Franciscan Footprints

Feast of St Francis Table CenterpieceHappy Feast of Saint Francis!  As you know, for us Franciscans, October 4th is a BIG deal!

First of all, in the Catholic Church, we celebrate the day a person and/or saint begins their eternal life, rather than their birthday.  In the church calendar, Saint Francis’ feast day is October 4th, even though he passed onto eternal life the evening of October 3rd.  The death of Saint Francis is quite the story….FrancisCorps, in their 2012 blog, describes it as Saint Francis Embraces Sister Death.

In the Sisters of the Third Order of Saint Francis, how do we celebrate and prepare?

We began with a novena to St Francis, starting on September 25th.  Last Friday we held a “community” reconciliation service, with readings and prayers related to Saint Francis.  On October 3rd, we abstain from meat and fast and, on the evening of October 3rd, we celebrate the Transitus of St. Francis with a special service.  On October 4th, we celebrate!  Of course, the biggest celebration is the Mass, as a solemnity!  Then, there’s a festive meal at noon.  Furthermore, we decorate both our convent chapel and the main hospital chapel for the feast, and even our dining room table in honor of Saint Francis.  This year, we have a “St. Francis Statue Garden” theme (see image.  This was an early version of the centerpiece.  It kept evolving as each Sister added their own statues to the garden!)

PAWS logoAt the hospital chapel, there will be a special Mass, with the OSF Choir, plus, on October 6th, a blessing ceremony of the PAWS 4 Healing volunteers – that is, a blessing of therapy dogs!  Blessings of the animals has been a tradition for many Christians, not just Catholics, over the years.  See here, my kitty, Sassy, getting blessed a few years ago! (The caption is incorrect, the photo really is Sassy & I, not Samantha & Caryl.)

The way this community celebrates the feast of Saint Francis brings me such joy & I am humbled to be a new Franciscan!

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