Franciscan Thought – Compassion

Francis and Lady Jacoba

Click here for Pensamiento Franciscano – Compasión, the Spanish language version of this article.

On October 3rd, 1226 at the age of 44, Francis lay dying in the humble Portiuncula, the first church of the Franciscan order. He not only was in the loving presence of his brother friars; at this time of his ‘Transitus,’ he was also lovingly cared for by a dear friend and benefactor – a wealthy Roman laywoman named Lady Jacopa dei Settesoli. Lady Jacopa came to visit Francis in his final days bearing gifts. She brought items for his physical care such as a soft pillow, special cloth, a tunic. She brought gifts for his comfort and emotional well-being such as the cherished almond cookies that Francis loved. Thinking ahead, Jacopa even brought candles and incense for his funeral. But most importantly, as a spiritual friend, she brought her own prayerful service and loving presence as she helped to care for the dying saint.  Jacopa responded to the dying needs of Francis with unbridled compassion.[1]   

Questions for Reflection:

Francis so closely modeled his life after Jesus that he was an inspiration to so many both in his time and our own.

  • For us, in this time of hurricanes, earthquakes, fires, and floods – can we also share from our abundance and offer meaningful gifts to others in their time of need, either physical, monetary, emotional, and/or spiritual as did Lady Jacopa for Francis? 
  • Can we embrace our role as laypeople inspired by St. Francis, as did Lady Jacopa, to live lives filled with prayerful compassion and service for others? How?

Let us pray:

Loving God, St. Francis tells us that ‘Where there is charity and wisdom, there is neither fear nor ignorance… Where there is a heart full of mercy and discernment, there is neither excess nor hardness of heart.’[2]  We humbly ask for hearts full of charity, wisdom, and mercy so that we may live filled with Your compassion. We ask this through Your Beloved Son, Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.

[1] Lady Jacopa and Francis, an article by Darleen Pryds, PhD, Franciscan School of Theology

[2] Francis of Assis, Early Documents, The Writings of Francis of Assisi, Admonition XXVII

Picture Credit: The widow called “Brother Jacoba” by Saint Francis kneels near her friend as he dies. Jacoba of Settesoli is associated with the mourning” (Jacoba de Settesoli se asocia al duelo) by José Benlliure y Gil, 1926 (Wikimedia Commons)

The Pastoral Council helps the Pastor foster an environment in our beautifully diverse Parish in which all are welcomed, the Gospel of Christ is lived through the lens of our shared Franciscan spirituality, and stewardship is practiced. Through planning, prayer, and discernment, the Pastoral Council endeavors to support the many good works of our parish ministries. Our Franciscan Thoughts are written by members of the Pastoral Council to deepen our understanding of what it means to live as members of a Franciscan parish. Questions? Comments? Please feel free to contact Yvonne Hanzen, Council President, at

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