Category Archives: Franciscan saints & blesseds

St Francis of Assisi

st-francisPraised be You, my Lord, through Sister Mother Earth,
who sustains us and governs us and who produces
varied fruits with colored flowers and herbs.

Praised be You, my Lord,
through those who give pardon for Your love,
and bear infirmity and tribulation.

Blessed are those who endure in peace
for by You, Most High, they shall be crowned.

A word about this image:

The fresco on the left is the earliest, and is at the Benedictine abbey of St Scholastica in the Sacro Speco Shrine at Subiaco. It opens a window.

Transitus of St Francis of Assisi

transitus-of-francisThis evening the Franciscans (friars, nuns, sisters, laity) recall in a prayerful manner Holy Father Saint Francis, who passed from this world 790 years ago.

Francis is recalled by his biographer Thomas of Celano:

While therefore the brothers were weeping very bitterly and grieving inconsolably, the holy father commanded that bread be brought to him. He blessed and broke it and gave a small piece of it to each one to eat. Commanding also that a book of the Gospels be brought, he asked that the Gospel according to St. John be read to him from the place that begins: “Before the feast of the Passover.” He was recalling that most holy supper which the Lord celebrated as his last supper with his disciples. He did all of this in reverent memory of that supper, showing thereby the deep love he had for his brothers.

(The Remembrance of the Desire of a Soul by Thomas of Celano, The Second Book, Chapter CLXIII, #217, p. 387.)

The Transitus experience is an expression of the Franciscan order which is rather unique: it is the anniversary of the saint’s death but the uniqueness lies in the question: what does it mean to live the spirit of Francis in our midst today? Or, how is the life and work and spiritual patrimony of Francis as light for our world today?

The Stigmata of St. Francis of Assisi

stigmata-of-francisThe Franciscans mostly observe this event in the life of Saint Francis turned into a feast day of the Stigmata. It is recalled that Francis, in meditation on Mount Alvernia in the Apennines, in September 1224, received a vision of a six winged angel. Francis recalls that he was visited by angel and the Life-saving wounds of the crucified Lord. That is, he was left with wounds in his hands, feet, and side as though he had been crucified. The wound in his side often seeped blood.

Saint Francis and his conversion story, from the beginning, included a very great devotion and veneration for Jesus Christ crucified. He was constant in this aspect of the Paschal Mystery until he died.

Pope Benedict XI gave permission for the Friars to have an annual liturgical commemoration on this day the memory of this extraordinary event attested by reliable witnesses.

St Maximillian Mary Kolbe

Maximilian Kolbe

With the Church we pray:

O God, who filled the Priest and Martyr Saint Maximilian Kolbe with a burning love for the Immaculate Virgin Mary and with zeal for souls and love of neighbor, graciously grant, through his intercession, that, striving for your glory by eagerly serving others, we may be conformed, even until death, to your Son.

An excerpt from a letter by the saint:

Obedience is the one and the only way of wisdom and prudence for us to offer glory to God. If there were another, Christ would certainly have shown it to us by word and example. Scripture, however, summed up his entire life at Nazareth in the words: He was subject to them; Scripture set obedience as the theme of the rest of his life, repeatedly declaring that he came into the world to do his Father’s will. Let us love our loving Father with all our hearts. Let our obedience increase that love, above all when it requires us to surrender our own will. Jesus Christ crucified is our sublime guide toward growth in God’s love.

We will learn this lesson more quickly through the Immaculate Virgin, whom God has made the dispenser of his mercy. It is beyond all doubt that Mary’s will represents to us the will of God himself. By dedicating ourselves to her we become in her hands instruments of God’s mercy even as she was such an instrument in God’s hands. We should let ourselves be guided and led by Mary and rest quiet and secure in her hands. She will watch out for us, provide for us, answer our needs of body and spirit; she will dissolve all our difficulties and worries.

From a letter of Maximillian Mary Kolbe
(Scritti del P. Massimiliano M. Kolbe, Italian translation, vol. I, pt, 1 [Padua, 1971], 75-77, 166)

St Clare of Assisi

St Clare of Assisi relicFrom a letter from Saint Clare of Assisi, virgin, to Saint Agnes of Prague:

Happy indeed is she who is granted a place at the divine banquet, for she may cling with her inmost heart to him whose beauty eternally awes the blessed hosts of heaven; to him whose love inspires love, whose contemplation refreshes, whose generosity satisfies, whose gentleness delights, whose memory shines sweetly as the dawn; to him whose fragrance revives the dead, and whose glorious vision will bless all the citizens of that heavenly Jerusalem. For his is the splendor of eternal glory, the brightness of eternal light, and the mirror without cloud.

Queen and bride of Jesus Christ, look into that mirror daily and study well your reflection, that you may adorn yourself, mind and body, with an enveloping garment of every virtue, and thus find yourself attired in flowers and gowns befitting the daughter and most chaste bride of the king on high. In this mirror blessed poverty, holy humility and ineffable love are also reflected. With the grace of God the whole mirror will be your source of contemplation.

Behold, I say, the birth of this mirror. Behold his poverty even as he was laid in the manger and wrapped in swaddling clothes. What wondrous humility, what marvelous poverty! The King of angels, the Lord of heaven and earth resting in a manger! Look more deeply into the mirror and meditate on his humility, or simply on his poverty. Behold the many labors and sufferings he endured to redeem the human race. Then, in the depths of this very mirror, ponder his unspeakable love which caused him to suffer on the wood of the cross and to endure the most shameful kind of death. The mirror himself, from his position on the cross, warned passersby to weigh carefully this act, as he said: All of you who pass by this way, behold and see if there is any sorrow like mine. Let us answer his cries and lamentations with one voice and one spirit: I will be mindful and remember, and my soul will be consumed within me. In this way, queen of the king of heaven, your love will burn with an ever brighter flame.

Consider also his indescribable delights, his unending riches and honors, and sigh for what is beyond your love and heart’s content as you cry out: Draw me on! We will run after you in the perfume of your ointment, heavenly spouse. Let me run and not faint until you lead me into your wine cellar; your left hand rests under my head, your right arm joyfully embraces me, and you kiss me with the sweet kiss of your lips. As you rest in this state of contemplation, remember your poor mother and know that I have indelibly written your happy memory into my heart, for you are dearer to me than all the others.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]
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