St.Francis | Franciscan

About our saint

Few Saints are more immediately recognizable than St. Francis of Assisi. He is recognized, loved, and claimed by Christians of all denominations, and even embraced by non-Christians. Francis seized the imaginations of his contemporaries, as well as that of modern men, by his unique simplicity, a pure grace of spirit, his overwhelming love for God, and his mode of life in which he actively sought to live according to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Unfortunately, given the extent with which he's loved, few Saints are less understood than Francis is. To the modern mind, Francis is a caricature. He is the simple, loveable, man who preached to birds, tamed wolves, talked to fish, and was so gentle that wild hare leapt into his arms. But he's so much more than that.

Of Francis' early life, one of his biographers, Thomas of Celano, in the First Life of St. Francis, would later write, "almost up to his twenty-fifth year, he squandered and wasted his time…He was…very rich, not greedy but prodigal, not a hoarder of money, but a squanderer of possessions, a cautious businessman but an unreliable steward. On the other hand, he was a kind person, easy and friendly…Overwhelmed by a host of evil companions, proud and high-minded, he walked about the streets of Babylon until the Lord looked down from heaven and for His own name's sake…and for His praise bridled Francis lest he should perish. The hand of the Lord came onto Francis and a change was worked by the right hand of God, that through Francis an assurance might be granted to sinners that they had been restored to grace and that Francis might become an example to all of conversion to God."

Stories of Saint Francis

The Life and ministry of St. Francis was so powerful and filled with so many mysteries and miracles that it has filled book after book. What we have included here for you is a sampling of recorded stories of his life and the life of the early Brothers. If your curiosity is piqued, please check out our Bookworm Corner area for links to some truly wonderful books.


Stories

  • Francis and the Wolf

  • St. Francis

  • St. Francis

  • St. Francis

Larks

“Larks are birds that are the friends of light and dread the shadows of dusk. But in the evening when Saint Francis passed from this world to Christ, when it was already twilight of nightfall, they gathered above the roof of the house, where they circled about noisily for a long while. Whether they were showing their joy or their sadness with their song, we do not know. They sang with tearful joy and joyful tears, either to mourn the orphaned children, or to indicate the father’s approach to eternal glory. The city watchmen who were guarding the place with great care were amazed and called others to admire this.”

Credit for these stories:

From Thomas of Celano, The Treatise on the Miracle of Saint Francis, (1250-1252), ed. Regis J. Armstorng, OFM Cap, J.A. Wayne Hellmoann, OFM Cov, William J. Short, OFM, The Francis Trilogy of Thomas of Celano (Hyde Park: New City Press, 2004), 329-333.

The Hare

"While he was staying in a poor place the holy man used to drink from a clay cup. After his departure, with wonderful skill bees had constructed the little cells of their honeycomb in it, wonderfully indicating the divine contemplation he drank in at that place. "In Greccio a little hare, live and unharmed, was given to Saint Francis. When it was put down, free to run away where it pleased, at the saint's call it leapt quickly into his lap. The saint gently took it and kindly warned it not to let itself be caught again. He then gave it his blessing and ordered it to return to the woods. "Something similar happened with another little rabbit, a wild one, when he was on the island in the Lake of Perugia."