Memorial of Saint Francis, A Reflection

By Kelly Herron, MA, Mission Integration, Saint Joseph Mercy Oakland

On Friday, October 4, the Catholic Church celebrates the memorial of St. Francis of Assisi. Several founders of various Trinity Health ministries celebrate this as their congregational feast day:

  • The Franciscan Sisters of Allegany NY (founders of St. Anthony’s Hospital in St. Petersburg), St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa, and Allegany Franciscan Ministries in Miami.
  • The Sisters of St. Francis of Penance and Christian Charity, Stella Niagra, NY (founders of what we now call Mount Carmel St. Ann’s Hospital in Westerville, OH)
  • The Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia (founders of what we now call St. Alphonsus Medical Center Baker City, St. Francis Medical Center in Trenton, St. Francis Healthcare in Wilmington, and St. Mary’s Medical Center in Langhorne
  • The Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Family in Dubuque, IA (founders of St. Xavier Hospital, which merged with Mercy Dubuque in 1981)
  • The Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities (founders of St. Joseph’s Hospital in Syracuse)

The Felician Sisters, founders of Saint Mary Mercy Livonia, also draw upon the life of Saint Francis and Franciscan spirituality.

So much of the Franciscan legacy inspires and challenges our ministry today, including our Core Value and sensibility of Stewardship, “We honor our heritage and hold ourselves accountable for the human, financial and natural resources entrusted to our care.”

  • How will you lead in the stewardship of the human, financial, and natural resources entrusted to your care today?

Also, while it is disputed whether St. Francis of Assisi really composed what we now know as “The Prayer of St. Francis,” its timeless message remains profound and extremely necessary in our troubled world. We have world leaders referring to nuclear weapons as if they were chess pieces.

As a final point of reflection, St. Francis of Assisi is revered as the patron saint of animals. The first nativity scene with animals in attendance is attributed to him (1225 AD). As a result, many people offer a Blessing of the Pets on his feast day.

Creator, be praised for giving us the animals, birds and fish which fill your world. May we think of you and thank You when we play with and care for our pets. Be praised for making us so happy to have our pets and to have them to play with. We ask you, Lord, that we may be good to our pets always, so that they may be happy also. Help us always to take care of them, so that they will be healthy. O God, your world is wonderful. Amen

May we be faithful to the legacies we have received…and sow peace wherever possible.

St. Francis of Assisi video links:


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