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Francis and Leone left for their long journey to Mount La Verna.  Francis prayed intensely for God to give him his final blessing.  He fasted for 40 days and nights during Michelmas.  Lord God, grant me the strength to get to You.  As the brotherhood grew, Francis spent most of his time in deep prayer and meditation.  Traveling with his companion Leone, Francis called him the Lamb of God.  Bernardo was a rich man and prominent citizen who surrendered to Francis like a child. He gave away all his gold and earthly possessions, entrusting his will to the hands of a poor man who knew nothing but God. Barnardo was strict and dedicated and stayedAs Francis prepared for his journey he went to say goodbye to Clare who was his sister in Christ.  He promised her that the brothers would look after her and her sisters.  He told her that he may not return from this trip.  At last the time comes and Francis exclaims, You do love me Father.  As the pain shoots through his entire being, he accepts the wounds of Jesus Christ with great joy.Francis would continue to wander, searching for that voice that had once encountered him.  What was he waiting for?  He gave up his fancy armor during the crusades, after he heard a voice say, ďWhom do you wish to serve, the servant or the Master?Ē  He reFrancis found himself lost in the world that surrounded him.  His family was foreign to him.  His mother always believed he would become a man of God, and his father would expect him to carry on the duties of the family business, but this was a life that As Francis and Leone left Mount La Verna, Francisí final request was to be placed near the Porzuncula, the tiny chapel home of his brothers just below Assisi.  He asked to be placed where he could see his beloved Assisi.  Francis loved Mother Earth and nature was his home.  The birds and animals loved to hear Francis pray and speak to them.  He often praised them for their luxuries and how God provided for them daily.  Itís another night in the Umbrian valley as Francis meditates.  His face radiates with the light of the moon and the fire.  As the night becomes dark Francis continues to pray.  Francis no theologian begins his leap of faith.  He walks through the streets of Assisi, day after day, preaching.  Buon giorno buona gente!   Did you hear the good news?  I am here as Godís servant.   As his love for God grew in Francis, so did his hunger.  No longer did he have the luxuries of food and wine.  He remembered the days in his fatherís fabric shop when the beggar approached him asking for alms. Now Francis, the fool of Assisi, was beggingFrancis placed his hands on the wolf and immediately the dog was tamed and now had dog like features.  Francis promised him if he no longer killed the people and sheep of Gubbio, the people would feed him when he was hungry.
He embraced the leper and kissed him.  Francis turned to his Brothers Minor radiating his ultimate joy to them.  As he turned back to embrace the leper, he was no longer standing beside Francis.  Was the leper possibly Jesus coming to test Francis?  Oh hoItís a new day! Can you feel the joy?Ē he exclaims to his parents Pica and Peter.  He says his goodbyes and explains, From this day on I give up all worldly goods and say My Father in heaven. Francis followed the gospel of Jesus from this day on, and walkThe realization begins.  With the Lord in his heart and extreme joy on his face, Francis takes the grand news and hurries back to his fatherís house. ďItís a new day! Can you feel the joy?Francis, go and repair my house, because as what you have seen, it is in ruins. At this point it was the greatest spiritual moment of his life. Francis taking this sign literally placed the first stone to rebuild San Damiano (Now convent of Saint Clare)This bronze depicts St. Francis after long hours of meditation. Private collection of Dennis EchelbargerPrivate collection of Bob and Mary Alice StephanThis bronze relief was purchased by Mary Ann Keeler of Grand Rapids Michigan for her meditation and prayer room.
 
         

Bronze (Scroll above to view the collection)

The collection of bronze statues of St. Francis of Assisi are available to purchase in a limited edition of 94. These Signed and numbered statues were recently exhibited at the Basilica of Saint Francis in Assisi Italy. The 16 bronze sculptures tells the story from his conversion and fellowship with Jesus until his death. For more info go to www.miccarlson.com

 

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