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September 17 | The Stigmata of Saint Francis of Assisi (1224)

Two years before the great Saint Francis of Assisi died, and when he was forty-two years old — one year after he had built the first crib in honor of Our Lord — he went off to a lonely mountain called Mount Alvernia, to prepare himself by forty days of fasting and prayer for the feast of Saint Michael, the greatest of God’s angels, whose feast day is September 29. On the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross on September 14, Saint Francis received in his hands, feet and side the Sacred Wounds from Our Lord’s own body. Never was a saint more beautifully loved by Jesus than Saint Francis of Assisi. The wounds Jesus gave him stayed in his hands, feet and side, and continually bled for two more years, until he died in 1226. The day on which Saint Francis received the Five Wounds of Our Lord was September 14, but so that this beautiful event might have a feast day for itself, the Stigmata of Saint Francis are commemorated on September 17. The simple liturgy of this holy saint’s life might be put this way: the crib in 1223, and the Cross in 1224.

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