The Gregorian Institute Shield, composed of the crossed gold and silver keys of the Papal Insignia, an open book with the words 'Via Veritas Vita' ('The Way, the Truth, and the Life') written on its pages, three golden six-sided stars on a red banner, and a Germanic cross.

at BENEDICTINE COLLEGE

How To Be a King: St. Louis’ Leadership Advice

“I was a good 22 years in the King’s company,” wrote one advisor of King Louis IX of France, “and never once did I hear him swear, either by God, or His Mother, or his saints.”

If what he did not say is one legacy of St. Louis IX, who reigned as king in France from 1226-1270, he also left behind great advice on leadership. In time for his August 25 feast, here are 10 quotes from St. Louis.

Dress Well (but Don’t Overdo It)
“Our clothing and our armour ought to be of such a kind that men of mature experience will not say that we have spent too much on them, nor younger men say we have spent too little.”

Show No Partiality
“In order to deal justly and equitably with your subjects, be straightforward and firm, turning neither to the right hand nor to the left, but always following what is just, and upholding the cause of the poor till the truth be made clear.”

Virtue, Not Country, First
“I would rather have a Scot come from Scotland to govern the people of this kingdom well and justly than that you should govern them ill in the sight of all the world.”

Lead in Conversations
“Let no one be so bold as to say, in your presence, words which attract and lead to sin, and do not permit words of detraction to be spoken of another behind his back.”

Good Leaders Have Good Confessors
“I advise you that you accustom yourself to frequent confession, and that you choose always, as your confessors, men who are upright and sufficiently learned, and who can teach you what you should do and what you should avoid.”

Honor Families
When King Louis IX was urged to execute the son of a rebel, he refused, saying: “A son cannot refuse to obey his father.”

Put the Poor First
“Always side with the poor rather than with the rich, until you are certain of the truth.”

Mortal Sin vs. Leprosy
An advisor once admitted to King Louis IX that he would rather commit a mortal sin than have leprosy. “When a man dies,” said the king, “he is healed of leprosy in his body; but not so for the soul of a man who has committed a mortal sin dies.”

Duty to Subjects
“If you have anything that belongs to another, whether by your own act or the act of your predecessors, and the matter is certain, make restitution without delay. If the matter is doubtful, cause inquiry to be made by wise men diligently and promptly.”

Everything Comes from God
“If God send you adversity, receive it in patience and give thanks to our savior and be certain that you deserved it, and that he will make it turn to thine advantage. If he sends you prosperity, then thank him humbly, so that you do not become worse from pride. We must not fight against God with his own gifts.”

Image: Larry Johnson – Flickr: Basilique du Sacré-Cœur, Paris


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Aaron Lopez