St. Ferdinand III of Castile

Ferdinand III (Spanish: Fernando III), 1199/1201 – 30 May 1252  was born at the Monastery of Valparaíso (Peleas de Arriba, in what is now the Province of Zamora), son of Alfonso IX of León and his second wife Berengaria of Castile.

In 1217 Ferdinand became King of Castile, which crown his mother renounced in his favour, and in 1230 he succeeded to the crown of Leon, though not without civil strife, since many were opposed to the union of the two kingdoms. He took as his counsellors the wisest men in the State, saw to the strict administration of justice, and took the greatest care not to overburden his subjects with taxation, fearing, as he said, the curse of one poor woman more than a whole army of Saracens.

His devotion to the Virgin Mother of God was most tender, and he used to call Her, “My Lady”: in return, Mary Most Holy procured for him victory in all his battles, and kept away all pestilence and famine from the country during his entire reign, which, as his contemporary chroniclers observed, was an evident miracle, considering the circumstances of that period. A large picture of Our Lady was carried before him into battle, while a small picture of Our Lady was attached to his saddle.  Read More »