Subscribe

Was Saint Francis a Poet?

  A little-known fact about Saint Francis of Assisi is that he is considered one of the first Italian poets by literary critics. His “Canticle of the Creatures” combined his love for God with his mastery of poetry.
Read More

W.W.J.D.D? (What Would Jesus' Disciples Do?)

Imagine your best friends hanging out. Think about the things you do with them, the inside jokes you have, the conversations that you’ll never forget, or the days that brought you closer. This must be something like Jesus and his Apostles.
Read More

The Padua Program: Called to Serve

Francis and Clare of Assisi were reluctant leaders. I have spent a lot of time wondering why people followed them. Initially, Francis’ charismatic personality attracted people. Clare was attracted by Francis’ preaching, and they quietly began a conversation perhaps about what is important and what is unimportant for living a Christ-like life. 
Read More

Four Great Spanish Saints

Last spring, 40 pilgrims, with me serving as chaplain, crossed northern Spain by motor-bus. We had the good fortune to visit—in the following sequence—the shrines and birthplaces of four prominent Spanish saints: Saint Teresa of Avila, Saint John of the Cross, Saint Ignatius Loyola, and Saint Francis Xavier. I’m pleased to share these memories so that readers can follow our path across Spain and become better acquainted with these inspiring saints.
Read More

The Franciscan Saints: Padre Pio

Capuchin Friar, Mystic (1887–1968) Padre Pio, a Capuchin friar of peasant background, spent virtually his entire life in a monastery in southern Italy. In most respects he was indistinguishable from his fellow friars. But for some mysterious purpose, Padre Pio was set apart. For the thousands of pilgrims who flocked to hear him say Mass, or to have him hear their confessions, or simply to rest their gaze on his bandaged hands, he was living proof for the existence of God.
Read More

The Franciscan Saints: Margaret of Cortona

Third Order Franciscan (1247–1297) Saint Margaret was raised in a poor family in Tuscany. Following the death of her mother when Margaret was just eleven, a new stepmother turned her out of the house. Eventually, with few apparent options, she eloped with a young nobleman, who kept her as his mistress. Though she bore him a son, he would not marry her.
Read More

The Franciscan Saints: Solanus Casey

Capuchin Friar (1870–1957) Solanus Casey, the son of Irish immigrants in Wisconsin, felt called to the priesthood after witnessing a drunken sailor stabbing a woman. Somehow, this scene of sin and suffering caused Casey to dedicate himself to God and to promote God’s love as the answer to the world’s troubles.
Read More

The Franciscan Saints: Franz Jägerstätter

Third Order Franciscan, Conscientious Objector and Martyr (1907–1943) Franz Jägerstätter, an Austrian peasant and devout Catholic, was executed for refusing to serve in Hitler’s army. He was known in his village of St. Radegund as a man of honesty and principle, devoted to his family and his faith, a sacristan in his parish church, who in 1940 had joined the Third Order of St. Francis.
Read More

The Franciscan Saints: Bonaventure

Minister General of the Order, Doctor of the Church (1221–1274) Bonaventure, who was born to a wealthy family in Orvieto, joined the Franciscans around 1238 in the midst of his studies at the University of Paris. Saint Francis had died only some dozen years before, but already his order was rapidly changing the face of the Church in Europe. To Bonaventure, it seemed that the Franciscan Order “was not invented by human providence but by Christ. In it, the learned and the simple lived as brethren.” 
Read More

The Franciscan Saints: Matt Talbot

Third Order Franciscan (1856–1925) Matt Talbot was one of twelve children born to a poor family in Dublin. His addiction to alcohol began at twelve, when he got his first job with a wine merchant. Before long, drink had become the primary focus of his life. All the wages he earned carrying bricks went to support his addiction. What funds he lacked, he begged, borrowed, or stole.
Read More