“I have been all things unholy. If God can work through me, he can work through anyone. “


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“I have been all things unholy. If God can work through me, he can work through anyone. “

  • “I have been all things unholy. If God can work through me, he can work through anyone. “


Founder of the Franciscan Order

  • Founder of the Franciscan Order

  • Born at Assisi in Italy (Umbria) circa 1181-1182

  • Died there, 3 October, 1226









Father: Pietro Bernardone, wealthy cloth merchant.

  • Father: Pietro Bernardone, wealthy cloth merchant.

  • 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 Francesco







Francis showed little liking for a merchant's career. He was spoiled by his parents

  • 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







At about 20, Francis went to war with the Perugians . Assisi was defeated and Francis was taken prisoner for more than a year

  • 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.

  • 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.





He yearned for the life of the Spirit

  • 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

  • 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







Not long after, while Francis was praying before an ancient crucifix in the chapel of St. Damian's

  • 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 father’s wrath, Francis hid himself in a cave near St. Damian's for a month.

  • 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.









Freed by his mother, Francis returned to St. Damian's, where he found shelter & renounced his inheritance and family ties

  • 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 hymns

  • Returning to Assisi, he traversed the city begging stones for the restoration of St. Damian's.





Francis restored two other deserted chapels: St. Peter's, some distance from the city, and St. Mary of the Angels.

  • 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











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;

  • 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 world’s 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,

  • 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;

  • 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 God’s 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 Francis

  • After this they procured rough habits like that of Francis, and built themselves small huts near his at the Little Portion (Porziuncola)





The Franciscan habit is a simple long gown (brown, black, or grey) with a detached “capuch” (hood) and a white, knotted wool cord.

  • 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.

  • 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





Francis and his followers set out for Rome to seek the approval of the Holy See (vatican)

  • 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 rejected.

  • 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





The followers adopted the Roman Rite as their mass which would become the predominant Catholic mass

  • The followers adopted the Roman Rite as their mass which would become the predominant Catholic mass

  • 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 25:40-45) and as a perpetual reminder of their humility



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.'

    • 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.'




During Lent of 1212, Clare came to Francis.

  • During Lent of 1212, Clare came to Francis.

  • Clare, a young heiress of Assisi, moved by the saint’s 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 torches.

  • 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











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 retreat,

  • 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 retreat,

  • "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





1217-18 he visited Rome and was apparently the occasion of Francis's meeting with St. Dominic

  • 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





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.

  • 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 manner",

  • During Christmas (1223) Francis conceived the idea of celebrating the Nativity "in a new manner",

  • 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





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

  • 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

  • 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 meditations

  • 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.

  • 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.







Sept 1225

  • 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.



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.

  • 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 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 herbs.

  • 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 harm.  

  • 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 harm.  

  • We praise and bless You, Lord, and give You thanks, and serve You in all humility.



Ina dying condition, Francis returned to Assisi

  • 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 him

  • His last days were passed at the Porziuncola in a tiny hut, near the chapel, that served as an infirmary.



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

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



On the eve of his death, Francis, in imitation of Christ, had bread brought to him and broken.

  • 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.

  • 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 Death“

  • 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 Christ







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.

  • 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.

  • 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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