- Dec 10, 2019
The Way of St. Francis is a network of walking trails that connects Assisi to Rome. Created 15 years ago by the government of Italy’s Umbria province, it attempts to mirror the path likely trod by St. Francis of Assisi when he went to Rome to meet Pope Innocent III in 1209. Pilgrims see true wilderness on the trail, and can encounter dogs, wild boar, snakes and other creatures that inhabit the Italian forests.
Indian priest Father Joe D’Souza says non-Christians like the blessing of the animals associated with the feast of St. Francis of Assisi. “They tell me that this blessing represents a bit the beauty of the Catholic Church, which not only allows animals into a sacred place, but also blesses them,” he said. “This love for other creatures is a way of saying that they too are created by God.”
A Catholic campaign to divest from fossil fuels has announced that 40 institutions have jointly decided to do so, and to make the announcement on St. Francis of Assisi’s feast day. Among those signed up are key organizations in Assisi itself.
St. Clare of Assisi — her feast day is observed on August 11— sought to live Franciscan spirituality from within the enclosure of her cloister. While the Franciscan friars were preaching in the cities and rebuilding churches externally, Clare and the sisters were living within the enclosure with a stronger focus on contemplation, intimacy, and relationality.
Sports teams have come under fire for continuing to have controversial names and mascots that are offensive to some groups. Most of those causing controversy have Native American names or references such as the Washington Redskins. But a college in Pennsylvania has dropped the ‘Crusaders’ from its name, though they say it is not because of outside pressure but in order to reflect the spirit of Francis of Assissi.
On occasion of the decision of the Diocese of Assisi to establish a shrine in memory of the “divestiture” of St. Francis, Pope Francis wrote a letter offering his blessing and support. “Unfortunately, 2,000 years after the proclamation of the Gospel and eight centuries after the witness of Francis, we face a phenomenon of global inequity and an economy that kills,” the pope said.