SAINT OF THE MONTH FOR OCTOBER
ST FRANCIS OF ASSISI
Francis was born in Assisi and given the name Giovanni Francesco Bernadone. His father was a wealthy merchant and liked French culture which is why he was given Francesco as his second name. Born into a wealthy family, Francis lived a life of luxury and wasted time on the trivial things of life. As a young teen he joined the military and fought a battle against Perugia, a nearby city of Assisi. He was taken prisoner for a year and when he returned he spent a further year convalescing. It was during this time that Francis’ life was transformed. He experienced many visions and one whilst at San Damiano just outside Assisi. While he was praying there, he heard Christ speak to him from the crucifix, "Francis, repair my church." Francis wrongly interpreted this as Christ asking him to rebuild the building rather than the universal church that was suffering from inside scandal and outside heresies.
Francis began to preach about returning to the ways of God and obedience to the Church and he attracted followers. He told them their rule was to take up the cross renounce all material possessions. Francis also found companionship from nature and felt that all of God’s creations were part of his brotherhood. Francis continued his mission living a life for and with the poor. His desire was to begin a new order, the Brotherhood of Poverty and he went to Rome in 1210 to ask Pope Innocent III to give him the permission to do so.
In 1212, a young woman called Clare, living in Assisi became moved by Francis’ preaching at the Church of St. George. She begged to be allowed to embrace the lifestyle. At the age of eighteen, and in secret, Clare went to the Porziuncola with two companions. Francis cut off their hair and they were clothed in a habit and accepted a life of poverty. Francis found a place for the pious daughters very close to San Damiano which became the first monastery of the Second Franciscan Order of Poor Ladies, now known as the Poor Clares.
Francis suffered greatly physically as a result of his lifestyle. Francis prayed fervently to share in Christ’s suffering and received the stigmata, the wounds of Christ on the cross. Francis’ final years were filled with suffering. While praying at La Verna to ask a share in the passion of Christ, Francis had a vision and received the stigmata, the wounds of Christ on the cross. Near the end of his life he wrote the famous Canticle of the Sun. Francis died, reputedly saying “Welcome Sister Death” on 04 October 1226 at the age of 45 and he was canonised only two years later in 1228. He is considered to be the founder of the Franciscan Order and his feast day is 04 October.
St Francis of Assisi, pray for us
THE CANTICLE OF THE SUN
(also known as Canticle of the Creatures)
Most High, all-powerful, all good Lord, All praise be yours, my Lord, through Brother Fire,
all praise is yours, all glory, through whom you brighten up the night.
all honour, and all blessing. How beautiful is he, how playful!
To you, alone, Most High, do they belong, full of power and strength
and no mortal lips are worthy to pronounce your name. All praise be yours, my Lord, through Sister Earth,
All praise be yours, my Lord, our mother, who feeds us in her sovereignty,
through all that you have made, and produces various fruits with coloured flowers and herbs.
and first my Lord Brother Sun, who brings the day; All praise be yours, my Lord,
and light you give to us through him. through those who grant pardon for love of you;
How beautiful is he how radiant in all his splendour! through those who endure sickness and trial.
Of you, Most High, he bears the likeness. Happy are those who endure in peace,
All Praise be yours, my Lord, by you, Most High, they will be crowned.
through Sister Moon and Stars; All praise be yours, my Lord, through Sister Death,
in the heavens you have made them, from whom no one among the living can escape.
bright, and precious, and fair. Woe to those who die in mortal sin!
All praise be yours, my Lord, Happy those She finds doing your will!
through Brothers Wind and Air, The second death can do them no harm.
and fair and stormy, all the weather's moods, Praise and bless my Lord, and give him thanks
by which you cherish all that you have made. And serve him with great humility.
All praise be yours, my Lord, through Sister Water,
so useful, lowly, precious and pure.