UCAN needs your support
You are why we do what we do - report, describe, comment, review. It is to bring to your eyes just what life is like for believers across Asia that we publish UCAN.
But as you know, the effort needs to be sustained if it is to have continuing effect.
UCAN publishes some 150 stories a week in four languages across six websites. We are grateful to benefactors in Europe and the US who support us. But those countries and the Church there are under increasing financial strain and their generosity no longer covers our costs.
We need financial help from our readers to sustain our efforts. Our reporters, editors, video producers and photographers all have families and we need to support them. They do excellent jobs, but they can't do their jobs for nothing.
Will you help us to sustain UCAN? Please click here to help.
Thanks in anticipation.
Fr. Michael Kelly SJ
Saint Francis of Assisi
- October 4, 2012
A small group gathered around him, his first companions: Giles, Bernard, Peter, Angelo and others. Thus was born the âlittle brothersâ, or Friars Minor, as they were known, who pledged themselves to a rule inspired by the Gospels. In 1210 the Pope gave this his formal approval.
In 1212, the young girl, Chiara Favaronne joined his group, and the âPoor Claresâ, were born.
Then in 1221, a âThird Orderâ of lay people, men and women, inspired by his ideals but living them out in the world, was instituted.
Francisâs inspiration swept like wildfire across Italy and elsewhere â in 1219, for the first general assembly, there were 5000 friars.
Francis was enamoured of the incarnate Christ, and in 1223, he re-created the first Nativity scene in a manger, thus giving the world its first Christmas crib.
In 1224, while meditating on the passion, he was blessed with the first ever stigmata â the imprint of the five wounds of Christ on his flesh.
Deeply attached to nature as a mirror of the divine, he addressed the elements as âBrother Sunâ, âSister Moonâ,âMother Earthâ and so on. Afflicted by blindness and illness in later life, he joyfully prepared for âSister Deathâ â a complete emptying out of himself, as his Lord and Master Jesus had done. He died in 1226 in the small church of St Mary at the Portiuncula, the very place which had seen the birth of his mission.
Benedict 15th said: "probably no one in history has ever set himself so seriously to imitate the life of Christ, and to carry out Christâs work in his own way as Francis of Assisi. Truly the most perfect image of Christ that ever lived.â