Monday, October 4, 2010

Happy Feast day of Saint Francis of Assisi

Saint Francis of Assisi you are truly one of my favorite saints in the Catholic Church, I honor you inspiration and faith, you are the brother of Jesus,hapopy feast day today, thank you for the guidance!

A fresco by Giotto depicts Pope Innocent III giving approval to the first Franciscan rule and blessing St. Francis and his followers during their visit to Rome in 1209-1210. The fresco is located on the upper church of the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi, Italy.

Saint Francis of Assisi (Giovanni Francesco di Bernardone; 1181/1182 – October 3, 1226) was a Catholic deacon and preacher. He also was the founder of the Order of Friars Minor, more commonly known as the Franciscans.

He is known as the patron saint of animals, the environment and one of the two patrons of Italy (with Catherine of Siena), and it is customary for Anglican and Roman Catholic churches to hold ceremonies blessing animals on his feast day on this day, October 4.

Founding of the Order of Friars Minor
At the end of this period (on February 24, 1209, according to Jordan of Giano), Francis heard a sermon that changed his life. The sermon was about Matthew 10:9, in which Christ tells his followers they should go forth and proclaim that the Kingdom of Heaven was upon them, that they should take no money with them, nor even a walking stick or shoes for the road. Francis was inspired to devote himself to a life of poverty.

Clad in a rough garment, barefoot, and, after the Evangelical precept, without staff or scrip, he began to preach repentance. He was soon joined by his first follower, a prominent fellow townsman, the jurist Bernardo di Quintavalle, who contributed all that he had to the work. Within a year Francis had eleven followers. Francis chose never to be ordained a priest and the community lived as "lesser brothers," fratres minores in Latin.

The brothers lived a simple life in the deserted lazar house of Rivo Torto near Assisi; but they spent much of their time wandering through the mountainous districts of Umbria, always cheerful and full of songs, yet making a deep impression upon their hearers by their earnest exhortations.

In 1209, Francis led his first eleven followers to Rome to seek permission from Pope Innocent III to found a new religious order.[9] Upon entry to Rome, the brothers encountered Bishop Guido of Assisi, who had in his company Giovanni di San Paolo, the Cardinal Bishop of Sabina. The Cardinal, who was the confessor of Pope Innocent III, was immediately sympathetic to Francis and agreed to represent Francis to the pope. Reluctantly, Pope Innocent agreed to meet with Francis and the brothers the next day. After several days, the pope agreed to admit the group informally, adding that when God increased the group in grace and number, they could return for an official admittance. The group was tonsured.

Later life

Pope Innocent III has a dream of St. Francis of Assisi supporting the tilting church (attributed to Giotto)From then on, his new order grew quickly with new vocations. When hearing Francis preaching in the church of San Rufino in Assisi in 1209, Clare of Assisi became deeply touched by his message and she realized her calling. Her brother Rufino also joined the new order.

On Palm Sunday, March 28, 1211 Francis received Clare at the Porziuncola and hereby established the Order of Poor Ladies, later called Poor Clares. In the same year, Francis left for Jerusalem, but he was shipwrecked by a storm on the Dalmatian coast, forcing him to return to Italy.

On May 8, 1213 he was given the use of the mountain of La Verna (Alverna) as a gift from the count Orlando di Chiusi who described it as “eminently suitable for whoever wishes to do penance in a place remote from mankind.” The mountain would become one of his favorite retreats for prayer.

In the same year, Francis sailed for Morocco, but this time an illness forced him to break off his journey in Spain. Back in Assisi, several noblemen (among them Tommaso da Celano, who would later write the biography of St. Francis) and some well-educated men joined his order.

In 1215 Francis went again to Rome for the Fourth Lateran Council. During this time, he probably met Dominic de Guzman (later to be Saint Dominic, the founder of the Friars Preachers, another Catholic religious order).

In 1217 the growing congregation of friars was divided into provinces and groups were sent to France, Germany, Hungary, Spain and to the East.

St. Francis before the Sultan — the trial by fire (fresco attributed to Giotto)In 1219 Francis left, together with a few companions, on a pilgrimage to Egypt. Crossing the lines between the sultan and the Crusaders in Damietta, he was received by the sultan Melek-el-Kamel.[1][14] Francis challenged the Muslim scholars to a test of true religion by fire; but they retreated.[1] When Francis proposed to enter the fire first, under the condition that if he left the fire unharmed, the sultan would have to recognize Christ as the true God, the sultan was so impressed that he allowed Francis to preach to his subjects.[1][15] Though Francis did not succeed in converting the sultan, the last words of the sultan to Francis of Assisi were, according to Jacques de Vitry, bishop of Acre, in his book "Historia occidentalis, De Ordine et praedicatione Fratrum Minorum (1221)" : “Pray for me that God may deign to reveal to me that law and faith which is most pleasing to him.”

Francis's visit to Egypt and attempted rapprochement with the Muslim world had far-reaching consequences, long past his own death, since after the fall of the Crusader Kingdom it would be the Franciscans, of all Catholics, who would be allowed to stay on in the Holy Land and be recognised as "Custodians of the Holy Land" on behalf of Christianity.

Saint Francis of Assisi with the Sultan al-Kamil (15th century)At Acre, the capital of what remained of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, Francis rejoined the Order's brothers Elia and Pietro Cattini, and then most probably visited the holy places in Palestine in 1220.

Although nativity drawings and paintings existed earlier, St Francis of Assisi celebrated Christmas by setting up the first known three-dimensional presepio or crèche (Nativity scene) in the town of Greccio near Assisi, around 1220.[17] He used real animals to create a living scene so that the worshipers could contemplate the birth of the child Jesus in a direct way, making use of the senses, especially sight.[17] Thomas of Celano, a biographer of Francis and Saint Bonaventure both, tell how he only used a straw-filled manger (feeding trough) set between a real ox and donkey.[17] According to Thomas, it was beautiful in its simplicity with the manger acting as the altar for the Christmas Mass.

When receiving a report of the martyrdom of five brothers in Morocco, Francis returned to Italy via Venice. Cardinal Ugolino di Conti was then nominated by the Pope as the protector of the Order. On September 29, 1220, Francis handed over the governance of the Order to brother Pietro Catani at the Porziuncola. However, Brother Pietro died only five months later, on March 10, 1221, and was buried in the Porziuncola. When numerous miracles were attributed to the late Pietro Catani, people started to flock to the Porziuncola, disturbing the daily life of the Franciscans. Francis then prayed, asking Pietro to stop the miracles and obey in death as he had obeyed during his life. The report of miracles ceased. Brother Pietro was succeeded by Brother Elias as Vicar of Francis.

During 1221 and 1222 Francis crossed Italy, first as far south as Catania in Sicily and afterwards as far north as Bologna.

On November 29, 1223 the final Rule of the Order (in twelve chapters) was approved by Pope Honorius III.

St. Francis receives the Stigmata (fresco attributed to Giotto)While he was praying on the mountain of Verna, during a forty-day fast in preparation for Michaelmas (September 29), Francis is said to have had a vision on or about September 14, 1224, the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, as a result of which he received the stigmata.[19] Brother Leo, who had been with Francis at the time, left a clear and simple account of the event, the first definite account of the phenomenon of stigmata.[2][19] "Suddenly he saw a vision of a seraph, a six-winged angel on a cross. This angel gave him the gift of the five wounds of Christ."

Suffering from these stigmata and from an eye disease, Francis received care in several cities (Siena, Cortona, Nocera) to no avail. In the end, he was brought back to a hut next to the Porziuncola. Here, in the place where it all began, feeling the end approaching, he spent the last days of his life dictating his spiritual testament. He died on the evening of October 3, 1226, singing Psalm 141.

On July 16, 1228, he was pronounced a saint by Pope Gregory IX (the former cardinal Ugolino di Conti, friend of St Francis and Cardinal Protector of the Order). The next day, the Pope laid the foundation stone for the Basilica of Saint Francis in Assisi.

He was buried on May 25, 1230, under the Lower Basilica. His burial place remained inaccessible until it was reopened in 1818. Pasquale Belli then constructed for his remains a crypt in neo-classical style in the Lower Basilica. It was refashioned between 1927 and 1930 into its present form by Ugo Tarchi, stripping the wall of its marble decorations. In 1978 the remains of St. Francis were identified by a commission of scholars appointed by Pope Paul VI, and put in a glass urn in the ancient stone tomb.

Saint Francis is considered the first Italian poet by literary critics. He believed commoners should be able to pray to God in their own language, and he wrote often in the dialect of Umbria instead of Latin. His writings are considered to have great literary value, as well as religious.

Feast day
Saint Francis's feast day is observed on October 4. A secondary feast in honor of the stigmata received by St Francis, celebrated on September 17, was inserted in the General Roman Calendar in 1585 (later than the Tridentine Calendar) and suppressed in 1604, but was restored in 1615 and remained in that calendar until 1969, when, as something of a duplication of the main feast on October 4, it was removed from the General Calendar and left to the calendars of certain localities and of the Franciscan Order. Some traditionalist Catholics still observe calendars of the 1615-1969 period.

On June 18, 1939, Pope Pius XII named Francis a joint Patron Saint of Italy along with Saint Catherine of Siena with the apostolic letter "Licet Commissa", AAS XXXI (1939), 256-257. Pius XII also mentioned the two saints in the laudative discourse he pronounced on May 5, 1949 in the Santa Maria sopra Minerva church.

St. Francis also is honored in the Church of England, Liberal Catholic Church and in the Episcopal Church (USA) on October 4.

Nature and the environment

A garden statue of Francis of Assisi with birdsMany of the stories that surround the life of St. Francis deal with his love for animals.

Perhaps the most famous incident that illustrates the Saint's humility towards nature is recounted in the "Fioretti" ("Little Flowers"), a collection of legends and folklore that sprang up after the Saint's death. It is said that, one day, while Francis was traveling with some companions, they happened upon a place in the road where birds filled the trees on either side. Francis told his companions to "wait for me while I go to preach to my sisters the birds". The birds surrounded him, drawn by the power of his voice, and not one of them flew away. Francis spoke to them:

My sister birds, you owe much to God, and you must always and in everyplace give praise to Him; for He has given you freedom to wing through the sky and He has clothed you... you neither sow nor reap, and God feeds you and gives you rivers and fountains for your thirst, and mountains and valleys for shelter, and tall trees for your nests. And although you neither know how to spin or weave, God dresses you and your children, for the Creator loves you greatly and He blesses you abundantly. Therefore... always seek to praise God.

Wolf of Gubbio
Another legend from the Fioretti tells that in the city of Gubbio, where Francis lived for some time, was a wolf "terrifying and ferocious, who devoured men as well as animals". Francis had compassion upon the townsfolk, and went up into the hills to find the wolf. Soon, fear of the animal had caused all his companions to flee, though the saint pressed on. When he found the wolf, he made the sign of the cross and commanded the wolf to come to him and hurt no one. Miraculously the wolf closed his jaws and lay down at the feet of St. Francis. "Brother Wolf, you do much harm in these parts and you have done great evil...", said Francis. "All these people accuse you and curse you... But brother wolf, I would like to make peace between you and the people". Then Francis led the wolf into the town, and surrounded by startled citizens made a pact between them and the wolf. Because the wolf had “done evil out of hunger”, the townsfolk were to feed the wolf regularly, and in return, the wolf would no longer prey upon them or their flocks. In this manner Gubbio was freed from the menace of the predator. Francis, ever the lover of animals, even made a pact on behalf of the town dogs, that they would not bother the wolf again. It is also said that Francis, to show the townspeople that they would not be harmed, blessed the wolf.

These legends exemplify the Franciscan mode of charity and poverty as well as the saint's love of the natural world.

Part of his appreciation of the environment is expressed in his Canticle of the Sun, a poem written in Umbrian Italian in perhaps 1224 which expresses a love and appreciation of Brother Sun, Sister Moon, Mother Earth, Brother Fire, etc. and all of God's creations personified in their fundamental forms. In "Canticle of the Creatures," he wrote: "All praise to you, Oh Lord, for all these brother and sister creatures."

Francis's attitude towards the natural world, while poetically expressed, was conventionally Christian.

He believed that the world was created good and beautiful by God but suffers a need for redemption because of the primordial sin of man. He preached to man and beast the universal ability and duty of all creatures to praise God (a common theme in the Psalms) and the duty of men to protect and enjoy nature as both the stewards of God's creation and as creatures ourselves.

Legend has it that St. Francis on his deathbed thanked his donkey for carrying and helping him throughout his life, and his donkey wept.

The Flowers of St. Francis, a 1950 film directed by Roberto Rossellini and co-written by Federico Fellini
Francis of Assisi, a 1961 film directed by Michael Curtiz, based on the novel The Joyful Beggar by Louis de Wohl
Brother Sun, Sister Moon, a 1972 film by Franco Zeffirelli
Francesco, a 1989 film by Liliana Cavani, contemplatively paced, follows Francis of Assisi's evolution from rich man's son to religious humanitarian and eventually to full-fledged self-tortured saint. This movie was inspired by Hermann Hesse's novel Peter Camenzind[citation needed] and Scripta Leonis, Rufini et Angeli, Sociorum S. Francisci: The Writings of Leo, Rufino and Angelo, Companions of St. Francis from which much of the dialogue is taken directly. St. Francis is played by Mickey Rourke, and the woman who later became Saint Clare, is played by Helena Bonham Carter
St Francis, a 2002 film directed by Michele Soavi, starring Raoul Bova and Amélie Daure.
Clare and Francis, a 2007 film directed by Fabrizio Costa, starring Mary Petruolo and Ettore Bassi.
Pranchiyettan and the Saint, a 2010 Malayalam film directed by Renjith, starring Mammootty had its lead character often indulging in fictitious conversation with the Saint.

Sant Francesco (Saint Francis, 1895), a book of forty-three Saint Francis poems by Catalan poet-priest Jacint Verdaguer, three of which are included in English translation in Selected Poems of Jacint Verdaguer: A Bilingual Edition, edited and translated by Ronald Puppo, with an introduction by Ramon Pinyol i Torrents (University of Chicago, 2007). The three poems are "The Turtledoves", "Preaching to Birds" and "The Pilgrim".
Saint Francis of Assisi (1923), a book by G. K. Chesterton
"Blessed Are The Meek(1944 ). a book by Zofia Kossak
"Saint Francis of Assisi" a Doubleday Image Book translated by T. O'Conor Sloane, Ph.D., LL.D. in 1955 from the Danish original researched and written by Johannes Jorgensen and published in 1912 by Longmans, Green and Company, Inc.
Saint Francis (1962), a book by Nikos Kazantzakis
Scripta Leonis, Rufini Et Angeli Sociorum S. Francisci: The Writings of Leo, Rufino and Angelo Companions of St. Francis (1970), edited by Rosalind B. Brooke, in Latin and English, containing testimony recorded by intimate, long-time companions of St. Francis
Saint Francis and His Four Ladies (1970), a book by Joan Mowat Erikson
The Life and Words of St. Francis of Assisi (1973), by Ira Peck
The Life of Saint Francis of Assisi (1996), a book by Patricia Stewart
Reluctant Saint: The Life of Francis of Assisi (2002), a book by Donald Spoto
Flowers for St Francis (2005), a book by Raj Arumugam
Chasing Francis, 2006, a book by Ian Cron
J. Tolan, St. Francis and the Sultan: The Curious History of a Christian-Muslim Encounter. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.

In Rubén Darío's poem "Los Motivos Del Lobo" (The Reasons Of The Wolf) St. Francis tames a terrible wolf only to discover that the human heart harbors darker desires than those of the beast.

St. Francis preaches to the birds (2005), chamber concerto for violin by composer Lewis Nielson
Brother, Sister (2006), third full-length album by indie rock band MewithoutYou, featuring the song "The Sun and Moon"
The song Boy From the Country, by Michael Martin Murphey from the album Geronimo's Cadillac.
Sarah Slean's 2002 album, Night Bugs, contains a song entitled St. Francis.

Main writings
Canticum Fratris Solis or Laudes Creaturarum, Canticle of the Sun.
Prayer before the Crucifix, 1205 (extant in the original Umbrian dialect as well as in a contemporary Latin translation).
Regula non bullata, the Earlier Rule, 1221.
Regula bullata, the Later Rule, 1223.
Testament, 1226.

Saint Francis of Assisi is the patron saint of........
against dying alone
•against fire
•animal welfare societies
•lace makers
•lace workers
•needle workers
•tapestry workers
•Assisi, Italy
•Freising, Germany
•Massa, Italy
•Nambe Indian Pueblo
•Quibdo, Choco, Colombia
•San Pawl il-Bahar, Malta
•Sante Fe, New Mexico
•Sorbo, Italy
•Denver, Colorado, archdiocese of
•Kottapuram, India, diocese of
•Lancaster, England, diocese of
•Metuchen, New Jersey, diocese of
•Salina, Kansas, diocese of
•San Francisco, California, archdiocese of
•Sante Fe, New Mexico, archdiocese of
•Viana, Angola, diocese of
•Catholic Action
•Franciscan Order


Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi

The English version of the prayer reads as follows:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;where there is hatred, let me sow love;where there is injury, pardon:where there is doubt, faith;where there is despair, hopewhere there is darkness, lightwhere there is sadness, joyO Divine Master,grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;to be understood, as to understand;to be loved, as to love;for it is in giving that we receive,it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.Amen.

ASSISI, Italy — Brown-, gray- and black-hooded robes rustled, knotted white cords swung rhythmically, and sandaled feet crunched gravel.

A fresco by Giotto depicts Pope Innocent III giving approval to the first Franciscan rule and blessing St. Francis and his followers during their visit to Rome in 1209-1210. The fresco is located on the upper church of the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi, Italy.

The soft sounds of labored breathing could also be heard as several hundred Franciscan friars from all over the world wound their way up steep hills, passing wheat fields and olive groves while on a two-hour penitential procession to the tomb of their founder, St. Francis of Assisi.

The processing friars were just some of the 1,800 Friars Minor, Conventual Franciscans, Capuchins and Third Order Regular Franciscans attending an April 15-18 gathering celebrating the 800th anniversary of papal approval of the Franciscan rule. It was the first time that many representatives of the four main Franciscan branches had come together in Assisi.

Participants followed in the footsteps of their founder with many activities centered around or near the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels, which houses the Portiuncula chapel — the small church where St. Francis experienced his conversion.

On April 18, participants traveled south for a special audience with Pope Benedict XVI. The trip recalled St. Francis’ pilgrimage to see Pope Innocent III in 1209 to receive approval of his rule of life and formally establish the Franciscan order.

Meeting with them in the courtyard of the papal villa in Castel Gandolfo, south of Rome, the pope thanked the world’s Franciscan family for being “a precious gift” to all Christians.

The pope recalled how St. Francis heard God’s voice telling him, “Repair my house,” and he urged today’s Franciscans to continue those efforts of fixing the serious “ruins” in society and mankind.

“Like Francis, always begin with yourself. We are the first homes that God wants restored,” Pope Benedict said. In the spirit of the Gospel, “continue to help the pastors of the Church by rendering her face as the bride of Christ more beautiful.”

Franciscan friars participate in a two-hour penitential procession from the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels to the tomb of St. Francis in Assisi, Italy, April 17.

During an outdoor Eucharistic celebration in Assisi April 17, Brazilian Cardinal Claudio Hummes, a Franciscan who heads the Vatican’s Congregation for Clergy, underlined the importance of the Franciscan charism of fraternity, communion and living the evangelical ideal of poverty.

“To live evangelical poverty in a world that is increasingly dazzled and enslaved by money and to live with love and solidarity toward the poor — toward every single poor person — must be one of the most important and significant contributions the Franciscan friars make” in bearing witness to Christ in today’s world, Cardinal Hummes said in his homily.

Cardinal Franc Rode, prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, echoed the importance of living as humble and poor children of God as personified by St. Francis.

Being a living witness to humility and poverty is a sign of having been freed by God from the thirst for power and possessions, he said in his homily April 16, adding that this liberating message must be shared with others so that everyone may have the possibility of receiving eternal life.

Technology and scientific advancements have done so much to benefit mankind, but “on the downside it’s turned humanity in upon itself, thinking that we are the masters and controllers” who can also shut out God’s existence, said Franciscan Father Bob Mokry, who served as provincial of the Franciscans in western Canada, 2001-2007.

Merely celebrating one’s own human powers and accomplishments at the detriment or expense of one’s spiritual life has left people dissatisfied, he added.

That is one reason the figure of St. Francis is so appealing to people of such a wide variety of backgrounds, not just Christians, but even to people with little or no faith in God, he said.

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