800 Years of Franciscan Spirituality

October 4, 2009

St. Francis

“I have done what was mine to do.  May Christ show you what is yours to do.”

Saint Francis of Assisi


800 Years: A Reason To Celebrate! (1209-2009)

The Rule and Life of the Friar Minor is this: namely, to observe the Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ by living in obedience, without anything of one’s own, and in chastity.

This is the opening statement of our Franciscan Rule of 1223; but it grew from a much simpler form of 1209.  That was the year Francis and 11 followers walked from Assisi to Rome.  Francis wanted to have the Pope recognize his fraternity as a religious community within the Church.  He met with initial resistance.  But after a significant dream, Pope Innocent III granted his papal approval.

The Franciscan Movement was born and has grown for 800 years!  This is our anniversary.  We profess what Francis began and invite you to celebrate with us.

In the Archdiocese of San Antonio, there are currently three Fraternities of the Secular Franciscan Order where lay men and women learn to live the spirituality of St. Francis of Assisi in their daily lives.  There are also several religious Communities belonging to the Orders founded by St. Francis for consecrated men and women.

This past October 3, members of the various lay and religious Orders, along with various guests, gathered  to celebrate once again the Transitus of our holy father St. Francis -his passage from temporal to eternal life.  This ceremony is held across the world every year on the eve of the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi, to call to mind the Saint’s words and example, and renew our commitment to the ongoing conversion and profound metanoia to which we, his followers, have been called.  As the Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order states:

“Secular Franciscans should devote themselves especially to careful reading of the gospel,

going from gospel to life and life to the gospel.”

(SFO Rule, Article 4)

 To learn more about living the Franciscan charism and way of life as a lay person, contact the Minister of any our local Fraternities:


Pray for the members of the Secular Franciscan Order throughout the world

–as well as for all Franciscan religious men and women–

that we, like our holy father St. Francis, may know what is ours to do in this life… and do it!


In the words of Pope Pius XI:

Rite Expiatis (On St. Francis of Assisi) – Encyclical promulgated on 13 April 1926.

 “If some dare to compare one with another the heavenly heroes of sanctity destined by the Holy Ghost each to his own special mission among men… it seems necessary for Us to affirm that there has never been anyone in whom the image of Jesus Christ and the evangelical manner of life shone forth more lifelike and strikingly than in St. Francis.

He who called himself the “Herald of the Great King” was also rightly spoken of as “another Jesus Christ,” appearing to his contemporaries and to future generations almost as if he were the Risen Christ.  He has always lived as such in the eyes of men and so will continue to live for all future time.  Nor is it marvelous that his early biographers, contemporaries of the Saint, in their accounts of his life and works, judged him to be of a nobility almost superior to human nature itself.

 Our Predecessors who dealt personally with Francis did not hesitate to recognize in him a providential help sent by God for the welfare of Christian peoples and of the Church.”

For the complete text, visit:





Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi before the Crucifix

San Damiano Cross 1

Most high and glorious God, cast your light into the darkness of my heart.

Give me right faith, certain hope, and perfect charity,

so that I may always and in all things know and act according to Your holy and true will.



Famous blessing of St. Francis from Numbers 6: 22-27:

“May the Lord bless you and keep you!

May the Lord let His face shine upon to you, and be gracious to you!

May the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace!

God bless you, Brother Leo!”

Francis sketched a head (of Brother Leo) and then drew the TAU over this portrait.

Tau crosstunic-tau

For more information on the TAU cross, visit:



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