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Saturday, February 1, 2014

The Holy Grounds Keeper

~ photo by Suzanne * December 5, 2013 * Fort Worth, Texas

Happy winter, my dear gardeners!  I hope you are all staying warm and comfy during this cold time of year.  Some of us have already braved temperatures under 20°, and have fought ice and snow (myself included). And, now, we're trying to catch up and get ready for the ultimate annual coming of Spring!

So, how's your garden growing?  Me?  Uh, well, there have been a few setbacks in my yard!  But, I have taken some potted plants indoors, and they are faring rather well at this point.

~ Nativity Scene-St. George Catholic Church
photo by Suzanne * December 18, 2013 * Fort Worth, TX

I bet you're wondering why I've posted the above photos...St. Francis of Assisi and a Nativity scene after Christmas?  Well, you know, I just got to thinking about my poor St. Francis garden statue, and wondered if I should retire him after nearly 20 years of  exemplary service.  Wouldn't you agree that he is looking a bit weathered?  He has acquired quite a few injuries over the years!

And, I bet you're wondering what all this has to do with the Nativity scene?  Well, I only found out this past Christmas, that St. Francis, while visiting the town of Grecio in 1223 to celebrate Christmas, desired a larger area to hold his congregation for Midnight Mass.

In a small corner of town, St. Francis found a spot and set up his altar, after securing permission from the Pontiff.  He brought in hay and prepared a manger, adding an ox and ass, then, summoned the people for the service.  St. Francis preached to the brethren about the baby of Bethlehem, singing his praises, making for a joyous and memorable Christmas.  It is due to the devotion of this holy saint, that we honor the crude and poor beginnings of our Baby Jesus, celebrating the night he was born.

~St. Francis's Nativity

Although St. Francis, was born into a wealthy and prosperous family, he chose to live in poverty, and acquired a following while preaching in the streets.  He founded a religious order for women, The Franciscan Order, and the Order of Brothers and Sisters, having been authorized by Pope Innocent III in 1210.

Being a lover of all of God's creations, St. Francis was said to have preached to hundreds of birds, about being thankful for God's care, and, for the independence they enjoyed.  The birds stood still as he walked among them, and, they left only, when St. Francis gave them permission.  He believed that all of God's creations were his brotherhood.

St. Francis of Assisi died when he was only 45 years old in the year 1226.  He was never ordained as a Catholic Priest, but is considered one of the most highly regarded religious figures in history.  And, on June 18, 1939, Pope Pius XII named Francis a joint Patron Saint of Italy along with Saint Catherine of Italy.

My dear St. Francis
~photo by Suzanne * Fort Worth, TX

Saint Francis' feast day is observed on October 4.  He is honored in the Church of England, the Anglican Church of Canada, the Episcopal Church USA, the Old Catholic Churches, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, along with many other churches and religious communities.

***  Well, my dear friends, I'm sure you know that we will NOT be retiring our faithful servant, St. Francis.  My mother gave me this statue in 1994, and he rode all the way to Texas with me from Kansas City.  Francis  has graced  various gardens in my yard ever since...he has been taped, patched and glued back together, and, still stands tall as ever, as our Holy Grounds Keeper!


Thank you so much for coming by.  If you're experiencing some treacherous weather, as is our good friend Thisisme in deep Devon, England, I hope all subsides quickly and without damage!

* And, I want to thank Shady Del Knight for so graciously bestowing and sharing his Liebster Award with me and, my commrade over at KardKornerKrib!

Other Gratitudes go out to:

My door is open, please step in and say hello...I always love to hear from you.  Even you shy ones!  Come on in and just say Hello, or BOO!

~ Our St. Francis among the daisies, iris, and lilies *
~photo by Suzanne * Fort Worth, Texas

"It is my hope that the inspiration of Saint Francis will help us to keep ever alive a sense of  'fraternity' with all those good and beautiful things which Almighty God has created."
~ Pope John Paul II, 1982

Happy February! Be Safe...give love and laughter! ♥