St. Francis (1181-1226) was born in Assisi, Italy, to a wealthy cloth merchant. He was a spoiled child given to pleasure, fine dress, liberal spending, and worldliness. Handsome and courteous, he was a favorite among the nobility. As a chivalrous young knight he took part in a battle between the Italian city-states and became a prisoner of war in Perugia.
After his release he became seriously ill, and while reflecting on his wanton life he had a profound conversion experience. He gave up his frivolous life, cut off his family ties, and embraced a life of extreme penance and poverty in such a dramatic manner that it caused many to think he had gone mad.
While praying before a crucifix in the church of San Damiano in Assisi he received his call from Christ to rebuild his Church, which had fallen into ruin. St. Francis followed Christ in a radical manner by patterning his new rule of life after the example of the Apostles in the most literal way possible; he dressed himself as a poor peasant, worked odd jobs for food, and went through the countryside preaching repentance, love of Jesus, and peace.
His religious enthusiasm attracted followers, and with these he founded the Order of Friars Minor and the Poor Clares. His Order was approved by the Holy See in 1210 and it grew rapidly. Two years before his death he became the first known saint to receive the stigmata. His holiness was so widely attested that two years after his death the Church proclaimed him a saint.
St. Francis of Assisi is the patron of peace, ecology, the environment, animals, Italy, merchants, and families. His feast day is October 4th.
[source – morning offering 10-4-17]
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Devotion to Saint Francis of Assisi
O beloved Saint Francis, gentle and poor, your obedience to God and your simple, deep love for all God’s creatures led you to the heights of heavenly perfection and turned many hearts to follow God’s will. Now, in our day, pray also for us, in our ministry to the many who come here searching for peace and intercede for us as we come before the Lord with our special requests.
[Mention your special intention.]
O blessed Saint of God, from your throne among the hosts of heaven present our petitions before our faithful Lord. May your prayers on our behalf be heard and may God grant us the grace to lead good and faithful lives. Amen.
Saint Francis of Assisi,
Pray for us. Amen.
Saint Francis’s Prayer Before the Crucifix
Most High, glorious God,
enlighten the darkness of my heart and give me
true faith, certain hope, and perfect charity,
sense and knowledge, Lord, that I may carry out
Your holy and true command. Amen.
The Peace Prayer
Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is error, the truth;
Where there is doubt, the faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.
O 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.
Saint Francis’s Vocation Prayer
Most High, Glorious God,
enlighten the darkness of our minds.
Give us a right faith, a firm hope and a perfect charity,
so that we may always and in all things act according to Your Holy Will. Amen.
[prayers source – national shrine of st francis]