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St. Francis of Assisi


St. Francis of Assisi I have been all things unholy. If God can work through me, he can work through anyone. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: St. Francis of Assisi

St. Francis of Assisi
  • I have been all things unholy. If God can work
    through me, he can work through anyone.

  • Founder of the Franciscan Order
  • Born at Assisi in Italy (Umbria) circa 1181-1182
  • Died there, 3 October, 1226

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  • Giotto 1267-1337
  • Approval of Rule of Francis
  • Basilica of St. Francis, Assisi

  • Father Pietro Bernardone, wealthy cloth
  • Francis was one of several children.
  • At Baptism in the Church of San Ruffino (Patron
    Saint of Assisi), he received the name of
    Giovanni, which his father afterwards altered to

  • San Ruffino
  • Assisi
  • Architectural Style Romanesque

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  • Francis showed little liking for a merchant's
    career. He was spoiled by his parents
  • No one loved pleasure more than Francis witty,
    sang merrily, wore fine clothes, and enjoyed
    showy display.
  • Very popular among the young nobles
  • A party animal, Francis showed a sympathy with
    the poor and gave much to charity

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  • At about 20, Francis went to war with the
    Perugians . Assisi was defeated and Francis was
    taken prisoner for more than a year
  • A fever which he received turned his thoughts to
    the things divine he saw an emptiness to the
    life he had been leading
  • When healthy his eagerness after glory reawakened
    and his fancy wandered in search of victories

  • If you have men who will exclude any of God's
    creatures from the shelter of compassion and
    pity, you will have men who will deal likewise
    with their fellow men.

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  • He yearned for the life of the Spirit
  • His friends asked him if he would get married and
    he said "Yes, I am about to take a wife of
    surpassing fairness."
  • She was no other than Lady Poverty whom even now
    he had begun to love
  • After a period of uncertainty he began to seek in
    prayer and solitude the answer to his call

  • One day Francis drew near a leper that filled him
    with disgust
  • he dismounted, embraced the leper, and gave him
    all the money he had.
  • Made a pilgrimage to Rome and was pained at the
    cheap offerings he saw at the tomb of St Peter
    and emptied his purse
  • Exchanged clothes with a beggar stood for the
    rest of the day fasting among the beggars at the
    door of the basilica

St. Peters Basilica in St. Francis Time
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  • Not long after, while Francis was praying before
    an ancient crucifix in the chapel of St. Damian's
  • he heard a voice saying Go, Francis, and repair
    my house, which as you see is falling into ruin."
    He took the command literally
  • Gave wealth to the priest in charge of the church
  • His father, a miserly man was angry at his son's
    conduct, and to avert his fathers wrath, Francis
    hid himself in a cave near St. Damian's for a
  • When he returned to the town, emaciated with
    hunger and squalid with dirt, Francis was
    followed by a hooting rabble, pelted with mud and
    stones, and otherwise mocked as a nut
  • he was dragged home by his father, beaten, bound,
    and locked in a dark closet.

San Damiano, Assisi
  • San Damiano, Assisi
  • Replica of Cross
  • Cross to which Francis was praying is housed in
    Santa Clara

San Damiano Cross
  • Freed by his mother, Francis returned to St.
    Damian's, where he found shelter renounced his
    inheritance and family ties
  • He stripped himself of the clothes he wore, and
    gave them to his father saying "Hitherto I
    have called you my father on earth henceforth I
    desire to say only Our father who art in heaven
  • surrender of all worldly goods and honors
  • Francis wandered into the hills improvising
  • Returning to Assisi, he traversed the city
    begging stones for the restoration of St.

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  • Francis restored two other deserted chapels St.
    Peter's, some distance from the city, and St.
    Mary of the Angels.
  • Meantime he redoubled his zeal in works of
    charity more so in nursing lepers

Portiuncula and St. Marys
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  • In 1208, probably 2/24, Francis was hearing Mass
    in the chapel of St. Mary of the Angels, near
    which he had then built himself a hut
  • The Gospel told how the disciples of Christ were
    to possess neither gold, silver, scrip for their
    journey, nor two coats, nor shoes, nor a staff,
    and exhort sinners to repentance announce the
    Kingdom of God
  • Again he took these words as if spoken directly
    to himself, and threw away the poor fragment left
    him of the worlds goods--shoes, cloak, pilgrim
    staff, and empty wallet.
  • At last he had found his vocation

  • Obtaining a coarse woolen tunic of "beast color",
    the dress then worn by the poorest peasants, he
    tied it round him with a knotted rope,
  • Francis went forth at once exhorting the people
    of the country-side to penance, brotherly love,
    and peace.
  • Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace. Where
    there is hatred, let me sow love.

  • The people had ceased to scoff at Francis they
    now paused in wonderment
  • his example even drew others to him. First three
    being Bernard, Peter, Giles
  • In a spirit of religious fervor, Francis repaired
    to the church of St. Nicholas and sought to learn
    Gods will by thrice opening at random the book
    of the Gospels.
  • Each time it opened at passages where Christ told
    his disciples to leave all things and follow Him.
    "This shall be our rule of life", exclaimed
  • After this they procured rough habits like that
    of Francis, and built themselves small huts near
    his at the Little Portion (Porziuncola)

Is religious life habit forming???
Franciscan Habit
  • The Franciscan habit is a simple long gown
    (brown, black, or grey) with a detached capuch
    (hood) and a white, knotted wool cord.
  • The cord has three knots symbolizing the three
    religious vows of Poverty Chastity and Obedience.

  • When the number of his companions had increased
    to eleven, Francis found it expedient to draw up
    a written rule for them.
  • This first rule of the Friars Minor has not come
    down to us in its original form, but it appears
    to have been very short and simple, a mere
    adaptation of the Gospel precepts already
    selected by Francis for the guidance of his first
    companions, and which he desired to practice in
    all their perfection

If God can work through me, he can work through
  • Francis and his followers set out for Rome to
    seek the approval of the Holy See (vatican)
  • It seems that Guido, Bishop of Assisi, who was in
    Rome, sent Francis to Cardinal John of St. Paul,
    and that at the instance of the latter, the pope
    recalled Francis whose first overtures he had
  • It is said innocent was moved by a dream in which
    he beheld the Poor Man of Assisi upholding the
    tottering Lateran basilica and then gave a verbal
    sanction to the rule submitted by Francis and
    granted him and his followers leave to preach
    repentence everywhere.
  • Before leaving, they all received the tonsure,
  • Francis himself being ordained deacon later

  • Dream of innocent III
  • Basilica of St. Francis
  • Giotto

  • The followers adopted the Roman Rite as their
    mass which would become the predominant Catholic
  • The Friars Minor -- for thus Francis had named
    his brethren, either after the minores, or lower
    classes, as some think, or as others believe,
    with reference to the Gospel (Matthew 2540-45)
    and as a perpetual reminder of their humility

Mt.2540-45, the Last Judgement
  • And the king will say to them in reply, 'Amen, I
    say to you, whatever you did for one of these
    least brothers of mine, you did for me.' Then he
    will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me,
    you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for
    the devil and his angels. I was hungry and you
    gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no
    drink, a stranger and you gave me no welcome,
    naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in
    prison, and you did not care for me.' Then they
    will answer and say, 'Lord, when did we see you
    hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill
    or in prison, and not minister to your needs?' He
    will answer them, 'Amen, I say to you, what you
    did not do for one of these least ones, you did
    not do for me.'

While you are proclaiming peace with your lips,
be careful to have it even more fully in your
  • During Lent of 1212, Clare came to Francis.
  • Clare, a young heiress of Assisi, moved by the
    saints preaching, sought him out, and begged to
    be allowed to embrace the new manner of life he
    had founded.
  • By his advice, Clare, who was then 18, left her
    home on the night following Palm Sunday, and with
    two companions went to the Porziuncola, where the
    friars met her in procession, carrying lighted
  • Then Francis, having cut off her hair, clothed
    her in the Minorite habit and thus received her
    to a life of poverty, penance, and seclusion.
  • until Francis could provide a suitable retreat
    for her, and for St. Agnes, her sister, and the
    other pious women who had joined her, he
    eventually established them at St. Damian's
  • Francis eventually established the sisters at St.
    Damian's, and which thus became the first
    monastery of the Second Franciscan Order of Poor
    Ladies, now known as Poor Clares

St. Clares, Assisi
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  • About 1213 Francis received from Count Orlando of
    Chiusi the mountain of La Verna, rising some 4000
    feet above the valley of the Casentino, as a
  • "especially favourable for contemplation", to
    which he might retire from time to time for
    prayer and rest.
  • For Francis never altogether separated the
    contemplative from the active life

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  • 1217-18 he visited Rome and was apparently the
    occasion of Francis's meeting with St. Dominic
  • The year 1218 Francis devoted to missionary tours
    in Italy
  • He usually preached out of doors, in the
    market-places, from church steps, from the walls
    of castle court-yards.
  • Allured by the spell of his presence, crowds,
    unused to preaching in the vernacular, followed
    Francis from place to place church bells rang at
    his approach processions of clergy and people
    went to meet him with music and singing they
    brought the sick to him to bless and heal, and
    kissed the very ground on which he trod, and even
    sought to cut away pieces of his tunic

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  • While preaching at Camara, a small village near
    Assisi, the congregation was so moved by his
    "words of spirit and life" that they presented
    themselves to him in a body and begged to be
    admitted into his order.
  • To say yes to such requests, Francis devised his
    Third Order of the Brothers and Sisters of
    Penance, which he intended as a sort of middle
    state between the world and the cloister
  • Francis prescribed particular duties for these
    tertiaries not to carry arms, or take oaths, or
    engage in lawsuits, etc.
  • It is also said that he drew up a formal rule for
    them, it is customary to assign 1221 as the year
    of the foundation of this third order

  • During Christmas (1223) Francis conceived the
    idea of celebrating the Nativity "in a new
  • he has thus come to be regarded as having
    inaugurated the devotion of the Crèche
  • Christmas appears indeed to have been the
    favorite feast of Francis, and he wished to
    persuade the emperor to make a special law that
    people should provide well for the birds and
    beasts, as well as for the poor, so that all
    might have occasion to rejoice in the Lord

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  • Where there is charity and wisdom, there is
    neither fear nor ignorance

  • In August, 1224, Francis retired with three
    companions to La Verna to keep a forty days fast
  • During this retreat the sufferings of Christ
    became more than ever the burden of his
  • In effect, he received the stigmata

  • It was on or about the feast of the Exaltation of
    the Cross (14 September) while praying on the
    mountainside, that he beheld the marvellous
    vision of the seraph, as a sequel of which there
    appeared on his body the stigmata, the five
    wounds of Christ.
  • After the reception of the stigmata, Francis
    suffered increasing pains throughout his frail
    body, already broken by continual mortification.

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  • Sept 1225
  • Francis paid a last visit to St. Clare and it was
    in a little hut of reeds, made for him in the
    garden there, that the saint composed that
    "Canticle of the Sun", in which his poetic genius
    expands itself so gloriously.

Canticle of the Sun
  • Most High, all-powerful, all-good Lord, All
    praise is Yours, all glory, honor and
    blessings. To you alone, Most High, do they
    belong  no mortal lips are worthy to pronounce
    Your Name.
  •  We praise You, Lord, for all Your
    creatures, especially for Brother Sun, who is the
    day through whom You give us light. And he is
    beautiful and radiant with great splendor, of You
    Most High, he bears your likeness.
  • We praise You, Lord, for Sister Moon and the
    stars, in the heavens you have made them bright,
    precious and fair.
  • We praise You, Lord, for Brothers Wind and
    Air,  fair and stormy, all weather's moods, by
    which You cherish all that You have made.

  • We praise You, Lord, for Sister Water, so useful,
    humble, precious and pure.
  • We praise You, Lord, for Brother Fire, through
    whom You light the night.  He is beautiful,
    playful, robust, and strong.
  • We praise You, Lord, for Sister Earth,  who
    sustains us with her fruits, colored flowers, and
  • We praise You, Lord, for those who pardon, for
    love of You bear sickness and trial. Blessed are
    those who endure in peace, by You Most High, they
    will be crowned.

  • We praise You, Lord, for Sister Death, from whom
    no-one living can escape. Woe to those who die in
    their sins! Blessed are those that She finds
    doing Your Will. No second death can do them
  • We praise and bless You, Lord, and give You
    thanks, and serve You in all humility.

1226 AD
  • Ina dying condition, Francis returned to Assisi
  • In the early autumn Francis, feeling the hand of
    death upon him, was carried to his beloved Little
    Portion (Porziuncola) that he might breathe his
    last sigh where his vocation had been revealed to
  • His last days were passed at the Porziuncola in a
    tiny hut, near the chapel, that served as an

  • "I have done my part, may Christ teach you to do

  • On the eve of his death, Francis, in imitation of
    Christ, had bread brought to him and broken.
  • This he distributed among those present, blessing
    Bernard, his first companion, Elias, and all the
    others in order.
  • "I have done my part," he said next, "may Christ
    teach you to do yours."

  • Wishing to give a last token of detachment and to
    show he no longer had anything in common with the
    world, Francis removed his habit and lay down on
    the bare ground, covered with a borrowed cloth,
    rejoicing that he was able to keep faith with his
    Lady Poverty to the end.
  • After a while he asked to have read to him the
    Passion from the Gospel of John, and then in
    faltering tones he himself intoned Psalm 141.
  • At the concluding verse, "Bring my soul out of
    prison", he was led away from earth by "Sister
  • It was Saturday evening, 3 October, 1226, Francis
    being then in the forty-fifth year of his age,
    and the twentieth from his perfect conversion to

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  • Francis had, in his humilty, it is said,
    expressed a wish to be buried on the Colle
    d'Inferno, a hill where criminals were executed
    and lepers buried.
  • His body was, on October 4th, born in triumphant
    procession to the city, a halt being made at St.
    Damian's, that St. Clare and her companions might
    venerate the stigmata, now visible to all.

  • Francis was canonized at St. George's by Gregory
    IX on July 16, 1228.
  • The next day, the pope laid the first stone of
    the great double church of St. Francis, erected
    in honor of St. Francis.

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Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary
use words