The Lover of Lady Poverty

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Saint Francis Renounces His Father – Stefano di Giovanni

“Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”

When I were a lass, Francis was quite a popular saint; also, due to the film Brother Sun, Sister Moon, he was seen as a bit dishy as well. The theme song was sung by Donovan, the British Bob Dylan, a sort of  ‘7os minstrel best known for his version of Universal Soldier. (What with the ’60s, folk-rock, Vatican II, The Pill, weed and the general melange of the counter-culture, it’s not that surprising that some in the Church went wildly off the rails.)

But….Saint Francis was not wholly the bunny-loving hippy we children thought he was. In early life he was a wealthy, fun-loving bachelor, a soldier who had a spriritual rebirth that led him to defy his father, a rich silk merchant, side with the poor and found the Franciscan order. He travelled to Egypt to convert the Sultan, set out on several foreign missionary ventures and called people to a life of poverty and repentance in emulation of our Lord.  Franciscans get everywhere: in my local area there are several different sorts, including, confusingly, Anglican Franciscans, all preaching and living the Gospels and serving the poor – who are, in this area, always with us.

Quite a guy.

 

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The Sermon To The Birds – Giotto

“Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.”

 

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