Born to a prosperous family in Assisi, St. Francis realized as a young man that his life was to take a different course than one of earthly wealth and status. At a time when the Church needed a voice and witness to simplicity and total surrender to the generosity of God, Francis became a poor man because of his love for Jesus.
One day, during prayer at the church of St. Damian, Francis heard God speak to him through the cross of this beautiful, though neglected building. He heard the words, “Francis, go and repair My house.” He immediately began to restore the structure itself, only later to understand that God had called Francis to restore the Church in spirit and truth.
In 1224 Francis received the Stigmata, the wounds of Christ, through which he grew in great holiness and closeness to the sufferings of the Lord. Francis was known for his gentle manner and humble heart, preaching the Good News even to the birds of the forest and fellowshipping with the wild animals living in the surrounding lands. Indeed, Francis considered all creation his family.
The founder of the Friars Minor, Francis made significant contributions to the growth of Christianity and the medieval Church.
In this icon Francis is shown with a symbol of the Cross of Santo Damiano and a dove of light. The forty-five main feathers comprising the dove’s tail and wings is equal to the number of years Francis walked this earth as a symbol of peace and purity in a troubled world.
(This narrative is printed on the back of Note Cards. A copy is included with each plaque, poster and photo.)
A Blessing of the Animals
Blessed are you, Lord God, maker of all living creatures. On the fifth and sixth days of creation, you called forth fish in the sea, birds in the air and animals on the land. You inspired St. Francis to call all of them his brothers and sisters. We ask you to bless the animals and all living creatures. By the power of your love, enable them to live according to your plan. May we always praise you for all your beauty in creation. Blessed are you, Lord our God, in all your creatures! Amen.
(This prayer is printed on the back of Prayer Cards only.)
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