By Sr. Jean Marie Cleveland, OSF ’64, Vice President for
This is one of the most exciting times of the year in the
Franciscan calendar. We celebrate the feast days of our founders
and remember two of the holiest places in our history.
August 2 is the Feast of Our Lady of the Angels. This small
chapel, often called the Portiuncula or Little Portion, is called
the “cradle of Franciscanism.” It is the third chapel Saint Francis
repaired after he heard the call “Francis, go repair My house for
it is falling into ruin.” Here he began to understand his service
to God. Here he greeted Clare and accepted her into a life of
following the Gospel. Here he died!
August 11 is the Feast of Saint Clare, the young noble woman
who heard Francis preach and left her home to respond to the
call she heard. Clare lived at San Damiano with other women who
wanted to follow the Gospel and live lives of dedication to Jesus.
September 17 is the Feast of the Stigmata of Saint Francis which
celebrates his receiving the wounds of Christ in his hands, feet,
and side. This happened on Mount LaVerna—a rugged mountain
October 3 is the anniversary of the death of Saint Francis. It is
celebrated with a Transitus service—a service to remember his
passing from life to death. Franciscans world-wide celebrate this
solemn event the evening of October 3.
October 4 is the Feast of Saint Francis. As a young man, he
wanted to become a knight in the Crusades. He and his group
of knights were captured and imprisoned. Later he left for the
Crusades again but decided that was not what he should do
with his life. Gradually, he realized that he was called to follow
the Gospel. His new life caught the attention of other young men
who joined him. Today he has followers in three
orders: The First Order is priests and brothers;
The Second Order is Poor Clares, women who
follow Clare; The Third Order is made up of
priests, brothers, and sisters in the “Regular”
Order and men and women from every branch
of life in the “Secular” Order.
We Franciscans consider ourselves follower of
Francis and Clare who followed Christ in His
mission of love and service.