• San Francesco d'Assisi


   St Francis, Patron Saint of Italy

St Francis of Assisi was born in Assisi in 1182 and died in 1226. He was born Giovanni Francis Bernardone, child of a rich cloth merchant and was educated in Latin, French, and Provencal literature. As a young man, he lived a happy-go-lucky and worldly life. He participated in the war between Assisi and Perugia and was held prisoner for more than one year, during which he suffered a serious illness that would lead him to radically change his lifestyle.
Returning to Assisi in 1205, Francis devoted himself to works of charity among the lepers and started to undertake the restoration of ruined religious buildings. While visiting the ruined church of Saint Damian in Assisi, he had a vision, who ordered him to restore the church. Francis' father, angry about the changes in his son, disinherited him. Francis then stripped off his rich clothes in front of the Bishop of Assisi and devoted the following three years to the care of the poor men and the lepers in the woods of Mount Subasio.
One day in 1208, during Mass in the Chapel of Santa Maria degli Angeli, Francis received an invitation to go out in the world and, according to the text of the Gospel of St Matthew (10:5-14), to deprive himself of everything in order to do good anywhere he could.
Returning to Assisi the same year, Francis began his preaching, gathering around himself twelve followers who became the first brothers of his order, the Franciscans. They elected Francis their superior, choosing for their house the Church of the Porziuncola.
In 1210 the order was recognized by Pope Innocent III. Around 1212, after preaching in various Italian regions, Francis set out for the Holy Land, but a shipwreck forced him to return and other problems prevented him from taking his mission to Spain, where he had intended to convert the Moors to Christianity.

Francis wanted to become a knight

In 1219 he travelled to Egypt, where he preached before the sultan, without however succeeding in converting him. He then went on to the Holy Land, remaining there until 1220. On his return to Assisi, he found disagreements among the monks and resigned from his post as superior, devoting himself to what would be the third order of Franciscans. He retired to the mountain of La Vernain September 1224 and after 40 days of fasting and suffering, joyfully received the Stigmata, the marks of the crucifixion, on his body.

Francis receives the Stigmata

Francis was brought to Assisi, where he remained for years marked by physical suffering and almost totally blind. Nevertheless his love for God and his creation never weakened and was expressed in the Canticle of the Sun, composed in Assisi in 1225. In it the Sun and nature are praised as brothers and sisters and it contains a verse in which Saint Francis preaches to the birds.
Francis, who is patron Saint of Italy, was canonized in 1228 by Pope Gregory IX.

Assisi, City of Peace

Canticle of the Creatures

The prayer by St. Francis of Assisi

Highest, omnipotent good Lord!
Yours are the praises, the glory, and the honour and all blessing

To you, alone, Most High, do they belong.
No human lips are worthy To pronounce Your name.

Praised be You, my Lord with all Your creatures
Especially our brother, Master Sun
Who brings the day and the light that warms us he
that is beautiful and radiant In all his splendour!
He brings meaning of You, O Most High.

Praised be You, my Lord For Sister Moon and the Stars;
In the heavens You have made them Precious and beautiful.

Praised be You, my Lord Through Brothers Wind
And air, and clouds and storms, and all the weather,
Through which You give sustenance Your creatures.

Praised be You, my Lord For Sister Water;
So very useful, and humble and precious, and chaste.

Praised be You, my Lord For Brother Fire,
Through whom you brighten the night.
He who is beautiful and gay and vigorous and strong.

Praised be You, my Lord For our sister Mother Earth
Who feeds and governs us,
and produces various fruits And coloured flowers and plants

Praised be You, my Lord For those who forgive out of love for You;
And endure sickness and trial.

Happy those who endure in peace
For by you, Most High, they shall be crowned.

Praised be You, my Lord For our Sister Bodily Death,
From whose embrace no living person can escape.
Woe to those who die in mortal sin!
Happy those she finds Doing your most holy will.
The second death can do no harm to them!

Praise and bless my Lord And give thanks
And serve him with great humility.



Preghiera scritta da SAN FRANCESCO D’ASSISI (in lingua volgare)

Altissimu, onnipotente bon Signore,
Tue so' le laude, la gloria e l'honore et onne benedictione.

Ad Te solo, Altissimo, se konfano,
et nullu homo ène dignu te mentovare.

Laudato sie, mi' Signore cum tucte le Tue creature,
spetialmente messor lo frate Sole,
lo qual è iorno, et allumeni noi per lui.
Et ellu è bellu e radiante cum grande splendore:
de Te, Altissimo, porta significatione.

Laudato si', mi Signore, per sora Luna e le stelle:
in celu l'ài formate clarite et pretiose et belle.

Laudato si', mi' Signore, per frate Vento
et per aere et nubilo et sereno et onne tempo,
per lo quale, a le Tue creature dài sustentamento.

Laudato si', mi' Signore, per sor Aqua,
la quale è multo utile et humile et pretiosa et casta.

Laudato si', mi Signore, per frate Focu,
per lo quale ennallumini la nocte:
ed ello è bello et iocundo et robustoso et forte.

Laudato si', mi' Signore, per sora nostra matre Terra,
la quale ne sustenta et governa,
et produce diversi fructi con coloriti flori et herba.

Laudato si', mi Signore, per quelli che perdonano per lo Tuo amore
et sostengono infirmitate et tribulatione.

Beati quelli ke 'l sosterranno in pace,
ka da Te, Altissimo, sirano incoronati.

Laudato si' mi Signore, per sora nostra Morte corporale,
da la quale nullu homo vivente po' skappare:
guai a quelli ke morrano ne le peccata mortali;
beati quelli ke trovarà ne le Tue sanctissime voluntati,
ka la morte secunda no 'l farrà male.

Laudate et benedicete mi Signore et rengratiate
e serviateli cum grande humilitate.




Visit of the church of San Francesco in Gravina in Puglia






Interview with Padre Giovanni

Who was San Francesco?
San Francesco was a very rich man from Assisi. His father was a fabric salesman. One day, while he was praying in the church of San Damiano, he heard a voice coming from the cross. It said and repeated three times: "Francesco, go to my house. You will see it is all falling apart, go there and fix it." Francesco sold everything he had and repaired the church.

Why you and San Francesco are dressed the same way?
Because San Francesco took off his dress and put on the tunica. We are his followers and thus wear his same clothes to remember poverty.

Can you tell us something about San Francesco's life, please?
San Francesco loved all living beings because they were created by God. He used to talk with animals. One day he talked with a wolf and he convinced the wolf never to fight anyone.

What did San Francesco write?
San Francesco left us many writings: Fioretti, The Hymns to the living Creatures and the Simple Prayer.