Francis Ignatius Vincent Peis was born in 1701, the second of seven children. He was named for St. Francis of Assisi, to whom his mother prayed during her difficult pregnancy. She promised St. Francis that her son would join the Capuchins as an adult.
In his childhood, Francis worked hard and lived piously. He was often found praying, and was known to wait in front of the church doors every morning, praying, until they were opened.
Francis wanted to join the Capuchins as a teenager, but his father forbade him, because their family needed his labor on the farm to survive. But after Francis survived a riding accident through the grace of God when he was 20, he entered the monastery at once, and took his vows a year later. Francis took his second name, Ignatius, as his religious name.
In his first 15 years as a Capuchin, Ignatius did menial work in the monastery. For the last 40 years of his life, he was appointed questor, the monastery’s official beggar. He traveled around town collecting food and donations for the friars.
Ignatius was well-loved by the poor and by children, and he often was given alms from those who had barely enough for themselves. He refused to take anything from the very poor, telling them it was better for them to keep it and take care of themselves.
On his rounds every day, Ignatius took care of the sick and the street children. Many miracles of healing were said to have occurred through his intercession.
St. Ignatius died in 1781, and was canonized in 1951 by Pope Pius XII.