Francis of Assisi
Adauctus M and Callisthene V (AC)
Died c. 312 and later. Adauctus and his daughter were Ephesian martyrs, who suffered under Maximinus Daza. Adauctus died but Callisthene escaped martyrdom and devoted herself to works of charity until her death (Benedictines).
Ammon the Great, Abbot (AC)
Died c. 350. Although he was a wealthy, married Egyptian, St. Ammon lived with his wife as a brother for 18 years. Then they mutually agreed to embrace religious life. Ammon became one of the earliest and greatest desert monks. He eventually attracted 4,000 to 5,000 followers. He was known for his extraordinary ability to fast--eating only once every three or four days in his later life (Benedictines). In art, St. Ammon is depicted as a layman in bed with his wife, saying the rosary (Roeder).
Aurea of Paris, Abbess (RM)
Died 666. Saint Eligius founded the convent of Saint Martial in Paris and chose the Syrian Aurea as its abbess in 633. She governed the community for 33 years before dying during a plague which killed another 160 of her nuns (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).
Caius, Faustus, Eusebius, Chaeremon, Lucius, & Comp. MM (RM)
3rd century. These martyrs of Alexandria died during the persecution of Valerian in 257. Caius and Faustus may be the saints who names are associated with Saint Dionysius of Alexandria, their bishop. The deacon Eusebius (d. 269) survived to become bishop of Laodicea. Chaeremon, who had already suffered under Decius, was sent into exile. Nothing is noted or known about Lucius (Benedictines).
Crispus and Caius of Corinth MM (RM)
1st century. Crispus and Caius were the only ones baptized by Saint Paul at Corinth (1 Corinthians 1:14). Crispus was ruler of the synagogue in Corinth (Acts 18:8), and Caius probably hosted St. Paul (Romans 16:23) and was the "dearly beloved Gaius" to whom Saint John addressed his third epistle. Tradition says that Crispus became bishop of Aegina and Caius, bishop of Thessalonica (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).
Dominina, Berenice, and Prosdoce MM (AC)
Died 303-310. Berenice and Prosdoce were the daughters of Saint Dominina. Their lives and martyrdom in Syria under Diocletian were celebrated and commemorated by several contemporary Greek martyrs (Benedictines).
Blessed Francis Titelmans, OFM Cap. (AC)
Died 1537. Blessed Francis joined the Capuchins while he was a student of Louvain. He spent his life caring for the sick in Saint James Hospital in Rome (Benedictines).
Francis of Assisi, Founder (RM)
Born in Assisi, Umbria, Italy, c. 1181; died at Porziuncola, October 3, 1226; canonized 1228; declared patron of ecologists in 1979 by John Paul II.
"Our friends, then, are all those who unjustly afflict us with trials and ordeals, shame and injustice, sorrows and torments, martyrdom and death; we must love them greatly for we all possess eternal life because of them."
"Sanctify yourself and you will sanctify society"
One of the greatest saints God ever gave us was the son of Peter Bernadone, a wealthy silk merchant, and his wife Pica. He was born while his father was away on business and his mother christened him with the name John (Giovanni). When his father returned, he insisted that the child be renamed Francesco (the Frenchman). And so it happened.
Like most privileged youth, Francis of the small hands, broad body, and liquid eyes indulged himself in extravagant living and pleasure-seeking. He wasn't interested in his father's business or study. Influenced by the ideals of chivalry, Francis went gaily to war, and was taken prisoner by the nearby Perugians in 1202. Upon his release he resumed his dissolute ways and became seriously ill for a time. Upon his recovery in 1205, he decided to join the forces of Walter (Gualtier) de Brienne, who was fighting in southern Italy. Francis outfitted himself with expensive new equipment, but, according to some, he met a poorly clothed man to whom he gave his finery.
A vision of Christ (urging him to turn back) during another illness in Spoleto, followed by another on his return to Assisi, caused him to change his lifestyle. At home he was faced with accusations of cowardice. In 1206, he went on pilgrimage to Rome in rags. There he met a leper and not only gave him money but went so far as to kiss the man's diseased hand--an unthinkable act at a time when this was a debilitating, communicable disease. On his return home he devoted himself to a life of poverty and care of the sick and the poor.
While praying one day in the ruined chapel of San Damiano near the gates of Assisi, three times Francis heard a voice say from the crucifix before which he was praying: "Francis, go and repair my house which you see is now close to ruin." Characteristically, Francis took these words literally and set out to repair the chapel, but eventually he got it right. At that time he rushed to his father's warehouse, took as much cloth as a horse could carry, sold the cloth and gave the money to the priest in charge of the ruined chapel. He asked permission to remain with the priest. The priest agreed but refused Francis' donation.
His irate father sought him out but Francis hid. After days of fasting and prayer, Francis came out of hiding. His looks were so altered that people threw things at him and called him mad. His father treated him as such: He took Francis home, beat him, bound him up, and locked him in a room. While his father was away from home, Pica released Francis, who promptly returned to San Damiano.
He was followed by his father, angrily denounced as a madman, and disinherited in one of the most dramatic scenes in religious history. When his father summoned him before the bishop of Assisi, who instructed Francis to return the money from the cloth and to trust in God. The saint solemnly took off all his clothes and gave them back to his father. The bishop gave him a cloak for which Francis thanked him for his first alms. Upon the cloak the saint marked the cross in chalk.
Francis said he now had only one father, his Father in heaven and singing the divine praises, Francis went in search of shelter. En route his met a band of robbers, who asked him to identify himself. Francis responded: "I am the herald of the great King." The beat him and left him in a ditch of snow. Undeterred he continued singing. At a monastery he received alms and work. In Gubbio, an acquaintance gave him the shabby tunic, belt, and shoes that Francis wore for the next two years before returning to Assisi and San Damiano.
Francis begged for alms to restore the church and was mocked by the townspeople who had known him as a rich man's son. After repairing several churches in Assisi, he retired to a little chapel, the Porziuncola (Portiuncula) at Santa Maria degli Angeli, and devoted himself completely to his life's work of poverty and preaching. Porziuncola belonged to the abbey founded by the great Saint Benedict, Monte Subiaco, about two miles from Assisi. The chapel was neglected and in disrepair until Francis restored it with his own hands while living nearby.
On the feast of Saint Matthias in 1209, Francis really heard the way for his life: "Do not possess gold . . . nor two coats nor shoes nor a staff. . . ." Francis understood and undertook to live the rule of poverty in Saint Matthew's Gospel literally. He gave away his shoes, the walking staff he had used in his travels, and his girdle. He kept his undyed, woolen cloak--the dress of shepherds and peasants--which he tied with a cord.
The saint's preaching soon attracted numerous disciples who agreed that Christ's disciples should have virtually nothing of their own. Among those drawn to the severe Gospel were several leading citizens, Bernard da Quintavalla, a rich merchant, and Peter of Cattaneo, a canon of the cathedral, whom he robed on April 16, 1209, thus founding the Friars Minor. The third to join them was Brother Giles, a simple, wise man.
In 1210, he received verbal approval of a rule he had drawn up from Pope Innocent III as well as authorization for Francis and 11 companions to be roving preachers of repentance. They lived together in a little cottage at Rivo Torto until a dispute with a peasant who wanted the cottage to shelter his donkey. In 1212 they moved their headquarters to the Porziuncola chapel, which the abbot of Monte Subiaco gave them on the condition that it should always remain the motherhouse for the Friars Minor.
Many more men were attracted to this saint for whom poverty was his "lady"; any illness, a "sister"; and his body, "brother donkey." Soon so many recruits flocked in that another friary was built in Bologna. Throughout Italy the brothers called the people of all stations to faith and repentance. The brothers refused even corporate ownership of property, human learning, and ecclesiastical preferment (initially few of them were in holy orders).
Also in 1212, Saint Clare joined him over the violent objections of her family. Together they founded the first community of Poor Ladies (later known as the Poor Clares).
Obsessed with the desire to preach to the Saracens, Francis set out for Syria in the fall of 1212, but was shipwrecked along the coast of Dalmatia on the way. They returned to Ancona as stowaways. Francis preached for a year in central Italy during which the lord of Chiusi placed the Apennine retreat of Monte Alvernia at the disposal of the order. A second attempt was made to evangelize the Islamics in 1213-14, but it also failed when Francis fell ill in Spain while on the way to Morocco and was forced to return to Italy.
Francis obtained the famous Porziuncola indulgence or pardon of Assisi from Pope Innocent III in 1216. The following year (when he probably met Saint Dominic in Rome), Francis convened the first general chapter of his order at the Porziuncola to organize the huge number of followers he had attracted to his way of life. Francis wanted to preach in France, but Cardinal Ugolino advised against it. By 1217 the order's many members were divided into provinces and groups of friars were sent to countries outside Italy, including Brothers Pacifico and Agnello to England.
In 1219, he sent his first missionaries to Tunis and Morocco from another general chapter, attended by some five thousand friars. He himself went to Egypt to evangelize the Islamics in Palestine and Egypt with 12 friars under the protection of Gautier de Brienne. In the camp of the Crusaders, he was shocked by the immoral lifestyle. He requested permission, was warned against, and finally allowed to meet with Sultan Malek al-Kamel at Damietta, Egypt, which was being besieged by Crusaders. The sultan was interested in their discussions and asked Francis to stay with him. A few days later the sultan sent him back to camp. His mission was a failure both among the Saracens and the Crusaders, so Francis went on pilgrimage to Akka (Acra).
He was obliged, however, to hasten back to Italy to combat a movement in his order to mitigate his original rule of simplicity, humility, and poverty led by Matthew of Narni and Gregory of Naples. When Francis found the brothers of Bologna living in a fine monastery, he castigated the superior and ordered the friars to leave. Having secured the appointment of Cardinal Ugolino as protector of the order from Pope Honorius III, Francis presented a revised rule to a general chapter at the Porziuncola in 1221, which maintained his ideals of poverty, humility, evangelical freedom, respect and obedience to Church authorities, and doctrinal orthodoxy.
Friars slept on the ground, used no tables or chairs, and had very few books. It was not until later that they became an order whose theology won attention in universities. A movement in the order toward mitigating his rule, led by Brother Elias, began to spread and was met by Francis with still another slight revision, but this time he secured for it the approval of Pope Honorius III in 1223.
Francis and his adviser Cardinal Ugolino may have drawn up a rule for the lay people who associated themselves with the Friars Minor--the Franciscan tertiaries. This became a massive movement and source of much of the piety and sanctity of the age--a re-evangelization throughout Europe.
By this time Francis had retired from the practical activities of the order, and its direction was mainly in the hands of Brother Elias. At Christmas of 1223, Francis built a crèche at Grecchia in the valley of Rieti. It is probably not the first time the scene in Bethlehem was acted out, but Francis' doing it established the manager scene as a Christmas custom observed all over the Christian world to the present day.
Two years before his death at the beginning of a 40-day fast, while praying in his cell on Mount Alverna (Monte La Verna) in the Apennines on September 14 and long after his reputation was well-established, Francis received the marks which were to confirm his sanctity. They did not bleed, but were instead impressions of the heads of nails, round and black and standing clear from the flesh. These wounds were one of the sources of the physical pain and weakness he suffered increasingly until he welcomed "Sister Death." Francis kept these stigmata a secret by wearing shoes and stockings and covering his hands with his habit. He is the first known saint to have experienced the stigmata.
In 1225, Cardinal Ugolino and the vicar Elias convinced Francis to see the pope's physician at Rieti. En route he stopped to see Saint Clare at San Damiano for the last time. In terrible discomfort, he wrote the Canticle of Brother Sun, set it to music, and taught the brothers how to sing it. At Mount Rainerio he underwent primitive surgery and a painful treatment that brought him some relief.
In Assisi, doctors told him he had only a few weeks to live. Francis asked to be taken to Porziuncola on a stretcher and that they send to Rome for Lady Giacoma di Settesoli, an old friend. She was asked to bring candles and a gray gown for his burial and some favorite cakes. She arrived before the messenger started out. As he wished, Francis died lying on the ground covered with an old habit.
Brother Elias described the five wounds of the stigmata in a letter shortly after Francis's death. Blood often trickled from his side. Brother Leo wrote, "The blessed Francis, two years before his death, kept a Lent in the hermitage of Alverna in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary, mother of God, and Blessed Michael the Archangel, from the Feast of the Assumption of St. Mary the Virgin to the Feast of St. Michael in September. . . . After the vision and speech he had of a seraph, and the impression in his body of the Stigmata of Christ, he made these praises . . . giving thanks to God for the favor that had been conferred on him." Others claim he received the marks only a few weeks before his death.
The saint asked to be buried in the criminals' cemetery on the Colle d'Inferno, but his body was taken to the Church of Saint George in Assisi. It remained there until 1230, when it was secretly removed to the basilica built by Brother Elias. His relics were rediscovered in 1818 and reburied, first in an ornate tomb, and then, in 1932, in a very simple one.
Though never ordained, Francis' impact on religious life since his times has been enormous. Probably no saint has affected so many in so varied ways as the gentle saint of Assisi who, born to wealth, devoted his life to poverty, concern for the poor and sick, and so delighted in God's creation. His cultus has grown enormously in the last hundred years among Christians of all denominations and others. There is a compelling appeal in his Canticle of the sun and in what we are told about him by the Little flowers of Saint Francis and the Mirror of perfection (Attwater, Bentley, Chesterton, Cuthbert, Delaney, Harrison, Holland-Smith, Moorman, Roeder, Sherley-Price, White).
Like most of the popular saints, legends grew up around Francis. Below are three found in The encyclopedia of Catholic saints (October). It appears that some of each story may be missing:
The Conversion of Sir Renard of the Fable, who was Miraculously Cured
Early one morning St. Francis was walking with three of his brother friars: Boniface, Bonace, and Pancreas (who was the monastery's doctor). The saint, with his hands in his pockets, was sluggish, trailed along behind, occasionally encouraged and comforted by the professional advice that Brother Pancreas whispered to him. Just as they came to a turn in the path, St. Francis suddenly said: "Ah, Sir Renard (French for "fox") of the Fable is waiting for us down there!"
Brother Boniface murmured something about Francis seeing things that weren't there and followed it with a sharp little laugh. Pancreas also laughed, but more seriously, and, full of charitable zeal, produced a bottle of elixir from his scrip.
"Don't bother, Pancreas," said Francis, "I can see perfectly well." He was going to add: "I can see more than you, for God has given me eyesight as sharp as that of our brother the eagle." But he swallowed his words, no doubt because he wished to avoid the sin of pride. "I can see him quite clearly," he continued. "Sir Renard of the Fable is down there under that vine. His head is raised, as if he has his eye on something."
"He is doubtless gazing at God in heaven," said Brother Boniface, who was the most pious of the converts. He made an eloquent gesture, and then crossed himself devoutly.
"Don't you think it's more likely that he's watching a hen?" said Brother Pancreas. "Chicken is excellent for stomachs that have been upset by overeating. . . ."
They continued to chat until they came to the place where they found Sir Renard of the Fable sitting patiently on his tail. As they neared him, he shouted loudly: "These grapes are too sour, they are not worth eating."
"Oh, what a hypocrite!" cried Brother Boniface, "he's only saying that out of spite."
"Come, come," said Sir Renard, who was a little put out and was trying to keep calm. "What do you mean? Me, talking out of spite?"
"Are you daring to contradict the Fable?" asked Boniface, but then Saint Francis intervened and greeted Sir Renard with a friendly pun, calling him "affable," whereupon Sir Renard bowed to him politely.
"But think of your liver," interrupted Pancreas. "Don't you realize that those grapes are much too wet with dew?"
But St. Francis gently drew him aside and said, "Brother, what does the liver matter when compared with the soul?" And turning back to Sir Renard he said: "You were going to commit a grave sin by your gluttony, Brother Affable."
"You're not like the others," said Renard, touched by the friendly name Francis had given him.
"Thank you," said Francis with humility. "But I would be even more grateful if you were to abandon your gluttony."
Francis drew him aside and confessed him under a hazel tree. Then, in front of the other brothers, one of them holding a candlestick, another a censer, and a third an aspergillus, he solemnly received the abjuration of Sir Renard of the Fable. Accompanied by all four of them, Sir Renard hurried off to the nearest bishop to whom he repeated his request to take orders.
He progressed rapidly up the hierarchy and became a cardinal. It is no accident that cardinals wear purple, the color of gluttony, nor that a collection is taken up in churches, a symbolic act in honor of the pious dignitary who collected chickens and eggs in the countryside.
The Little Miracle of the Black Paracletes
One fine morning, a little after the six o'clock Mass, St. Francis was standing in a forest facing his brothers, whom he had arranged in the form of a crescent, and was preaching against the errors of Islam. He did not preach hate, as do so many others under the convenient guise of holy war, but confined himself to advocating missionary zeal. Standing straight and motionless, he spoke so well that neither the brothers who were rapt in attention nor he himself who was carried away by love noticed the approach of a woodpecker. After circling the group for a few times the bird, either out of absent-mindedness, or else guided by the hand of God, who guides all creatures, settled down on the gentle preacher's back as if it were an ordinary tree trunk and immediately began to peck away with its beak. He pecked vigorously, sometimes uttering little cries of impatience and flapping his green and red wings, but it was not until the twentieth peck that St. Francis realized what was happening. He was about to shudder with pain when, O Charity, he suddenly realized how greatly the woodpecker would be disturbed by any movement and stood perfectly still, then continued to preach against the error of Islam while the bird continued to hammer away at him briskly.
But because the woodpecker was a female, her drilling was only the first step; after that there was a nest to be built and eggs to be laid. After a quick glance the other brothers realized what was happening to Francis and withdrew, going into raptures over the greatness of his heart and also praying fervently for the safety of is shoulder blades. In the monastery they lit 20 candles to the Virgin, and another 20 in the back of St. Joseph. Then they waited to see what would happen and sent a messenger every afternoon to make a report.
It takes about 40 days for an ordinary woodpecker to build a nest, lay her eggs, hatch them, and look after the young birds until they can fly. However, this particular woodpecker, perhaps because she was moved by the divine spirit, took only 19 days, at the end of which time the eggs were hatched and from the nest there came a gentle murmuring like that of nuns at prayer. St. Francis picked up his ears, but then wondered whether the devil was trying to tempt him with a false miracle.
Brother Amable, whose turn it was to report on what was happening, approached on tiptoe and took a quick look into the nest. "Heavens!" he exclaimed. "Good heavens! They're evangelical eggs, the first that anyone's ever seen in the world!" (And no doubt they were also the last.) For out of the shells had come two little black paracletes.
They were brought up on bread crumbs and ants' eggs, and as soon as they were able to fly they were released in the monastery; and there, by constantly chasing faults and imperfections, they helped to keep alive the spirit of poverty. Unfortunately, their breed existed only in the time of St. Francis and has since disappeared.
The Miraculous Resurrection of the Humblest of our Fellow Creatures, Brother Donkey
Someone was playing a drum. Sometimes it sounded like a car back-firing, sometimes like thunder in a valley, sometimes like a cheerful fusillade. It throbbed and thumped and banged, and the man who was playing the drum looked like a canon, though there was something unusual and shifty about him. Open-mouthed spectators were crowding round the platform, deafened by the music and watching young men and girls whirling around in a waltz.
St. Francis arrived and Brother Gaudissart invited him to join in the gaiety and to bless the couples who were dancing, on the grounds that dancing was good exercise. Francis politely shook his head and refused, but when Brother Gaudissart kept urging him on, he suddenly burst out:
"Brother Gaudissart, are you a servant of the Devil?"
"The Devil?" said Brother Gaudissart, looking around with wide eyes. "I can't see him anywhere."
"And what about that drummer?"
"Why he's just from the local village," said Brother Gaudissart. "He's a good family man and he does this just to make a bit of extra money."
"He's the Devil in disguise," said St. Francis, and raising his voice he called loudly to the drummer: "Take your drumsticks and be off with you, you fiend."
"But . . .," said Brother Gaudissart. St. Francis interrupted him: "How much longer should we let Brother Donkey be maltreated? It is Satan and his henchmen who martyr animals and drum on the flanks of Brother Donkey. Go on," he called to the drummer, "be off with you." And then to the drum, he said: "Brother Donkey, by the grace of our gentle Lord Jesus Christ, I command you to return from the dead."
Dazed, and braying loudly in astonishment, Brother Donkey emerged from the drum over which his skin had been stretched for the delight of music-lovers. St. Francis quickly put him at his ease, whereupon he at once resumed his usual character and began to complain loudly of a terrible pain in his back; however, this was soon cured with a poultice of fresh poppy seeds. After reciting the Benedicite in chorus, Brother Donkey took a light snack. Then, on St. Francis' advice, he went to Rome, where he became a verger. He is still there today (Encyclopedia).
The Little Flowers of St Francis or Fioretti is full of anecdotal stories such as How St. Francis taught Brother Leo that perfect joy is only in the Cross:
One winter day St. Francis was coming to St. Mary of the Angels from Perugia with Brother Leo, and the bitter cold made them suffer keenly. St. Francis called to Brother Leo, who was walking a bit ahead of him,and he said: "Brother Leo, even if the Friars Minor in every country give a great example of holiness and integrity and good edification, nevertheless write down and note carefully that perfect joy is not in that."
And when he had walked on a bit, St. Francis called him again, saying: "Brother Leo, even if a Friar Minor gives sight to the blind, heals the paralyzed, drives out devils, gives hearing back to the deaf, makes the lame walk, and restores speech to the dumb, and what is still more, brings back to life a man who has been dead four days, write that perfect joy is not in that."
And going on a bit, St. Francis cried out again in a strong voice: "Brother Leo, if a Friar Minor knew all languages and all sciences and Scripture, if he also knew bow to prophesy and to reveal not only the future but also the secrets of the consciences and minds of others, write down and note carefully that perfect joy is not in that."
And as they walked on, after a while St. Francis called again forcefully: 'Brother Leo, Little Lamb of God, even if a Friar minor could speak with the voice of an angel, and knew the courses of the stars and the powers of herbs, and knew all about the treasures in the earth, and if be knew the qualities of birds and fishes, animals, humans, roots, trees, rocks, and waters, write down and note carefully that true joy is not in that."
And going on a bit farther, St. Francis called again strongly: "Brother Leo, even if a Friar Minor could preach so well that be should convert all infidels to the faith of Christ, write that perfect joy is not there."
Now when he had been talking this way for a distance of two miles, Brother Leo in great amazement asked him: "Father, I beg you in God's name to tell me where perfect joy is."
And St. Francis replied; "When we come to St. Mary of the Angels, soaked by the rain and frozen by the cold, all soiled with mud and suffering from hunger, and we ring at the gate of the Place and the brother porter comes and says angrily: 'Who are you?' And we say: 'We are two of your brothers.' And he contradicts us, saying: 'You are not telling the truth. Rather you are two rascals who go around deceiving people and stealing what they give to the poor. Go away!' And he does not open for us, but makes us stand outside in the snow and rain, cold and hungry, until night falls-then if we endure all those insults and cruel rebuffs patiently, without being troubled and without complaining, and if we reflect humbly and charitably that the porter really knows us and that God makes him speak against us, oh, Brother Leo, write that perfect joy is there!
'And if we continue to knock, and the porter comes out in anger, and drives us away with curses and hard blows like bothersome scoundrels, saying; 'Get away from here, you dirty thieves-go to the hospital! Who do you think you are? You certainly won't eat or sleep here!--and if we bear it patiently and take the insults with joy and love in our hearts, Oh, Brother Leo, write that it is perfect joy!
And if later, suffering intensely from hunger and the painful cold, with night falling, we still knock and call, and crying loudly beg them to open for us and let us come in for the love of God, and he grows still more angry and says: 'Those fellows are bold and shameless ruffians. I'll give them what they deserve!' And he comes out with a knotty club, and grasping us by the cowl throws us onto the ground, rolling us in the mud and snow, and beats us with that club so much that he covers our bodies with wounds--if we endure all those evils and insults and blows with joy and patience, reflecting that we must accept and bear the sufferings of the Blessed Christ patiently for love of Him, oh, Brother Leo, write: that is perfect joy!
'And now hear the conclusion, Brother Leo. Above all the graces and gifts of the Holy Spirit which Christ gives to His friends is that of conquering oneself and willingly enduring sufferings, insults, humiliations, and hardships for the love of Christ. For we cannot glory in all those other marvelous gifts of God, as they are not ours but God's, as the Apostle says: What have you that you have not received?' But we can glory in the cross of tribulations and afflictions, because that is ours, and so the Apostle says: 'I will not glory save in the Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ"'To whom be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
In art, Saint Francis is generally depicted in the drab habit of his order, usually with the stigmata and a winged crucifix before him. At times he may be shown:
Preaching to the birds (anonymous 13th century)
Propping up a falling church
Kneeling before a crèche (White)
As a young layman giving his coat to a poor gentleman (Giotto)
Returning his father's goods before the bishop (anonymous 13th century)
As the pope dreams of him and St. Dominic holding up the Lateran
Marrying Lady Poverty
Dictating a contract with a wolf before the gates of Gubbio
Surrounded by animals
Walking through fire before the sultan
Receiving the stigmata (Federico Fiori Barocci)
Crowned with thorns
Hearing angelic music
As the Virgin appears before him
As the Virgin points him out to Christ
Contemplating a skull
Embracing St. Dominic
Clothing St. Clare as a novice
As St. Clare visits his funeral (Giotto)
Other paintings of Saint Francis by:
Mar gaitone di Arezzo
Francisco de Zurbarán
Caravaggio's St. Francis in Ecstasy
El Greco's St. John the Evangelist with St. Francis
Francis is the patron saint of Italy, Italian merchants (due to his family's business), animals, animal welfare societies, ecology, and ecologists (Roeder, White).
Hierotheus of Athens B (RM)
Date unknown. St. Hierotheus is reputed to be the teacher and friend of Saint Dionysius the Areopagite. Scholars now either discount his existence entirely or place him in a later period (4th or 5th century) than Dionysius (Benedictines).
Blessed Julian Majali, OSB Abbot (AC)
Died 1470. Julian was a Benedictine monk of San Martino delle Scale in Sicily until he became a hermit six years before his death. He was highly esteemed by popes and kings (Benedictines).
Mark, Marcian, and Companions MM (RM)
Died 304. Mark and his brother, Marcian, were martyrs in Egypt under Diocletian together with an innumerable host of other "victims of all ages and both sexes." They may be duplicates of other groups of martyrs, however (Benedictines).
Peter of Damascus BM (RM)
Died c. 750. Bishop Peter of Damascus, Syria, was maimed, blinded, exiled, and finally bound to a cross and beheaded for preaching against Islam (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).
Petronius of Bologna B (RM)
Born in Byzantium; died c. 445. Sent by the Byzantine emperor Theodosius to report to the pope on the case of Nestorius, Petronius remained in Italy and became bishop of Bologna. He is said to have built the monastery of Saint Stephen in Bologna along the general lines of the buildings of the Holy Places of Jerusalem, which he had visited (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).
St. Petronius is portrayed in art as a mitred bishop between Saints Cosmas and Damian, as found in S. Petronio in Bologna, Italy. He may also be shown holding the city of Bologna or interceding for the city (Roeder).
Quintus (Quentin, Quintius) of Tours M (AC)
Born in Tours, France; died c. 570. St. Quintus was a Frankish courtier, whom the queen unsuccessfully tried to seduce. Following her humiliation, she had him assassinated at L'Indrois near Montresor (Benedictines).
About Saints of the Day
These summaries were prepared in 1998 by St. Patrick's parishioner Katherine I. Rabenstein and are reproduced on www.saintpatrickdc.org with the permission of the author. Note that the content has not been updated since that time and represents the research of the author. An alphabetical index of all saints on our site is available. Source references are also available. HTML formatting © 2007-2008 by St. Patrick's Catholic Church, Washington, D.C.