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Stella Matutina » House, clothes, and pillows too, the Brothers and Sisters of Penance of St. Francis blog
The Brothers and Sisters of Penance of St. Francis
Stella Matutina

August 25, 2005

House, clothes, and pillows too

Filed under: Morning Star — Bruce @ 8:02 am

Houses, clothes, and pillows too,
beds and pleasures everywhere,
history shows where Francis goes,
these things he rarely shared.

St. Francis wanted nothing of the things of this world as he moved deeper into his conversion. Neither did he want those who followed him to relish such things. So, it is recorded often in the ancient writings that he avoided houses or the comforts of possessions throughout his life after his conversion. He also wore the poorest and meanest of clothes, and even these he took pieces out of to give beggars so that he himself was clothed like the poorest-of-the-poor. He avoided beds, and often slept in the fields with a rock for a pillow. But, consider life today.

Very few of those who say they follow St. Francis are willing to embrace his life of penance. He lived in constant simplicity and self denial when it came to the regular comforts of life. Everything today by his followers is kept in nice order, and regular meals follow regular sleep on comfortable beds with pillows. Somewhere, somehow, we have lost the life of penance that St. Francis himself lived and suggested to us by his example. This is a meditation worth making.

It is not that he required those who followed him to live as he lived. He never did that. His rules are more open than that. However, he set an example that can be used by any of us to augment the lifestyle he gave us and answer questions we might have about doing more than the Rule requires. If we are in doubt about how to live a statute of a Rule we need only consider how the Saint, himself, lived. Certainly the Rules he gave us were a minimum of what he thought best for us. He invites us all to do more, just by his example.


  1. I like this post. This is my sentiment exactly. Oh, what joy total detachment would bring us if only we’d yield. I am discerning religious life and like St. Francis’ total abandonment to Christ. I am currently looking for a Franciscan community that lives this very life of TOTAL detachment from the worldly goods and gifts without any reserve. For even if we lived his Rule in it’s strictest form, as he knew, it would still be inadequate for our penance. I hope to find this life and hope we can all surrender something called ‘entitlement’-giving up even that which we are entitled to. This was the spirit of St. Paul too, who was entitled to be materially supported for preaching the Gospel but still refused prefering to earn his own keep!! God bless you.

    Comment by SHIRO. — September 20, 2005 @ 1:54 pm

  2. What I love about Francis…his childlike manliness…I once rested my head on a large, gray, somewhat shallow rock as a child…it actually gave me comfort and warmth!...Imagine, trying to receive comfort from a stone…only God knows the whisper between stone and man!

    Comment by Adelle — September 25, 2005 @ 4:56 pm

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