St. Francis of Assisi (1182-1226)

Artist: 
Br. Robert Lentz, OFM

Artist's Narrative:
Francis was a universal person whose love extended across boundaries of class, religion and race. His reverence for everything led him to call animals, plants, and all of creation "brother" and "sister." Animals responded to his respect and love with an amazing docility. As Francis walked across medieval Europe, people caught glimpses of what Eden must have been like.

St. Francis helped reform the Roman Catholic Church in the thirteenth century through his example of personal poverty. He simply lived the Gospel as he took monastic life into the streets. Living among the poor, his example was so compelling that soon he had thousands of followers.

Francis’ great goal was to follow Jesus as closely as possible. Near the end of his life he spent forty days in solitary prayer on Mt. Alverna. During this time he asked Jesus that he might experience, as much as he could, the love, pain, and grief that Jesus had experienced in his passion. In response to his prayer he was given the stigmata -- wounds in his hands, feet and side. The wounds remained, never healing, for the rest of his life.

Before Francis died, he asked his brothers to strip him of his ragged brown robe so that in total poverty he might lie naked on the bare ground. He had lived as God’s troubadour, a bright flame by which others could read the Gospel with fresh insight and vision.

His feast day is October 4.

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