles on foot to Seville. This was done annually for 240 years, even after the death of Alhamar which his successors were obliged through an edict he issued. At the time of history, Spain was very much dominated by the Muslim Moors, he fought hard and sacrificed much to expel them out of southern Spain. His achievements had inflicted greatly the defeat of medieval Islam and even out shone those of the crusades under the many kings like Sancho II, Jaime I, St. Louis, Frederick II and Edward I.
Fernando was a man of very deep faith living a life knowing that everything depends on God and that He will give the grace of victory to those who do everything within their power to What is black satta king succeed for His glory. The first sign of Fernando’s saintliness was when St. John of Matha remarked that God through Fernando will bring great favors to Spain. This was some months after his miraculous recovery from a disease at the age of 10 which almost took his life, if not for his mother’s prayers to the Blessed Virgin Mother of God at the shrine of Santa Maria de Ona.
Fernando had an exemplary example of manhood in his grandfather King Alfonso VIII. For during his lifetime the king, was just, pious, living the will of God and making many sacrifices for the people of his kingdom. One day after Holy Communion he told his mother that God is his King and he is His knight and that he will suffer great labors for God unto blood in the wars against the Moors; and the Blessed Virgin is his Lady. He was often seen deep in prayer before a statue of the Blessed Virgin often on his knees. In battles he would have a statue of the Blessed Virgin mounted on his saddle. This statue exists even today in Seville. Dona Berenguera, Fernando’s mother, raised him up to be a saint just as she was raised by her father King Alfonso VIII. She was an exceptionally talented, virtuous, modest and understanding lady both prudent and wise. King Alfonso favored her and counseled her in politics and the affairs of the state. Fernando loved her very much and always listened to her counsel but made the final decisions himself. Fernando’s generosity to the poor and his humility was well known among his people.
To his people, his piety was signified by his recollection and devotion during Mass and the Holy Office. Before every battle he would lead his men to make confession and to assist at Holy Mass. He knew what it was to lead men into battle and that he was personally responsible for their lives. From a very young age he was trained in the use of arms like a knight and by seventeen he was already an expert with arms particularly the sword (like his great ancestor El Cid). Few could rival him in swordsmanship, even experienced knights. He never stopped training as a man-at-arms and over the years he became a master swordsman. He too was a tough and hardy soldier, having trained himself to suffer hardships by taking long rides on his horse in inclement weather. He realized that he would have to command men who knew how to suffer and would not have appreciated a commander who could not suffer with them.