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St. Francis of Assisi & St. Clare Favarone
Brother Sun, Sister Moon - Watercolor Painting Dimensions - 14.75" X 20.5"

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Born in Assisi, Italy in 1181, to a wealthy merchant father and a doting French mother, Francis lived the decadent life of a nobleman, drinking and carousing, though he was well-educated and could speak several languages, & even courted Clare Favorino, the beautiful daughter of a local count. He gallantly joined Assisi’s army against Perugia, and was captured in 1201; he almost died during his year as captive, and this experience sobered his spirit and made him look at the world in a different way. Francis was changed man, when he was ransomed by his father & brought back home. He began to avoid his former friends, and spent much time in meditation in the quiet countryside; he also took to nursing lepers at the infirmary.

After a pilgrimage to Rome, he experienced a divine vision at the old St. Damiano Church, in which an icon of the crucified Christ spoke to him 3 times, asking him to repair His Church. At first Francis took this quite literally, but later understood the request in a deeper way. In 1209, clad in rough garments, barefoot, with a rope around his waist, he became determined to live the simple life as the disciples of Christ did, begging for his food and living a life of abstinence. Many of his friends joined him, & that year he led them to Rome to ask permission of Pope Innocent III to form an order. At first he was refused, but the Holy Father had a dream in which a poor & ragged man was holding up a crumbling Church, and so he consented. Later, Clare came to Francis, cut her hair, put on simple garments, & declared that she too wished to join his order; many of her companions came with her, and the Poor Clares were formed in 1212.

Many stories are told of St. Francis, who was known for his love of nature & kindness to all God’s creatures. During a sermon, when nearby birds twittered too loudly, he asked them to stop and preached to them a sermon on quietness, which they seemed to listen to intently . He also tamed the Wolf of Gubbio by asking him why he terrorized the village & ate their children—the wolf communicated that he was simply starving, so Francis asked the people to make sure the wolf was fed each day, and he became tame. A rabbit that he saved from a trap, followed him everywhere until Francis gently told him to go back to his family. During the latter part of his life, Francis received the stigmata during a dramatic vision of an angel on a wheel of flame. Worn away with suffering and toil, he paid one last visit to Clare, before dying October 3, 1226. Clare followed him in 1253. They remain among the most beloved saints of all time.


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