Transitus of St. Francis: Celebration of Friendship

Sister JulieAnn Sheahan

October 04, 2017

Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity borrowed a Transitus Service from the Secular Franciscans in Mississippi for this year’s October 3rd Ritual. The script began with a lettter from Father Elias. The text invited all present to “bless the God of heaven, confess the mercy of God in the sight of all, and hold fast to the memory of our brother and father, Francis, praising and glorifying God who made him great among us.” We prayed for Francis, as he once asked us to do, and prayed to him that God may make us sharers with him of God’s holy grace. 

Next, we heard the remembrances of four people who knew Francis well. First, Lady Pica of Assisi, his mother, eulogized her son.

Saint Clare of Assisi, a follower and beloved friend of Francis, was next to tell her remembrances, as well as sing a song about building one’s dream slowly.

Lady Jacoba Frangipani of Rome, another friend and benefactor, spoke about her friendship with the saint and the blessing of being present as St. Francis was dying.

Brother Leo of Assisi, one of the first companions of Saint Francis, recalled the last moments of St. Francis’ life on earth. Indeed, all  the words  shared were heartfelt and recalled not only St. Francis early life, his call to follow Christ as a friar,  but also the last days of his life. Silhouttes orchestrated by a small band of talented souls added to the drama of the sharing.

As with all things Franciscan, music enhanced the spiritual drama. Instrumental music with a medieval tonality set the stage of the service. In Paradisum was chanted as the opening procession began in the darkened chapel. Music interludes were furnished by cantors to add a spirit of joy and simplicity to the presentation. The whole congregation sang out in full sound the Canticle of the Creatures and the Blessing of St. Francis.  It was a blessed beginning to the feast of our spiritual founder. See Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity facebook for more images.

We close with these words of Francis: ‘I have done what was mine to do. May Christ teach you what is yours.’

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