It’s October 4! That means that today we celebrate St. Francis of Assisi! A man who cast aside all his wealth (and garments, too!…read the story if you’re unfamiliar) to build a religious, Gospel-driven life, restore the church, and be Jesus to the least in his day: lepers. Known as the patron saint of animals, many parishes offer a pet blessing today. St. Francis, pray for us!
I think, though, that the true legacy of St. Francis should not be in his treatment of and love for animals; nor, even, should it be in his famous “make me a channel of your peace” prayer or his Canticle of the Sun. It should be, especially in this month and in this culture, his upholding of a human’s inherent right to life with dignity.
For those of you who are unaware, lepers were highly contagious, almost certainly a death sentence, and made to live as outsiders and sub-humans in the culture of the time. Francis bathed them, fed them, clothed them, and gave them something no one else would: a few moments of his time.
Many saints have been Franciscan, and it is this St. Francis from whom our pope chose his moniker. Several orders have also been founded under the patronage of St. Francis, and why not? He’s quite an inspiration.
We recently stumbled across the Franciscan Sisters of Dillingen in the United States through the blogosphere. They continue St. Francis’s legacy of treating humans…as humans, and provide many resources on their website through videos, prayers, retreats, and a blog.
I think that, sometimes, we see sisters as out-of-reach and unrelatable to those of us in the marriage-wife-and-motherhood vocation. We’re wrong to think that. Just look at this blog post from the sisters entitled “No Time for Baking?'” and you’ll see that they have so much in common with us!
I humbly submit to you, on this feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, to go read some of their blog posts, check out their website, and consider donating to their mission. It is, after all, Respect Life Month, and helping them in their mission will help us all be the hands and feet of Christ.