Monroe Doctrine Essay Research Paper Faith And

Monroe Doctrine Essay, Research Paper

Faith And Franciscanism

Fr. Patrick Donahoe, T.O.R.

Summer, 2001

Important Events In The Life Of Saint Francis

At Saint Francis University in Loretto, Pennsylvania there is a beautiful Chapel on

campus. It is called the Immaculate Conception Chapel. The chapel is open to all those wishing

to visit, or perhaps worship and pray. Anyone visiting the chapel has the wonderful oppurtunity

to see the beautiful stained-glass windows throughout the chapel, and in particular the six large

windows depicting some of the most important events in the life of St. Francis. Having the

oppurtunity to visit the chapel I would like to write about four of the six stained-glass windows

of Francis?s life.

First, a brief background into Francis?s life. Francis of Assisi was born in 1182 in

Umbria, Italy. Francis?s father was Pietro Bernardone, who was a wealthy Assisian cloth

merchant. Francos? mother was from a noble family of Provence. At baptism, Francis received

either the name John, or Giovanni, but later his father changed it to Francesco, after his love for

France where he did a lot of traveling for his work.

At age twenty, Francis went with the townsmen to fight the men from Perugia, whom

they were frequently at battle with. The Assisians were defeated this particular time, and Francis

was among those captured for more than a year. In that time he became ill and he began

thinking of eternity.

After his release he set about doing good deeds, repairing churches, and preaching

brotherly love and peace to all those who would listen, Even the animals and birds stopped to

listen to Francis preach. At a place called Gubbio there were some wolves causing havoc and

Francis tamed them down. Francis charisma, his lovable, liveley nature had people listening to

him and wanting to follow him, which brings me to the 1st window that I would like to discuss.

The First Teritaries.

Francis had such great courage to speak God?s word, that he left his family and set out

for Rome. Francis along with some of his companions first received tonsure, then they were

ordained deacons of the church. The group of men were called the Friars Minor. ?About 1211

they obtained a permanent foothold near Assisi, through the generosity of the Benedictines of

Monte Subasio, who gave them the little chapel of St. Mary of the Angels or the Porziuncola.?

(Robinson 4). From this settlement came the Franciscan Order., whom of which Francis was

the founder.

In 1212, Francis met Clare, a young heiress of Assisi. Clare also had the same values

in God, people, and the world, and left her family and followed Francis. Francis clothed Clare

in a Minorite habit, with her head covered. Francis cut Clare?s hair to show her willingness to

forgo her worldly possessions and thus received her to a life of poverty, penance and seclusion.

There were other pious maidens who joined Clare and they became known as the the first

monastery of the Second Franciscan Order of Poor Ladies, or Poor Clares. The Poor Clares

settled at St. Damian?s which also was given to them by the Benedictines.

In May of 1217 the first general chaper of the Friar Minor was held at Porziuncola.

The order was divided into provinces and Franciscan missions. Francis continued preaching

and people continued to follow him, so Francis devised the Third Order, and is now called of

the Brothers and Sisters of Penance which was intended for lay people. This order was

subdivided with the Secular Franciscan Order, The Regular T.O.R.?s. The Second Rule of the

First Order of St. Francis is based on the three vows of obedience, poverty, and chastity.

The 2nd window to be discussed will be Christmas Mass at Greccio. ?It was during

Christmastide of this year (1223) that the saint conceived the idea of celebrating the Nativity ?in

a new manner?, by reproducing in a church at Greccio the praesepio of Bethlehem, and he has

thus come to be regarded as having inaugurated the population devotion of the Crib.? (7).

Francis said, ?I should like to celebrate the coming feast of the Savior with you and to

commemorate His birth in Bethlehem in such a way as to represent as perfectly as possible the

suffering and distress that He endured in His infancy to save us.? (Englebert 271).

Thus Francis started the customs of Christmas Scenes as depicted in the stained-glass

windows with Baby Jesus being held by his crib in the manger, surrounded by a shephard with

his staff. with an ox and ass looking on. While others looked at the play, Francis proclaimed the

Gospel passage about the birth of Jesus. He started the custom of the play for the purpose of


The 3rd window depicts Francis receiving the Stigmata. The window is showing Jesus

on the Cross with Francis standing below and to the side of the Cross with his arms

outstretched to Jesus receiving the Stigmata, the five wounds of Jesus in his hands, feet, and

side. Stigamtum is the singular version of the word, meaning wound. The Stigmata represents

the deeper oneness between Francis and the suffering of Jesus Christ, Jesus presence on the

Cross, and the agnony Francis was in, was keenly connected to the suffering of Christ.

Thiis article explains that in 1224 Francis left Portiuncola for La Verna. ?We know only

that he chose to take with him a few friars according to his heart: Leo, Angelo, Illuminato,

Rufino, and Masseo, the faithful companions of so many other journeys.? (Cooper 303). Now

arriving at Mount La Verna, the group could not help but gaze at the beauty of the place and

countryside. Hundreds of birds and fluttered and sang around him, then covered him. Francis

said to his companions:?dear brothers, I believe that our Lord Jesus Christ is pleased to have us

settle here, since our brothers and sisters the birds are giving such a joyous welcome.? (305).

One day while Francis was praying there, suddenly from the heights of Heaven a seraphim with

six wings of flame flew swiftly down. It was Christ who was in this form to manifest Himself to

the Saint. ?Two of his wings covered his face, with two others he flew, and the last two covered

his body. He fixed his gaze upon Francis, then left him, after imprinting the miraculous Stigmata

of the Crucifixion on his flesh.? (310).

Francis, and his companions then left the mountain, but not before Francis bid farewell

and gave the mountain a blessing.

The last window shows Francis in Glory. The window depicts Jesus with a beautiful,

glowing crown on his head, as Jesus is the King of the Jews. He also had on a long robe and

was maybe sitting on a chair or a rainbow. Francis was looking up at Jesus with his arms

outstetched as if giving himself to Jesus.Both are connected in glory in this window by the

Stigmata. Also, in this window are three angels watching Francis give his life offering to God.

Most of Francis?s life he was frail, thin and sickly. But in 1225 he became gravely ill

and he stayed about two months in the garden of St. Clare at San Damiano. There he

composed the Canticle of the Sun, it was also called the Canticle of our Brother the Sun. The

Canticle expressed the praise of the Lord giving us the sun, moon , water, wind ,earth, fire, the

stars and all of God?s creatures. There are many verses to the Canticle but one of the last verses

is ?Praise be my Lord for our mother the Earth, the which doth sustain us and keep us and

bringeth forth divers fruits and flowers of many colours and grass.? (Hutton 291).

In 1226 Francis knew he was dying, alomost blind and couldn?t wal, he was taken to

Portiuncula. Francis wanted Brother Angel and Brother Leo to come and sing the Canticle of

Brother Sun. On October the 3rd Francis?s some of Francis last word?s were a blessing.

?Behold, my son, I am called by God: I forgive my brothers, both present and absent, all their

offenses and faults, and, in as far as I am able, I absolve them. I want you to announce this to

them and to bless them all on my behalf.? (Masseron 123).

In conclusion, Saint Francis was founder of the Franciscan Order. Francis?s charm and

gentle ways had many people, animals, and creatures following him.. ?His person was in no way

imposing, yet there was about the saint a delicacy, grace, and distinction which mad him most

attractive. (Robinson 13).


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