In my book, The Franciscan Saints, I selected more than a hundred Franciscans—many, but not all, drawn from the long list of official Franciscan saints.
Beginning with the founders, Francis and Clare and their first generation of followers, they include friars, women religious, and the diverse family of tertiary or Third Order Franciscans, a company comprised of laypeople, clergy, and even popes.
As the original Franciscan message spread like wildfire through the kingdoms of Europe, many of the early followers were sons and daughters of royalty, suddenly moved to renounce their power and privilege. There followed preachers and penitents, hermits and vagabonds, poets, theologians, missionaries and martyrs. Some of them lived in organized religious communities. Others were immersed in the world of family, work, and secular life. And yet they are linked by a family resemblance. Among the notable features: evangelical zeal, humility and simplicity of life, closeness to the poor, a spirit of prayer, and a certain freedom from the cares of a world preoccupied with greatness, power, and grandiose ambitions.
Clearly, the influence of Saint Francis extends beyond the company of his avowed followers. Here is a collection of quotes from some of his followers—starting with Francis himself.
Praised be you, my Lord, with all your creatures, especially Brother Sun, who is the day through whom you give us light. And he is beautiful and radiant with great splendor; of you, Most High, he bears the likeness. Saint Francis of Assisi
Our labor here is brief, but the reward is eternal. Do not be disturbed by the clamor of the world, which passes like a shadow. Do not let false delights of a deceptive world deceive you. Saint Clare of Assisi
This morning my soul is greater than the world since it possesses you, you whom heaven and earth do not contain. Saint Margaret of Cortona
As I hope in thee, O Lord, inspire me with that confidence, which brings me to thy holy mountain. Saint Agnes of Assisi
Since happiness is nothing else than the enjoyment of the supreme good, and the supreme good is above us, no one can enjoy happiness unless he rises above himself. Saint Bonaventure
In losing all, the soul has risen To the pinnacle of the measureless; Because it has renounced all That is not divine, It now holds in its grasp The unimaginable Good In all its abundance, A loss and a gain impossible to describe. Blessed Jacopone of Todi
Be a Catholic: When you kneel before an altar, do it in such a way that others may be able to recognize that you know before whom you kneel. Saint Maximilian Maria Kolbe
We should ever be grateful for and love the vocation to which God has called us. This applies to every vocation because, after all, what a privilege it is to serve God, even in the least capacity! Blessed Solanus Casey
We should ever be grateful for and love the vocation to which God has called us. This applies to every vocation because, after all, what a privilege it is to serve God, even in the least capacity! Saint John XXIII
My past, O Lord, to your mercy; my present, to your love; my future to your providence. Saint Padre Pio
I think the difference between me and some people is that I'm content to do my little bit. Sometimes people think they have to do big things in order to make change. But if each one would light a candle we'd have a tremendous light. Servant of God Thea Bowman
When I don’t know what’s next, I get down on my knees and pray, Lord, take me, mold me, fashion me, show me what You want. Then I watch and listen, and it will come. Mychal Judge, OFM