Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi

By Jay Walljasper, Utne Reader
September/October 1999 Issue
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His transformation from a pampered 13th-century playboy to a devout brother of the poor, friend of animals, and impassioned celebrant of nature makes Francis one of the most fascinating saints. Renouncing the privilege of his wealthy merchant family, he stripped naked in the central piazza of Assisi and strode out of town toward a new life of uncertainty, poverty, and ecstatic appreciation of all God's creations. His feast day is observed in churches around the world with blessings for pets and farm animals brought to the altar. Tom Cowan, author of The Way of Saints, offers this prayer for the day: "Francis, give me the serenity to live simply and distinguish my needs from my wants.

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