Felician Sisters and Associates all over the world spend this day in remembering the life and death of St. Francis. It is a day of fast and abstinence as we recall the many ways St. Francis has inspired people of all walks of life, no matter what religious beliefs they follow. Francis was the greatest example of following the life of Christ.
The Transitus of St. Francis is traditionally celebrated by Franciscans all over the world on October 3rd. This is the vigil of the Feast of St. Francis and is a night to commemorate the death of our beloved Saint. Transitus is a Latin word that means passage or crossing over. In every account written on the death of St. Francis, it is remembered that he crossed over from life on earth to eternal life with the Lord, full of great joy and song.
Of course, attending Mass is the best way to celebrate both the life and death of St. Francis, but there are a few other things that you can do to honor St. Francis and take part in the Transitus in your own home:
- Meditate on some of the writings and prayers of St. Francis. Pray for peace in our world!
- St. Francis is the patron saint of animals and ecology. Spend some time picking up trash and cleaning up your neighborhood.
- Read the story of the death of St. Francis:
“On the eve of his death, the saint, in imitation of his Divine Master, had bread brought to him and broken. This he distributed among those present, blessing Bernard of Quintaville, his first companion, Elias, his vicar, and all the others in order. “I have done my part,” he said next, “may Christ teach you to do yours.” Then wishing to give a last token of detachment and to show he no longer had anything in common with the world, Francis removed his poor habit and lay down on the bare ground, covered with a borrowed cloth, rejoicing that he was able to keep faith with his Lady Poverty to the end. After a while he asked to have read to him the Passion according to St. John, and then in faltering tones he himself intoned Psalm cxli. At the concluding verse, ‘Bring my soul out of prison’, Francis was led away from earth by ‘Sister Death’, in whose praise he had shortly before added a new strophe to his ‘Canticle of the Sun’.“
– Paschal Robinson, Catholic Encyclopedia: St. Francis of Assisi