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Saint of the Day for 04 October: St Francis of Assisi

St Francis of Assisi: the life and message of the patron saint of Italy


Giovanni di Pietro di Bernardone


Patron Saint of Italy


26 September 1182, Assisi


03 October 1226, Assisi


04 October


2004 edition


16 July 1228, Assisi, Pope Gregory IX


Most glorious Saint Francis, from the luminous throne of glory, which your virtues have merited, turn your benign gaze upon me and upon the whole of society. What will become, O great Saint, of so many unfortunates, who delude themselves in following the dictates of the passions and the vanity of that science, which in the denial of all truth and subversion of all order, open the abyss of eternal death? O dear Saint, you who by your word and example restored health to a dying society, and who distinguished yourself so marvellously in the love of Jesus Christ as to merit the imprint of the sacred stigmata on this sacred mountain, obtain for us, fervent in that faith which renounces all disordered passions and renounces all worldly follies, that by imitating you perfectly in the love of God and neighbour on this miserable earth, we may come to share in your glory in holy Paradise.

Patron Saint of

Umbria, Napoli, Venezia, Massa, Baronissi, Cavallino-Treporti, Salice Salentino, Taglio di Po, Serino, Cancello ed Arnone

Protector of

Animali, coccinelle, commercianti,  ecologisti, Italia, lupetti

Roman Martyrology

Assisi, in Umbria, is the birthplace of St Francis, Levite and Confessor. Founder of three Orders, namely the Friars Minor, the Poor Women, and the Brothers and Sisters of Penance. His life, full of holiness and miracles, was written by Saint Bonaventure.


The Saint and Mission

The life of St Francis of Assisi represents a shining light in the path of those who pursue a mission of love and service, becoming a symbol of a vocation expressed through humility, poverty and an unconditional love for every creature. In him, the mission does not only translate into a work of evangelisation in the traditional sense of the term, but takes on the appearance of a life lived in total self-disclosure, in a love that knows no bounds and extends to every living being, human or otherwise.

The Franciscan mission is rooted in an encounter, that between Francis and the poor and suffering Christ, revealing a path that leads him beyond the boundaries of the self, beyond comfort and security, to embrace an existence marked by precariousness, sharing and total trust in Providence. Francis’ mission is enveloped by a love that takes on the wounds of the other, that makes itself a neighbour, a travelling companion, that welcomes without judging, that embraces without excluding.

The saint of Assisi shows us that the true mission is realised not so much in doing as in being. Being presence, being a refuge, being a voice for the voiceless. His existence thus becomes a living testimony of the Love that touched and transformed him, becoming himself an instrument of that mystery of love and grace that embraced him.

Through his life and work, Francis of Assisi shows us how the authentic mission is rooted in a profound listening to the other, in a welcome that does not set conditions, in a love that gives itself without measure. His poverty, his humility, his being a minor among minors, become an instrument through which the message of the Gospel finds its way, touching hearts and generating conversion.

It is a mission that does not shout in the markets, that does not impose itself, but that makes itself small, that becomes leaven in the bread of history, salt that satiates existence. Francis does not teach us a mission of conquest, but of service; not of success, but of faithfulness; not of power, but of fragility that entrusts itself to the Other.

In a world that often measures success by efficiency and productivity, the model of mission proposed by St Francis of Assisi challenges us, inviting us to rediscover the authentic face of the Christian mission: that of a presence that knows how to listen, of a hand that knows how to support, of a heart that knows how to share, in a daily becoming neighbour, the image of a God who does not keep away, but who becomes a travelling companion, in the lightness of a fraternity that knows how to welcome and celebrate.

The Saint and Mercy

St Francis of Assisi, an eminent figure undeniably imbued with a profound spirituality, has spanned the centuries not only as an icon of the Christian faith, but also as a universal symbol of mercy and unconditional love towards his neighbour and the whole of creation. His life, enriched by a path of profound personal conversion, unfolds as a finely woven fabric of humility, dedication and, above all, of a mercy that goes beyond simple piety, plunging into the deep abysses of active compassion.

Francis’ mercy does not remain an abstract concept or a passing sentiment, but becomes action, becomes a life choice, becoming concrete in tangible gestures of care towards the marginalised, towards those who suffer, towards the whole of creation. In him, mercy is revealed through the gentle embrace of lepers, in reaching out a hand to the outcast and in seeing, in every creature, a sign of divine love.

Francis teaches us that mercy is a round trip: in giving one is enriched, in forgiving one is forgiven. His life opens in a constant dialectic between giving and receiving, in an uninterrupted flow of love that knows no barriers and expresses itself in a universal fraternity, including not only human beings but all forms of life.

In his own relationship with nature, Francis sees an expression of divine mercy, recognising in every creature a brother or sister, and learning, from their simple and unimaginative existence, the value of praise and trust in the Creator, even in the difficulties and storms of life.

The example of Francis of Assisi not only invites us to contemplate divine mercy, but urges us to incarnate it, to make it flesh of our flesh, gaze of our gaze. He calls us to become instruments of that same mercy, to carry it along the dusty paths of our days, to welcome it not as a mere concept, but as a way of life. Mercy, then, becomes not just a pitiful gaze, but a step towards the other, a gesture that embraces, a word that welcomes and restores.

In a world that often appears marked by indifference and isolation, the figure of St Francis emerges as a luminous and necessary reminder, a guide towards a lived, palpable mercy, which, by crossing the barriers of selfishness and indifference, can generate islands of hope and authentic communities, where everyone can feel welcomed, loved and forgiven.


S. Francis was born in Assisi in the year 1182 to Pietro Bernardone and Madonna Pica, wealthy merchants. His birth was surrounded by mysterious events: a beggar, who presented himself to Madonna Giovanna Pica, a few days before Francis’ birth, told her: “The sun will soon come out within these walls…”. “On the very day of the birth, his mother having collapsed from the pains of childbirth, another pilgrim said to her: “Everything will be fine, as long as the mother is taken to the stable”, and so…


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