October 4th is the
FEAST DAY OF ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI
St. Francis of Assisi (Italian: San Francesco d’Assisi, born Giovanni di Pietro di Bernardone, but nicknamed Francesco (“the Frenchman”) by his father, 1181/1182 – October 3, 1226) was an Italian Catholic friar and preacher. He founded the men’s Order of Friars Minor, the women’s Order of St. Clare, and the Third Order of Saint Francis for men and women not able to live the lives of itinerant preachers followed by the early members of the Order of Friars Minor or the monastic lives of the Poor Clares. Though he was never ordained to the Catholic priesthood, Francis is one of the most venerated religious figures in history.
Francis’ father was Pietro di Bernardone, a prosperous silk merchant. Francis lived the high-spirited life typical of a wealthy young man, even fighting as a soldier for Assisi. While going off to war in 1204, Francis had a vision that directed him back to Assisi, where he lost his taste for his worldly life. On a pilgrimage to Rome, he joined the poor in begging at St. Peter’s Basilica. The experience moved him to live in poverty. Francis returned home, began preaching on the streets, and soon amassed a following. His Order was authorized by Pope Innocent III in 1210. He then founded the Order of Poor Clares, which became an enclosed religious order for women, as well as the Order of Brothers and Sisters of Penance (commonly called the Third Order).
In 1219, he went to Egypt in an attempt to convert the Sultan to put an end to the conflict of the Crusades. By this point, the Franciscan Order had grown to such an extent that its primitive organizational structure was no longer sufficient. He returned to Italy to organize the Order. Once his community was authorized by the Pope, he withdrew increasingly from external affairs. In 1223, Francis arranged for the first Christmas manger scene. In 1224, he received the stigmata, making him the first recorded person to bear the wounds of Christ’s Passion. He died during the evening hours of October 3, 1226, while listening to a reading he had requested of Psalm 140.
On July 16, 1228, he was pronounced a saint by Pope Gregory IX. He is known as the patron saint of animals, the environment, and is one of the two patron saints of Italy (with Catherine of Siena). It is customary for Catholic and Anglican churches to hold ceremonies blessing animals on his feast day of October 4. He is also known for his love of the Eucharist, his sorrow during the Stations of the Cross, and for the creation of the Christmas creche or Nativity Scene.
For much more information on St. Francis of Assisi click here
BOOK OF HEAVEN
Excerpt from Volume 17 – April 15, 1925
Furthermore, of David it was said that he was an image of Me, so much so, that all of his psalms reveal my person; of Saint Francis of Assisi, that he was a faithful copy of Me. It is said in the Holy Gospel: ‘Be perfect as your Father in Heaven is perfect’ – no less; it is also added that no one will enter the Kingdom of Heaven if he is not similar to the image of the Son of God; and many other things. About all these, no one says that they have been exalted too much, and that these are things not conforming to truths spoken by my very mouth. Only because to you I said that I wanted to compare you to the Virgin – to make you Her faithful copy, I have exalted you too much? So, comparing those to Me was not exalting them, nor did anyone raise any doubt or difficulty; but then, comparing to the Virgin – that’s too much exaltation. This means that they have not understood well the mission of the knowledge of my Will. Indeed, I repeat to you that I not only place you near Her as Her little daughter, on Her maternal lap, that She may guide you, instruct you on how you must imitate Her, to become Her faithful copy by always doing the Divine Will; so that, from Her lap, you may pass onto the lap of the Divinity. In fact, the mission of my Will is eternal, and it is precisely the mission of Our Celestial Father, who wants, commands, expects nothing else but that His Will be known and loved, that It be done on earth as It is in Heaven. So you, making this eternal mission your own and imitating the Celestial Father, must want nothing else for yourself and for all but that my Will be known, loved and fulfilled. And besides, when it is the creature who exalts herself, one should think about it; but when she remains at her place and I exalt her, all is permissible to Me – making one reach wherever I want, and the way I want. Therefore, trust Me and do not be concerned.”