Monroe Doctrine Essay, Research Paper
Faith And Franciscanism
Fr. Patrick Donahoe, T.O.R.
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
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).