New Orleans - French Quarter: St. Louis Cathedral - The Life of Saint Louis IX Stained Glass
Louis was a devout Catholic, and he built the Sainte-Chapelle ("Holy Chapel"), located within the royal palace complex (now the Paris Hall of Justice), on the Île de la Cité in the centre of Paris. The Sainte Chapelle, a perfect example of the Rayonnant style of Gothic architecture, was erected as a shrine for the Crown of Thorns and a fragment of the True Cross, precious relics of the Passion of Jesus. Louis purchased these in 1239–41 from Emperor Baldwin II of the Latin Empire of Constantinople, for the exorbitant sum of 135,000 livres (the chapel, on the other hand, cost only 60,000 livres to build).
Louis IX took very seriously his mission as "lieutenant of God on Earth", with which he had been invested when he was crowned in Rheims. He practiced an interior life that was highly austere despite his rank and station in life as a King of great power. It was discovered after his death that he wore a heavy hairshirt and a cilice. These can be seen today at Notre-Dame Cathedral in France.
During his second crusade, Louis died at Tunis, 25 August 1270, and was succeeded by his son, Philip III. Louis was traditionally believed to have died from bubonic plague but the cause is thought by modern scholars to have been dysentery. The Bubonic Plague did not strike Europe until 1348, so the likelihood of him contracting and ultimately dying from the Bubonic Plague was very slim.
Christian tradition states that some of his entrails were buried directly on the spot in Tunisia, where a Tomb of Saint-Louis can still be visited today, whereas other parts of his entrails were sealed in an urn and placed in the Basilica of Monreale, Palermo, where they still remain. His corpse was taken, after a short stay at the Basilica of Saint Dominic in Bologna, to the French royal necropolis at Saint-Denis, resting in Lyon on the way. His tomb at Saint-Denis was a magnificent gilt brass monument designed in the late 14th century. It was melted down during the French Wars of Religion, at which time the body of the king disappeared. Only one finger was rescued and is kept at Saint-Denis.