Solemnize Respect Life Sunday with Franciscan Transitus

Paul Keggington

October 04, 2010

While the USCCB publishes a program packet each year to call attention to numerous human life issues on Respect Life Sunday, Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity considered this year’s Oct. 3, 2010 celebration of St. Francis’ Transitus another solemn expression of protecting and nurturing human life at every stage of its existence.  

Just what is Transitus?

Transitus is a Franciscan devotion to ritually remember the passing of Saint Francis from this life into God.  This special ritual takes place each year the evening of October 3 which often gathers members of the 3 Orders of St. Francis.

 We invite you to pray this ‘green’ prayer used here at our Motherhouse. Only individuals with leading roles needed copies of the script since congregational parts were cantored or remembered from memory.  All present were given candles. It began with these words… 


Extinguishing Francis Candle in Transitus

Franciscan Sister Louise Hembrecht extinguishes St. Francis candle during Transitus Oct. 3, 2010.

Narrator: From the earliest days of the Franciscan Order, the followers of St. Francis have gathered on the anniversary of his death to celebrate his transitus, that is St. Francis’ passage from earthly life into everlasting life. 


 Here in this place, too, we gather to celebrate the light which Francis was to his world.

After the Transitus’ opening lines were proclaimed, our 4 postulants did a Readers Theatre adapted from Thomas Celano’s writing that gave an overview of Francis’ life from birth to his vigorous living of his baptismal call. 

Click here to read the Postulants’ dialogue.

Our candle light prayer concluded by celebrating St. Francis’ entrance into heaven and a sharing of almond cookies (a favorite of Francis who requested this goodie from friend Lady Jacoba as he anticipated his death!)

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Transitus’ Reflection: In John’s Gospel we heard Jesus’ words, “What I just did was to give you an example: as I have done, so you must do. St. Francis in turn says to us: “I have done what is mine to do, may Christ teach your what is yours”. What is it that Christ is calling us (you) to do right now in our (your) lives (life)?

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