A daily study of the Network’s diverse faiths
San Francesco d’Assisi (St Francis of Assisi OFM, Giovanni di Pietro di Bernardone, Franciscus Assisiensis) (1181-1226). Feast day and Lutheran Commemoration of the rich Italian Catholic from Assisi, who was originally named by his mother after John the Baptist and was a renewer of the church, friar, deacon, Confessor of the Faith, philosopher, mystic, stigmatist and preacher. After a wild youth and a year’s imprisonment in 1202 during a local war, in 1208 he was inspired to devote himself to a life of poverty and attracted eleven followers (friars), composing a simple Rule for them, the Regula Primitiva (Primitive Rule). In Rome, the Pope agreed to admit the group informally and it was tonsured and then endorsed to become the Order of Friars Minor (Lesser Brothers, Franciscan Order, Seraphic Order) and preach in Umbria and then throughout Italy. The young noblewoman Clare of Assisi wished to live like Francis and in 1212 they established the Order of Poor Ladies and founded the first monastery of the Second Franciscan Order, now known as the Poor Clares. In 1213, he was given the use of the 4,209 ft mountain of La Verna (Alverna) 50 miles west of Florence, which became one of his favourite retreats for prayer. That same year, he embarked for Morrocco but was taken ill in Spain and returned home to join the 1219 Fifth Crusade to Egypt, preaching to the Muslims and visiting Acre in the Second Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem before returning to Italy in 1220. For those laity or clergy who could not leave their homes, in 1221 Francis formed the Third Order of Brothers and Sisters of Penance, which soon grew beyond Italy. Francis is known for his love of the Eucharist and in 1223 he arranged for the first Christmas live nativity scene. According to Christian tradition, in 1224 on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross in a religious ecstasy he received the stigmata during the apparition of a Seraphic angel, which would make him the first person in Christian tradition to bear the wounds of Christ’s Passion. Francis is one of the most venerated religious figures in Christianity and an inspiration to people of all faiths and none, a truly catholic and apostolic man. Although born in the Twelfth Century, he belongs to all ages. He died at his birthplace of Assisi during the evening hours of 3 October 1226, singing Psalm 141 Voce mea ad Dominium (I call to You, Lord). Venerated in Catholic and Old Catholic Churches, Anglican Communion, Lutheranism. Major shrine Basilica of San Francesco d’Assisi in Assisi. Patron of Franciscan Order, ecology, animals, merchants, stowaways, Naga, Cebu and Italy. Image: youtube.com.
Prayer Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love, where there is injury, pardon, where there is doubt, faith, where there is despair, hope, where there is darkness, light, and where there is sadness, joy. Divine Master, grant that I may console and pardon. Amen
Theodor Fliedner (1800-64). Lutheran Commemoration of the death of the German philanthropist, Lutheran minister and renewer of society born in Eppstein who was the founder of Lutheran deaconess training and of the 1836 Kaiserswerther Diakonie, a hospital and Lutheran deaconess training centre. Together with his wives Friederike Münster and Caroline Bertheau, he is regarded as the renewer of the apostolic deaconess ministry. Because of these efforts, deaconess institutes were founded in Paris, Oslo, Strasbourg, Utrecht and elsewhere. By the time of his death in Düsseldorf-Kaiserswerth on 4 October 1864, there were 30 motherhouses and 1,600 deaconesses worldwide. By the middle of the Twentieth Century, there were over 35,000 deaconesses serving in parishes, schools, hospitals and prisons throughout the world. A sign of the international respect Fliedner garnered for his pioneering work in nursing is that his most famous pupil came from outside Germany. English nursing reformer Florence Nightingale first visited him in 1841 and spent a few months in Kaiserswerth in 1850, graduating from the facility in 1851. She was impressed by the religious devotion and noted that most of the deaconesses were of peasant origin. One of Düsseldorf’s hospitals, the 1975 Florence-Nightingale-Krankenhaus bears her name. Commemoration in the Calendar of Saints of the Evangelical Church in Germany on 5 October. Image: en.wikipedia.org.
St Domnina (d310). Feast Day for this Christian noblewoman from Antioch with her young daughters Berenice and Prosdoce, with whom and her pagan husband she had settled at Edessa, Mesopotamia. Domnina was arrested by soldiers there for her adherence to the Christian religion and, fearing that the soldiers would rape her and her daughters, they asked their drunken guards for a chance to rest for a while and threw themselves into a river and drowned. St Domnina and her daughters Berenice (Bernice, Veronica, Verine, Vernike) and Prosdoce are venerated as Christian martyrs by the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches. Image: en.wikipedia.org.