Friday, August 26, 2011

Feast of St. Mary of the Angels

Tuesday, August 02, 2011
Feast of the Portziuncula, the Mother Church of all Franciscans (St. Mary of the Angels)

In the early days of his conversion, St. Francis heard the voice of Christ coming from the crucifix in the Church of San Damiano bidding him to “go and repair His Church”.  Being the simple, humble man that he was, Francis interpreted the Lord’s words literally and took up the tools of a construction man.  After repairing San Damiano, he turned his attention to a little abandoned chapel in the oak woods of a little portion of land belonging to a Benedictine monastery.  The local people said they sometimes heard angels singing there, and so the place was named “St. Mary of the Angels of the Porziuncula (little portion).  Francis fell in love with the place.  He rebuilt it and asked the Benedictine Abbot if he and his brethren could use it as their place to pray.  Here the dozen friars became hundreds and then thousands.  Here St. Clare was consecrated to God as the first Poor Clare.  And it was here that the little Poor Man of Assisi died.  Today is the feast of the Portziuncula, the Mother Church of all Franciscans and the first day of the novena to St. Clare.  This year the Poor Clares are celebrating the 800th anniversary of the Profession of St. Clare which took place at the hands of St. Francis in this place.  The Poor Clare family has spread over the whole world.  But today they remember their small beginnings and thank God for this little portion where the Mother of God gave them birth.

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