Category Archives: Spiritual Readings and Writings

Spiritual Readings and Writings; Catholic Prayers, Meditations

Featured Image Photo Credit: Kristin McCarthy, Pastel Painting “Stained Glass Holy Spirit Dove”; Pastel Painting “Stained Glass Landscape Cross”

Spiritual Readings and Writings

I enjoy sifting through forgotten ‘Catholic’ books while researching new bead strands. I often stumble upon interesting old texts, chapters and articles that may not necessarily work in a chaplet, but are nonetheless worthy of reading. So, I have dedicated an area of my website to readings and writings that I have found appealing and I wish to share them with you. Included are a wide range of topics ‘of all things catholic’. As I continually search for new inspiration, I am always adding new content for your perusal, so check back often.

For more information, visit my Spiritual Readings and Writings page.

Catholic Prayers and Meditations

Prayers are deeply personal. And when we find one that speaks to us, we tend to say it often.

It is easy nowadays to find common Catholic prayers, many websites have them. I, however, enjoy sifting through forgotten books and stumbling upon prayers that are not so popular. If you too are looking for something a little different to add to your favourite list of prayers, take a look at  my selection. I am constantly adding new found prayers, so please check back regularly.

For more information, visit my Catholic Prayers and Meditations page.

Practice of Pilgrimage – My Pilgrimage Part 3

Featured Image Photo Credit: Kristin McCarthy, 2016, Martyrs’ Shrine, Midland, Ontario, Canada

This past summer I embarked on what I though was a carefree camping trip. Instead, it  turned out to be a very rewarding spiritual journey. I visited five shrines in Quebec as well Notre Dame Cathedral in Quebec City and crossed the threshold of four Holy doors. It was an amazing experience and one that I am sharing with you. During this Holy Year of Mercy, Pope Francis asks us to go on a pilgrimage and cross the threshold of a holy door. He calls us to set out on a faith-filled journey –a trip that nourishes our spirituality and renews our soul, so that we may accept God’s mercy.  In Pope Francis’ Misericordiae Vultus, he states:

 “The practice of pilgrimage has a special place in the Holy Year, because it represents the journey each of us makes in this life. Life itself is a pilgrimage, and the human being is a viator, a pilgrim travelling along the road, making his way to the desired destination. Similarly, to reach the Holy Door in Rome or in any other place in the world, everyone, each according to his or her ability, will have to make a pilgrimage. This will be a sign that mercy is also a goal to reach and requires dedication and sacrifice. May pilgrimage be an impetus to conversion: by crossing the threshold of the Holy Door, we will find the strength to embrace God’s mercy and dedicate ourselves to being merciful with others as the Father has been with us. (#14)

He goes on to say,

The Lord Jesus shows us the steps of the pilgrimage to attain our goal: “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For the measure you give will be the measure you get back” (Lk 6:37-38). The Lord asks us above all not to judge and not to condemn. If anyone wishes to avoid God’s judgement, he should not make himself the judge of his brother or sister. Human beings, whenever they judge, look no farther than the surface, whereas the Father looks into the very depths of the soul. How much harm words do when they are motivated by feelings of jealousy and envy! To speak ill of others puts them in a bad light, undermines their reputation and leaves them prey to the whims of gossip. To refrain from judgement and condemnation means, in a positive sense, to know how to accept the good in every person and to spare him any suffering that might be caused by our partial judgment and our presumption to know everything about him. But this is still not sufficient to express mercy. Jesus asks us also to forgive and to give. To be instruments of mercy because it was we who first received mercy from God. To be generous with others, knowing that God showers his goodness upon us with immense generosity.” (Bull 14)

The Catechism of the Catholic Church also states,

“Pilgrimages evoke earthly journey toward heaven and are traditionally very special occasions for renewal in prayer. For pilgrims seeking living water, shrines are special places for living the forms of Christian prayer ‘in Church’.” (2691:1674)

It is not too late. We’ve still got a few weeks before Holy Doors around the world will close, ending this Jubilee Year of Mercy. On Sunday, November 20, 2016, the Solemnity of Christ the King, Pope Francis will seal the Holy Door in Rome. Ask God to guide you on your pilgrimage in the few weeks we have left.


Holy Door of Mercy – My Pilgrimage Part 2

Featured Image Photo Credit: Kristin McCarthy, 2016, Ermitage Saint-Antoine de Lac-Bouchette, Lac Bouchette, Quebec, Canada

In this Jubilee year, the Holy Year of Mercy (2015-2016), Pope Francis invites us to enter through the ‘door of mercy’. He has instructed every Cathedral or church designated by the Diocesan Bishop, the four Papal Basilicas in Rome and Shrines around the world to open a holy door. He tells us, “mercy is the force that reawakens us to new life and instills in us the courage to look to the future with hope.” (Pope Francis, Misericordiae Vultus Bull of Indiction of the Extrordinary Jubliee of Mercy 10)  So I give thought to the meaning of such a door. First, it is a physical door whereby the Church opens herself to those seeking God’s mercy. She welcomes all who embrace forgiveness and presents us with the message, ‘The Lord is waiting for you’. Second, the ‘door’ is a symbol: As we cross the threshold of the Holy Door in churches throughout the world, we are saying ‘yes’ to God’s request to be with Him. We leave our life behind and enter into life with Christ. Visiting a holy door is an invitation and an opportunity to spend some time with God.

The holy door or Porta Sancta has been used by the Catholic Church for almost 600 years and is opened every Jubilee Year.  In 1423, Pope Martin V opened the first Holy Door at the Basilica of Saint John Lateran. At the time, Holy Years were celebrated every 33 years. In 1499, Pope Alexander VI opened not only the Holy Door at the Vatican Basilica, but also St. Peter’s, St. Mary Major and St. Paul’s. A ceremony was created, in particular, the rite of opening and closing the Holy Door. (Resources for the Year of Mercy, Part II: The Holy Door. Prepared by Rita A. Thiron, M.A. Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions. Washington, DC

From 1500 to 1975, the opening and closing ceremony remained the same. The Holy Door was closed by the building of a wall. (And opening the ‘door’ meant a wall was taken down). The Pope, using a hammer, struck the wall that covered the Holy Door, three times. A trowel and bricks were used in this ceremony, coins were placed in the wall, and then later, placed in a small metal box. (This custom still exists today.) Holy Water is used in both the opening and closing of the Holy Door. The Door itself was a simple wooden door until Pope Pius XII in 1949 replaced it with a bronze door. In 1975, the Pope at that time no longer used the trowel and bricks to close the Holy Door. Instead, the 1950 Bronze door was closed rather than the building of a wall.  The box holding the coins, and the parchment document for the closing of the Holy Door was sealed inside.  This change encouraged us to focus on the door  – the door having deep biblical significance. The hammer is no longer in use since 2000. (Resources for the Year of Mercy, Part II: The Holy Door. Prepared by Rita A. Thiron, M.A. Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions. Washington, DC

Going through a doorway is simple enough. We do it everyday without much thought. Symbolically though, a doorway holds deeper meaning. It is in John 10:7 that Jesus proclaims “I am the door”.  In our faith, passing through a door can be a symbolic act, a ritual that you are leaving the past and entering the door of your future with Jesus Christ. From darkness to light, from sinfulness to grace, from slavery to freedom. We are given the freedom to choose whether we cross this threshold and receive God’s graces that await us on the other side. It is here that you will meet the mercy of God. You are passing through this world into the world of God. We come to the Father through Jesus (the Door). (On the Symbolism of Holy Doors”, by Dom Albert Hammenstede, O.S.B.

Pope Francis has opened Holy Doors throughout the world during this Holy Year, offering mercy to all those who suffer, who seek forgiveness, compassion and love. I must admit that I didn’t give too much thought to this at first, but upon entering a holy door, I found Jesus waiting for me on the other side. And it occurs to me that all around the world, brothers and sisters in Christ are doing the same, reminding me that we are all connected together.

Take a step and cross the threshold of the Holy Door nearest you because on 20th of November 2016, on the Solemnity of Christ the King, the door will be closed until the next Jubilee Year.


Holy Year of Mercy – My Pilgrimage Part 1

Featured Image Photo Credit: Kristin McCarthy, 2016, Sanctuaire Saint-Annne-de-Beaupré, Beaupré, Quebec, Canada

Pope Francis declares this the Holy Year of Mercy beginning December 8th 2015, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, which will close on November 20th, 2016, on the Solemnity of Christ the King. In many ways, I have benefited from this Jubilee year, but I feel there is so much more to gain. This summer I set out for Quebec, thinking I was going on a 10 day sight seeing camping trip. To my surprise, this holy year led me on a grace filled pilgrimage to five of Quebec’s shrines: St. Francis Xavier Mission in Kahnawake, where St. Kateri is buried, the Canadian National Shrines of St. Joseph’s Oratory (L’Oratoire Saint-Joseph du Mont-Royal) , Saint Anthony’s Hermitage (Ermitage Saint-Antoine de Lac-Bouchette), Sainte Anne de Beaupré (Sanctuaire Saint-Annne-de-Beaupré), Our Lady of the Cape (Sanctuaire Notre-Dame-du-Cap) and the Quebec Provincial Shrine of Notre Dame Cathedral (La Basilique-Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Québec) in Quebec City. Each destination was extremely different than the last, yet each has a Holy Door of Mercy, “…through which anyone who enters will experience the love of God who consoles, pardons, and instils hope.” (Pope Francis, Misericordiae Vultus Bull of Induction 3) I crossed the threshold of 5 Holy Doors of Mercy this summer, each having their own unique characteristics. I invite you to follow my posts as I take you on my Quebec Shrine Tour during this Holy Year of Mercy. I also encourage you, my readers, to take advantage of those Holy Doors that are near you before they close.

As I travelled from shrine to shrine, I began to ask myself, what is mercy? And, what am I being asked to do during this Holy year? The most straightforward answer I can come up with is this: Mercy is forgiveness. It is compassion. I am being asked to open my  heart and pardon those who have hurt or wronged me. But, thankfully, I am not to do this alone for Jesus is with me.

In Misericordiae Vultus, Pope Francis uses several parables to illustrate God the Father’s love for His children, never giving up on us and always forgiving us—mercy everlasting.  

In reply to Peter’s question about how many times it is necessary to forgive, Jesus says: ‘I do not say seven times, but seventy times seventy times’ (Mt 18:22). He then goes on to tell the parable of the ‘ruthless servant’, who, called by his master to return a huge amount, begs him on his knees for mercy. His master cancels his debt. But he then meets a fellow servant who owes him a few cents and who in turn begs on his knees for mercy, but the first servant refuses his request and throws him into jail. When the master hears of the matter, he becomes infuriated and, summoning the first servant back to him, says, ‘Should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ (Mt 18:33). Jesus concludes, ‘So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart’ (Mt 18:35)”. (Mis. Vultus 9)

Jesus tells us mercy is not only an action of His Father, but of us as well.

Thus, Merciful like the Father, is the “motto” of this Holy Year. God wants each of us to be with him. We only need to look to Him and He will come to our aid. Open yourself to the goodness that God can bring you. Ask for His mercy and offer His mercy to those around you.

Pope Francis goes on to say,

“In mercy, we find proof of how God loves us. He gives his entire self, always, freely, asking nothing in return. He comes to our aid whenever we call upon him. What a beautiful thing that the Church begins her daily prayer with the words, “O God, come to my assistance. O Lord, make haste to help me” (Ps 70:2)! The assistance we ask for is already the first step of God’s mercy toward us. He comes to assist us in our weakness. And his help consists in helping us accept his presence and closeness to us. Day after day, touched by his compassion, we also can become compassionate towards others.”  (Pope Francis, Misericordiae Vultus 14)

When you stare mercy in the face, who do you see? Perhaps this is an invitation from Jesus to walk the road of forgiveness. He will either walk right along side you, or carry you if your burden is too great.


Synopsis of “Praying With Francis of Assisi” by Joseph M. Stouzenberger and John D. Bohrer

Praying With Francis of Assisi

By Joseph M. Stoutzenberger and John D. Bohrer.

Saint Mary’s Press, Christian Brothers Publication, Minnesota, 1989

The Spirituality of St. Francis of Assisi

To truly understand Francis and the Franciscan movement one must understand how Francis lived and his commitment to God:

Francis followed the Gospels. He saw them as a “guidebook for living a full and wise life, a divine influence that leads people into passionate involvement in the world, and a treasure chest that contains the words of present and eternal joy.” (Praying with Francis of Assisi, pg 24) The Gospel was his rule, it was the way to God and served as an example of how to live life in spirit and deed. Francis wants us to become the ‘living gospel’ – living, sharing, offering the Good News to those around us. Give to the poor and you’ll have treasure in heaven. He asked his followers to take nothing on their journey.

Franciscan spirituality always gives thanks and praise to God, for His blessings, grace filled moments, His mercy and His love. Joy, knowing that God’s unconditional love for us runs deep and is constant in our suffering and pain. “’Know God’s love for you and live the Gospels. Above all, may Jesus give you peace.’” (pg 25)

Radical Poverty

He lived in radical poverty, despising money. He saw that money separates people from one another. He counseled his followers to avoid touching money and to treat coins as if they were pebbles on the ground. He did not call anything his own.

The heart of Franciscan spirituality is poverty. To be poor is to be deprived, to live in a state of need and dependence. Francis wants us to be insecure, vulnerable, not knowing one day from the next regarding paying your bills or your where your next meal is coming from, including your job and housing. He tells us that poverty can be a virtue as it leads us to recognize that God alone can fill us and supply our desire. We should not only give to the poor, but we should receive from the poor and learn from them. We should strive to give more than what we can spare. Francis believed that our world can be changed.

A Kinship With All People

Francis believed in a kinship with all people and asked God for ‘no privilege’ except that of having none. It implies power and powerlessness, have and have-nots, nobility and commoners. He rejected hierarchy among his followers believing in God as supreme and we are all brothers and sisters. Accept who you are, accept nature, know that God chooses all of us despite our sins to perform His wonderful works. He lived his message he never became a priest and his Little Brothers were without a Father Superior.

Franciscan spirituality calls one to be a ‘child of God’ – be dependent on God giving Him your complete surrender.

“Francis challenges us to let our little child out in to the sunlight. He challenges us to unchain ourselves from the need to control, to rationalize, or to think we can take all the world’s problems on our shoulders. He knew that we stand in relation to God as babies stand in relation to their mothers and fathers: completely dependent, thoroughly in awe and crying to be nourished.” (Praying with St. Francis of Assisi, pg 67)

Oneness With Nature

We should live harmoniously with nature. Francis felt that all of God’s creatures be cherished, protected and nurtured, appreciating the ‘value’ of all things. When we celebrate nature, we are celebrating God’s creation, and when we do this we are celebrating Our Creator. We are not to be above nature or apart from it, we are to care for it.

Embrace your enemy-It was clear in Francis’ attitude that we should ‘love our enemy’. This was clear toward his treatment of Muslims. At the time, Muslims were “wicked profaners of the Holy Places and were enemies of Christ” (Praying with Francis of Assisi, Stoutzenberg and Bohrer, pg 21) But, to Francis they were brothers and sisters who shared the same creator. Francis encouraged his brothers to live among them by simple, Christian virtues.

Acceptance of Suffering

Francis embraced pain and suffering with the same fervor as all dimensions of life. He believed that his own suffering allowed him to enter the sufferings of others and of Jesus. It is in suffering that one finds true joy.


Francis recognized the destructible connection of accumulation of goods with violence and injustice. He witnessed how war encourages people to fight over power and possessions. Francis found The Crusades, wars during this time between Christians and Muslims, to be unholy and was disgusted to see Christian soldiers involved. He walked through enemy territory to the tent of the Sultan al-Kamil, explained the true teachings of Jesus using humble, peace-seeking methods, whereby the Sultan listened intently. This was a breakthrough in communication with Islam. Up until this time, there was only chaos, battle and death.

“Francis and his followers confessed that God is sole owner of the earth and all its goods. They believed that sharing goods– especially with poor and needy people-represents a necessary prerequisite to peacemaking.” (Praying with Francis of Assisi, pg 23)

If we have possessions, then we need arms for their defense. Possessions are the source of quarrels, lawsuits, and wars—they are obstacles to the love of God and one’s neighbor. Peace is rooted in Franciscan spirituality encouraging good will and mutual love to all. Francis heals as he offers hope and comfort to those who are wounded and have lost their way. Seeking peace is brave. It asks you to face your struggle without revenge, greed or anger. Francis knew the power of words, so he taught his companions to say “The Lord give you peace”. Franciscan spirituality asks that we love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. There were no bounds to his love, it was an all-inclusive respect—treating others as you would like to be treated.

Joy and Companionship

Francis and his companions radiated joy. It was the joy of the Beautitudes, the little ones, the lowly, the suffering, the persecuted ones. It was the joy of those who Jesus claimed would inherit the earth and of passionate involvement. He was never alone, always with his companions, even to pray, he was always close to his brothers. Francis honoured all people and valued all who stood before him as we are all relatives, brothers and sisters. We must show compassion to all creatures, human and non-human life. All life is a recognition of God’s presence in everything, no one is superior, everyone and everything is special—all deserve courtesy. We should not look for status, just enjoy the simple things (Holy Simplicity) by spending time with family and friends, enjoy the beauty of nature and the joy of realizing God’s love for us. Living simply “means that we live close enough to the limits of our resources that we can rely on God’s love for us and appreciate the unadorned wonders of Creation.” (Praying with Francis of Assisi, pg 56) Let’s be thankful for humble beauty. Sort out what is luxury, necessary or unnecessary. We live in a world where we are constantly pressured to believe that we don’t have enough stuff, discouraged to share what we do have or to help those around us and are constantly encouraged to acquire more possessions. Francis challenges us by asking us to enjoy life, rather than own it.

Synopsis of “The Life of St. Francis of Assisi” by Paul Sabatier

The Life of St. Francis of Assisi

By Paul Sabatier, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1894.

From Harvard University Library.

A copy of this book is digitized and can be found at

Prepare your heart to suffer all that this world throws at you—humbly and patiently.

In The Early Days

Francis was born in 1182 to a wealthy cloth merchant, Pietro  Bernardone. Merchants who dealt in textiles were among the richest of the time. They were considered nobles as they went from town to town selling their wares, bringing news to the people. His mother, Pica baptized him at the font of San Rufino, actually naming him John, to which his father changed to Francis. In his younger years, Francis enjoyed the life of wealth and all its luxuries. He was cultured, good humoured and well liked. He went to war with a neighbouring state Perugia where he was captured and treated well due to his father’s wealth. When he was released, he had changed and began to feel that his life was empty. Francis began a journey that lead him away from the values and lifestyle he grew up with towards the value and lifestyle of the Gospels. He needed to find worthy causes to sanctify his life. He sought higher truth and wanted to dedicate his life to it.

Francis experienced a pivotal moment. He was riding on horseback one day, hoping to lead a life of pure devotion, when he found himself faced with a leper. His first thought was repulsion, quite a normal response during this time. Following his instinct, he set off in another direction. He stopped himself, disappointed by his cowardice. He went back, dismounted his horse and gave the leper all the money he had with him and “kissed his hand as he would have done a priest.” (pg 26, The Life of St. Francis, by Paul Sabatier, 1894) This marked a new era in Francis’ spirituality and changed him forever.

It is important to understand the Church during this time (1205-1206). Some of the clergy was corrupt and was no longer respected where any real reform seemed impossible. The church had become like society—rich, self-serving and stuffy. Public worship was reduced to mere ceremonies with not much depth. New sects were popping up all the time where people would join a new movement and then go back to their previous group. It was the labourer, the poor and the oppressed who threatened the church at this time because they felt the church was failing them. It was Francis who brought ideas of reform, a return to the Gospels where his preaching effected the whole world. His faith was not intellectual, but rather moral.

He found his love in poverty—the beauty in sunsets, hillsides, animals and people of every social group. The true beauty was to share in the passion of Jesus and the suffering of others. Francis could see the dangers of materialism and actively pursued simple living. People thought he was crazy yet he maintained his charm and good humour. He gave his money, actually his father’s money, to the poor.

Francis was praying at the altar at San Damiano where he found the sanctuary falling apart with only a Byzantine crucifix that was popular in Italy at the time. He was praying that the Lord shed light on the darkness of his mind asking that he act by His holy will. Francis felt something marvelous taking place as he stared at the statue of Jesus—Jesus took on life.

“This union marks the final triumph of Francis. His union with Christ is consummated.” (Life of St. Francis, Sabatier, pg 56) Francis asks how he may repay Jesus for His love. While meditating, Francis believed that repairing the church was his assignment. He responded literally and begged for stones and repaired the little church. Not only was he to rebuild the actual buildings, but also reform it as a community, carrying on the work of Jesus. Francis was not called for his individual salvation, but for our salvation, the church’s living members. This marked a totally new direction for him. It was at this time that his father went looking for him. Francis hid from him for days but knew he couldn’t do this forever. When they did finally meet up, Francis told his father that he was now a ‘servant of Christ’ and that he no longer had to receive orders from him. His father made an appeal to the Magistrates. The Consuls summoned Francis before them whereby he again states that he is a ‘servant of Christ’ and that he didn’t come under their jurisdiction. Not knowing what to do with him, the Consul referred the matter to the diocese. This gave Francis the opportunity to declare himself publicly to the obedience of God. His father renounced and disinherited him. The Bishop advised Francis to give up his property—so standing naked Francis handed his clothes and the little money he had over. Francis states:

“Listen, all of you, and understand it well; until this time I have called Pietro Bernardone my father, but now I desire to serve God. This is why I return to him this money, for which he has given himself so much trouble, as well as my clothing, and all that I have had from him, for from henceforth I desire to say nothing else than ‘Our Father, who art in heaven’.” (Sabatier, pg 61) He trembled with emotion and cold. It was on this day that Francis won many supporters as his words were profound and sincere. Incidentally, the Bishop instructed his gardener to give Francis a simple tunic to wear, to which he was later robbed and the tunic stolen!

Francis actions ran counter to the Spirit of the Age. He gained many followers where they lived among the people restoring churches depending on the generosity of others. They called themselves the “Band of Little Brothers” , a movement, not an Order, living by the Gospels. Here began the Franciscan spirituality—simple, peace-filled, joyful living in harmony with God and nature with great concern and care for the poor.

In the spring of 1208, Francis and the help of good people, finished the restoration of San Damiano – having begged for food, supplies and oil for the church lamps. He went on to repair the sanctuaries of St. Peter and Santa Maria of the Portiuncula, the latter being the centre of the Franciscan movement. Francis was thinking of living his life in meditation and silence, but the Lord had other plans for him. The Lord told him to go out and preach the Kingdom of Heaven, heal the sick and cast out the devil.

The Stigmata

Francis went to Verna (Italy) for quiet prayer with three other brothers. He spoke with his companions about his approaching death, preparing himself with deep prayer and contemplation. He was distressed about the future of the Order, and prayed for new spiritual direction. He was getting older and needed an ass to help him make the trek. Imagine a beautiful scene, with nature at its best– lush trees, plants and birds. Birds flocked to him, hovering around him, perched on his head, shoulders and arms.

Francis went into deep meditation, remembering Golgatha, re-reading the Gospel and asking God to show him the way. It was the eve of a festival “Elevation of the Holy Cross” (sept. 14th) that was hugely celebrated during the 13th Century. During his prayer, he had a vision:

“A seraph, with outspread wings, flew toward him from the edge of the horizon, and bathed his soul in raptures unutterable. In the centre appeared a cross, and the seraph was nailed upon it. When the vision disappeared, he felt sharp sufferings mingling with the ecstasy of the first moments. Stirred to the depths of his being, he was anxiously seeking the meaning of it all, when he perceived upon his body the stigmata of the Crucified”. (Life of St. Francis, pg 295-296) (Francis was the first saint to receive the Stigmata.)

Santa Clara

Clara was born to a wealthy family in 1194 in Assisi. She was 12 years younger than Francis. She heard Francis preach in the Cathedral and was immediately moved by his words. She felt he was speaking directly to her. Clara decided to break away from the luxurious life and make herself a servant of the poor, living for only love and poverty. Clara offered herself to Francis, not in a way that we could understand today, but consecrating her life to the Gospels—to the poor. Both she and Francis had a love that was not of this earth, it was a ’holy love’. Francis received her into the Order: She met him at St. Damiano, vowed to conform her life to the Brothers, “her hair was cut off, all was finished”. (Life of St. Francis, pg 152) She left her life for the life of poverty where Francis sent her to a house of Benedictine nuns. Clara’s father, Favorino, was extremely unhappy but realized the strong convictions of his daughter.

It was when Clara’s sister Agnes joined the Order that their father became truly angered. Francis knew that other women wanted to join them, so he set them up at St. Damiano under his direction, with Clara leading the sisters and Francis lead the Brothers. Clara and Francis became a community together, with the sisters and brothers helping each other serving the poor and living the Gospels.

Clara survived Francis 27 years. She fought daily for the Franciscan ideal. She defended Francis to others and even to himself. When Francis doubted his own mission, it was Clara that became his rock.

Canticle of the Sun

After receiving the stigmata, Francis went from town to town preaching, evangelizing and performing miracles. He healed a friar who was possessed. He helped a woman who had been lying several days between death and life unable to give birth to her child. The friars brought the horse’ bridle that Francis had touched, laid it on the woman’s body, and she was then able to give birth to her child without the slightest pain. He also healed a woman who suffered from nervous disorders.

He found himself internally tormented, his sight had been taken away with only Clare comforting him. He took to living in a cave, where in his darkness he composed the Canticle of the Sun. Joy had returned to Francis as deep as ever. His writings were minimal, but Francis did leave us with inspirational words. In his last year, Francis wrote letters as his way of evangelizing because he could no longer travel.

Francis died ‘in the arms of Lady Poverty” on October 3, 1226. His Feast day is October 4th.

Canticle of the Sun

Most high, omnipotent, good Lord,
Praise, glory and honor and benediction all, are Thine.
To Thee alone do they belong, most High,
And there is no man fit to mention Thee.

Praise be to Thee, my Lord, with all Thy creatures,
Especially to my worshipful brother sun,
The which lights up the day, and through him dost Thou brightness give;
And beautiful is he and radiant with splendor great;
Of Thee, most High, signification gives.

Praised be my Lord, for sister moon and for the stars,
In heaven Thou hast formed them clear and precious and fair. p. 153

Praised be my Lord for brother wind
And for the air and clouds and fair and every kind of weather,
By the which Thou givest to Thy creatures nourishment.
Praised be my Lord for sister water,
The which is greatly helpful and humble and precious and pure.

Praised be my Lord for brother fire,
By the which Thou lightest up the dark.
And fair is he and gay and mighty and strong.

Praised be my Lord for our sister, mother earth,
The which sustains and keeps us
And brings forth diverse fruits with grass and flowers bright.

Praised be my Lord for those who for Thy love forgive
And weakness bear and tribulation.
Blessed those who shall in peace endure,
For by Thee, most High, shall they be crowned.
Praised be my Lord for our sister, the bodily death,
From the which no living man can flee.
Woe to them who die in mortal sin;
Blessed those who shall find themselves in Thy most holy will,
For the second death shall do them no ill.

Praise ye and bless ye my Lord, and give Him thanks,
And be subject unto Him with great humility.