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St. Francis of Assisi


October 4

Francis was born at Assisi in Umbria and, following his father’s example, as a young man became a merchant. After recovering from a very serious illness he began most eagerly to undertake works of charity and, since his father indignantly objected, he gave up to him everything he had, adding that henceforth he had a better right to say, “Our Father who art in Heaven.” Having heard the Gospel words concerning the poverty of Apostles, he took off his sandals and kept only one cloak and, when he had gained twelve disciples, founded the Order of Friars Minor. This was confirmed by Pope Innocent III, who has been divinely forewarned, and it spread in a wonderful way.

Later Francis went to the solitude of Mount Alvernia where, on the day of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, he received the stigmata from a Seraph carrying between his wings the image of the Crucified; the traces of the nails and the lance then appeared in his hands, feet and side.

Two years afterwards he fell very ill and, in the Church of St. Mary of the Angels where he had received the spirit of grace from God, he exhorted the brothers to poverty, patience and the preservation of the faith of the holy Roman Church and, on October 4, most lovingly breathed forth his soul.

Taken from The Hours of the Divine Office in English and Latin, Vol. III: August to Advent (Collegeville, Minnesota: Liturgical Press, 1963), pp. 1621-1622.