Royal Archconfraternity of SS. John the Baptist and Evangelist of the Knights of Malta ad Honorem of Catanzaro
(attached to the Lateran Archbasilica)
CHAPEL OF SAN FRANCESCO
It preserves a seventeenth-century altar pediment made of stucco, at the center of which, in a niche, there is the eighteenth-century statue of San Francesco di Paola , characterized by having the face, hands and feet made of wax.
Born in Paola (Cosenza) in 1416, as a young man Saint Francis chose the life of a hermit. His example of holiness, his spirituality, his charity which also manifested itself in the form of miracles, attracted many people to Christ. He founded the Order of Minims. He died in 1507 in France, where he had been called by King Louis XI and had continued his mission as a witness to Christ for 25 years. He is the patron saint of Calabria.
In place of the altar, demolished in the 1960s, there is a glass case housing the wooden statue of the Neapolitan school of
Santa Filomena (18th century) , with a green silk velvet dress, a valuable testimony of the silk art
made Catanzaro famous in Europe until the 17th-18th century.
On the right wall, a niche which houses an effigy of the Madonna of Pompeii . It is a very common and revered image. It represents the Virgin with the Child in her arms, as she hands the rosary to S. Caterina da Siena and S. Domenico. It expresses the great value of the prayer of the Rosary, highly recommended by the Virgin Mary as a bond of love and protection that unites the hearts of children to her.
Above it is worth noting the nineteenth-century painting depicting San Francesco di Paola bringing the lamb Martinello back to life, a well-known episode in popular devotion. The canvas, recently found in an archive in precarious conditions, was restored and exhibited here in 2017.