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Francis, Clare, Tau Cross & San Damiano Cross. Mrs. Kenny 10/2012 Religion 9. Birth. St. Francis of Assisi (1182-1226). St. Francis of Assisi was born in 1182 and given the name John, or Giovanni in Italian

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Francis, Clare, Tau Cross & San Damiano Cross

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Francis clare tau cross san damiano cross

Francis, Clare, Tau Cross &San Damiano Cross

Mrs. Kenny


Religion 9



St. Francis of Assisi (1182-1226)

  • St. Francis of Assisi was born in 1182 and given the name John, or Giovanni in Italian

  • His mother was French, and during a visit to France, his father Pietro gave him the nickname “Francesco” meaning “the Frenchman”

Francis clare tau cross san damiano cross

  • #1: The Song Begins, p.3

    • What was Francis’ last name?

      • Bernardone

  • What was Francis’ father’s first name?

    • Pietro

  • What did his father do for a living?

    • He was a cloth merchant.

  • What was Francis’ mother’s name?

    • Donna Pica

  • Why did the people of Assisi call Francis, “King of Song?”

    • Francis was dubbed “King of Song” because he know verses of many current songs by heart, and he would stroll through the streets serenading the girls of Assisi.

  • Francis clare tau cross san damiano cross

    • #2: Rebuild My House, p.12

      • What was the name of the abandoned chapel mentioned in this section?

        • San Damiano

    • What did the Lord say to Francis as Francis prayed before the cross? Please write the quote from your book.

      • “Francis, go and rebuild my house, which is falling into ruins.”

    Francis clare tau cross san damiano cross

    • #3: The Lord Gave Me Some Brothers, pp.23-24

      • What are the names of the first three men to follow Francis?

        • Bernard of Quintavalle (young man of wealth and position)

        • Peter (lawyer)

        • Giles (peasant)

    Francis clare tau cross san damiano cross

    • #4: The Reluctant Pope, pp.24-25

      • Why did Francis go to the pope with his eleven companions?

        • Francis and his followers went to Rome to ask the pope for approval to live their poor way of life.

    • What was the pope’s name?

      • Pope Innocent III

  • What was the pope’s dream?

    • He saw the Church of St. John Lateran (the Vatican of its day) begin to lean and to fall. A man in ragged garments pushed his shoulder up against a wall and pushed the Church back into place. That man was Francis.

  • What did the dream mean?

    • The entire structure of the Church and Christianity was about to fall, and Francis was going to save that from happening.

  • How does francis save the catholic church

    How Does Francis Save the Catholic Church???

    • Greed and corruption were rampant during the Dark Ages

    • Materialism, heresy, etc.

    • Francis garnered a following of over 5,000 during his own short lifetime – people who gave up their lifestyles to adopt a devotion to living the values of the gospel and being Christ-like

    • They did this through peace, love, charity, poverty, and service to others

    Francis clare tau cross san damiano cross

    • #5: The Lord Gives Francis Sisters, pp. 27-28

      • Who was Francis’ first woman follower?

        • Clare Favarone

    • What are the names of the women who joined Clare?

      • Agnes (Clare’s sister)

      • Beatrice (Clare’s sister)

      • Ortolana (Clare’s mother)

  • Where did these women live?

    • Francis gave the women the convent of San Damiano to live in.

  • What were Clare and her first followers called?

    • Poor Ladies

  • What are Clare’s followers called today?

    • Poor Clares

  • Francis clare tau cross san damiano cross

    • #6: A New Birth, p.32

      • Where did Francis celebrate Christmas in a new, special way?

        • In Greccio, in a cave in the hills

  • What did Francis do to celebrate this feast in a unique way?

    • He celebrated midnight Mass in the caves and developed a play to reenact the Incarnation (i.e. first Nativity scene/Christmas creche).

  • Francis clare tau cross san damiano cross

    • #7: God’s Seal of Approval, pp.32-33

      • What were two things Francis prayed for on Mount LaVerna?

        • To feel the suffering that Jesus Christ did.

        • To feel the excess of love Jesus Christ had for everyone else.

  • What did God give Francis at the end of this prayer?

    • A bright light lit the sky. Francis received the gifts he asked for in his prayer: he felt Christ in body and heart. Francis received the stigmata, and his heart was full of love.

  • Francis clare tau cross san damiano cross

    • #8: Canticle of the Sun, pp. 35-36

      • What is the name of the song Francis wrote while he was sick?

        • Canticle of Brother Sun

        • Meditation:


        • Song:


    Francis clare tau cross san damiano cross

    • #9: His Song Goes On, pp.39-40

      • What did Francis answer the brother who asked him, “Why after you, why after you?”

        • “Why after me? I have this from the All-Holy himself. His eyes roamed the earth and could not find one creature more insufficient, more foolish, more vile than myself. So, to do that wonderful work he intends to do in this world, he chose me so that everyone would know that it is God at work here and not Francis Bernadone.”

  • What are three groups of people that the author mentions that admire Francis today?

    • Environmentalists – who carry on Francis’ respect for animals and nature

    • Social Activists – one person can make a difference

    • Franciscans – male and female, clerical and lay, Catholic and Protestant

  • St francis of assisi pp 9 19

    St. Francis of Assisi, pp.9-19

    • Turning Point #1

      • captured for a year in battle with Perugia

      • began to feel love of God

      • Father paid ransom to get Francis out, became very sick

    • Turning Point #2 – clothing and kissing leper

    • Turning Point #3

      • renouncing inheritance

      • chose radical poverty

      • Joined with suffering to alleviate it

    • Establishes Order of “Friars Minor,” or “Little Brothers”

    Franciscan orders

    Franciscan Orders

    First order

    • The existence of the Friars Minor or first order dates from 1209, when St. Francis obtained an approval from Innocent III of the simple rule he had composed for the guidance of his first companions.

    • The rule was subsequently rewritten by St. Francis and solemnly confirmed by Honorius III in 1223.

      Second order

    • 1212 brought the foundation of the Poor Ladies (also called the Poor Clares) or second order. In that year St. Clare had asked St. Francis to be allowed to embrace the new manner of life he had instituted, with several other pious maidens who had joined her.

    • St. Francis did not write the formal rule for these ladies. It was composed about 1219 by Cardinal Ugolino and later rewritten by Clare with the aid of Cardinal Rinaldo.

    • The revision was approved by Pope Innocent IV in 1253.

      Third order

    • Tradition holds that the foundation of the Brothers and Sisters of Penance, now known as tertiaries, took place in 1221.

    • This third order was established for those men and women who wished to follow Francis’s rule but because of marriage or other ties, could not join the first or second order.

    Why do they show francis with a skull

    Why do they show Francis with a skull?

    • Skull symbolizes useless vanity of earthly things

    • We all meet death someday

    • Cross and skull eternal life

    • Depicted with many saints, especially Francis since he renounced his earthly possessions and said everything is from God

    St francis

    St. Francis

    • Patron saint of merchants, ecology, and animals

    • Patron saint of Italy

    Prayer of saint francis of assisi

    Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi

    Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.Where there is hatred, let me sow love;where there is injury, pardon;where there is doubt, faith;where there is despair, hope;where there is darkness, light;and where there is sadness, joy.O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seekto be consoled as to console;to be understood as to understand;to be loved as to love.For it is in giving that we receive;it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.

    St clare

    St. Clare

    Feast Day: August 11

    Patron Saint of Sore Eyes

    Words to know

    Words to Know:

    • monasticadj. of or relating to monasteries or to monks or nuns (live separately, away from public)

    • crozier n. A staff with a crook or cross at the end, carried by or before an abbot, bishop, or archbishop as a symbol of office.

    • ascetic n.

      • 1. a person who dedicates his or her life to a pursuit of contemplative ideals and practices extreme self-denial or self-mortification for religious reasons.

      • 2. a person who leads an austerely simple life, especially one who abstains from the normal pleasures of life or denies himself or herself material satisfaction.

      • 3. (in the early Christian church) a monk; hermit.

    Clare of assisi

    Clare of Assisi

    Clare was a beautiful Italian noblewoman who became the foundress of an order of nuns now called "Poor Clares." When she heard St. Francis of Assisi preach, her heart burned with a great desire to imitate Francis and to live a poor humble life for Jesus.

    So one evening, she ran away from home, and in a little chapel outside Assisi, gave herself to God. St. Francis cut off her hair and gave her a rough brown habit to wear, tied with a plain cord around her waist. Her parents tried in every way to make her return home, but Clare would not.

    Clare of assisi1

    Clare of Assisi

    Clare was a beautiful Italian noblewoman who became the foundress of an order of nuns now called "Poor Clares." When she heard St. Francis of Assisi preach, her heart burned with a great desire to imitate Francis and to live a poor humble life for Jesus. So one evening, she ran away from home, and in a little chapel outside Assisi, gave herself to God. St. Francis cut off her hair and gave her a rough brown habit to wear, tied with a plain cord around her waist. Her parents tried in every way to make her return home, but Clare would not.

    Clare of assisi2

    Clare of Assisi

    Soon her sister, St. Agnes joined her, as well as other young women who wanted to be brides of Jesus, and live without any money. St. Clare and her sisters wore no shoes, ate no meat, lived in a poor house, and kept silent most of the time. Yet they were very happy, because Our Lord was close to them all the time. Once, He saved them from a great danger in answer to St. Clare's prayer. An army of rough soldiers came to attack Assisi and they planned to raid the convent first. Although very sick, St. Clare had herself carried to the wall and right there, where the enemies could see it, she had the Blessed Sacrament placed. Then on her knees, she begged God to save the Sisters.

    Clare of assisi3

    Clare of Assisi

    "O Lord, protect these Sisters whom I cannot protect now," she prayed. A voice seemed to answer: "I will keep them always in My care." At the same time a sudden fright struck the attackers and they fled as fast as they could. St. Clare was sick and suffered great pains for many years, but she said that no pain could trouble her. So great was her joy in serving the Lord that she once exclaimed: "They say that we are too poor, but can a heart which possesses the infinite God be truly called poor?" We should remember this miracle of the Blessed Sacrament when in Church. Then we will pray with great Faith to Jesus in the Holy Eucharist: "Save me, O Lord, from every evil - of soul and body." Her feast day is August 11.

    Clare of assisi4

    Clare of Assisi

    For the Sake of Jesus Christ

    • There is something singularly appealing about Saint Clare of Assisi. In many ways she resembles her brother and father in Christ, Saint Francis, and yet Clare is Clare . . . fearless, spontaneous, unconventional, and strong-willed.

    • She could have satisfied the expectations of her family and of society by marrying some promising young nobleman. Or she could have entered some respectable and established monastery; with her family background and her personal gifts, she would certainly have become a grand Lady Abbess and wielded the crosier over a comfortable little monastic domain, but Clare cared little for conventions and respectability. She did not hesitate to put behind her “houses, brothers, sisters, father, mother, children and land” (Matthew 19:29) for the sake of Jesus Christ and of His Gospel.



    Running after Christ

    • Our Lord says, “If any man has a mind to come my way, let him renounce self, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Matthew 16:24). She was compelled by a burning passion to run after Christ, to follow Him, dancing all the way. The song of Clare’s heart was that verse from the Song of Songs (1:3): “Draw me after you: we will run in the fragrance of your perfumes.”

      The Immovable Clare

    • Clare’s spiritual journey is characterized by movement. At the same time, once the dynamic Clare had made up her mind, she was immovable. Saint Clare was not impressed by the show of power, not tempted by the allurements of prestige, not intimidated by threats of violence.



    I Will Seek Him

    • The Lady Clare had the single–minded determination of the bride in the Song of Songs. Leaving her family house under cover of night on Palm Sunday, March 20, 1212, she ran to the church of the Porziuncula in search of the One whom her soul loved.

      Sponsa Christi

    • Clare was drawn to Jesus Christ passionately: to his poverty, to his Gospel, to his Passion, to the adorable Sacrament of his Body and Blood. The Holy Spirit had already ignited a spark in her soul when, hearing Saint Francis preach, it was fanned into a great flame. The flame burned brightly in the dark little church of the Porziuncula on the night Francis clothed her in a rough tunic, girded her with a rope, cut off her hair and covered her head with a veil, the ancient sign of the sponsa Christi, the virgin consecrated to Christ.



    A Joyful Brightness in the Church

    • Clare’s living flame of love attracted others to into the circle of its radiance. Other “Clares” followed Jesus Christ with her, joining their lights to hers, forming a joyful brightness in the whole Church, cherishing the “privilege of poverty” above all things.

      The Love You Had At First

    • What is Saint Clare’s message to us today? In looking at her burning desire to run after Christ and to share the life and the sufferings of “the One whom her soul loved,” we become aware of our own foot–dragging and indifference. Clare’s shining light shows up the compromises with darkness in our own lives.

      A Rekindled Passion for Jesus Christ

    • The feast of Saint Clare calls us back to our “first love,” not in a condemning or censorious way, but gently, joyfully, brightly. Catholics strive to find the grace of the Holy Sacrifice during Mass today: a re-enkindled passion for Jesus Christ.



    • 1182 – Francis born

    • 1194 – Clare born (12 years younger than Francis)

    • 1206 – The cross speaks to Francis at San Damiano.

    • 1209 – Pope Innocent III gives oral approval of the Rule

    • 1212 – On Palm Sunday, Clare receives habit

    • 1224 – September 17th - Francis receives stigmata at Alverna/LaVerna

    • 1226 – October 4th - Francis dies at Portiuncula (44 years old)

    • 1228 – Francis is proclaimed a saint

    • 1230 – May 25th – body taken to Basilica of San Francesco

    • 1253 – Clare dies at San Damiano (59 yrs old)

    • 1255 – Clare is proclaimed a saint

    • 1818 – St. Francis’s body is rediscovered after 600 years during excavations of the basilica

    • 1928 – Pope Pius XII proclaims Francis the patron saint of Italy

    • 1980 – Pope John Paul II proclaims Francis the patron saint of ecology on Easter Sunday

    In your religion journal

    In Your Religion Journal:

    • Divide your page in half.

    • On one side of the page, explain how you feel you are like St. Francis or St. Clare in your own life.

    • On the other side, describe ways that you believe you can be more like St. Francis or St. Clare in your life.

    • Reminder: This journal is intended to be sincere and authentic. Don’t “tell me what I want to hear.” Write true words from your heart. 

    The tau cross

    The Tau Cross

    (Tau rhymes with “How”)

    Mrs. Kenny


    Religion 9

    Tau t

    Tau = “T”

    • The Tau is a very ancient symbol and also known as the Crux Commissa, the Franciscan Cross, the Anticipatory Cross, the Advent Cross, the Crutch Cross, or the St. Anthony's Cross.

    • Tau is the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet and this has significance: it represents the fulfilment of the revealed word of God.

    Francis clare tau cross san damiano cross

    The Tau Cross has

    Old Testament Beginnings

    The Tau Cross, also called the Cross of Tau, the Franciscan Tau Cross, the Cross of St. Francis, and the Cross of St. Anthony, is a simple cross, based on the Greek Τ, which is pronounce taw.

    In Hebrew the letter is pronounced the same but written as x. It predates the cross of the crucifixion, and for this reason it is also called the Old Testament cross.

    Francis clare tau cross san damiano cross

    The Tau Cross has

    Old Testament Beginnings

    • In Hebrew, the taw or tav (ת) letter was represented by a (+) or an (x).

    • As a letter with two lines that cross, the Tau was viewed by early Christians as a letter representing God. This mark was used in baptism and for protection, following the use in Ezekiel 9.

    • In Greek, the T represented Theos or God. As a mark, a large T appears in some of the inscriptions in the catacombs.

    • However, for most of the first millenium after the crucifixion, either a Greek or Latin cross was used.


    Francis clare tau cross san damiano cross

    The Tau Cross has

    Old Testament Beginnings

    • The Serpent Cross

      • The Tau Cross appears in artworks depicting Moses when God told him to "Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live." (Num. 21:8)

    Anticipatory cross

    Anticipatory Cross

    • Early church fathers found three signs of the tau mark as an anticipatory sign for Christ.

      • A mark of the faithful. In Ezekiel 9, the letter taw, the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet, is placed on the forehead of the few who disapprove of wickedness. Those without the mark are sinners and will be slain.

      • A mark of protection and salvation. The mark on the door during the Passover, when God passed over the homes of the children of Israel while slaying the Egyptian firstborn, was considered a taw sign.

      • A sign of healing. In Numbers 21:6-9, snakes attacked the people of Israel. God told Moses to make a bronze (or copper) serpent and place it on top of a pole. If bitten, those who looked at the pole would be healed.



    • In Ezekiel, an angel, traditionally believed to be St. Gabriel, is instructed by God to go and mark the foreheads of the faithful with the Tau symbol.

    • Other angels are then instructed to “go ye after him through the city, and strike: let not your eyes spare, nor be ye moved with pity. Utterly destroy old and young, maidens, children and women: but upon whomsoever you shall see Thau, kill him not, and begin ye at my sanctuary.” (Ezekiel 9:5-6).

    • So in Ezekiel, those marked with the Tau were saved from this destruction – their lives were spared. In the Passion, the crucifix became the symbol of Christ’s sacrifice, which brought eternal salvation. And so yet another name for the Tau Cross is the Anticipatory Cross.

    Anticipatory cross1

    Anticipatory Cross

    • Jesus prophesied his own crucifixion by saying "Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life." (John 3:14-15.)

    • This anticipation of His own crucifixion leads to another name, the Anticipatory Cross or the Advent Cross, and used by some churches for Advent, four Sundays before Christmas.

    Anthony not anthony of padua

    Anthony (not Anthony of Padua!)

    • Tradition holds that in the 3rd century, St. Anthony, the Egyptian hermit who is considered the father of monasticism carried a Tau cross, but it was St. Francis and the Franciscan order that really popularized the use of the Tau cross.

    • Francis was also familiar with the religious community that followed in the footsteps of St. Anthony the hermit, a community which was active in Assisi during St. Francis’s time.

    • This is likely where he first encountered the Tau Cross.

    St anthony s cross

    St. Anthony’s Cross

    • Much later, the Tau cross shape attributed to Moses as an instrument of healing was adopted by the Egyptian Fr. Anthony when he followed an ascetic life in the Egyptian desert.

    • Although his lifestyle was simple and hermit like, he was admired for his health (he lived to be 105) and wisdom.

    • His fame spread - even reaching Emperor Constantine - and the Tau cross then took on an additional name: the St. Anthony's Cross.

    Tau cross franciscan cross

    Tau Cross = Franciscan Cross

    • St. Francis adopted St. Anthony's Cross after meeting monks working at a leper house in Assisi and the hospital of St. Blase in Rome (now the church of 'San Francisco a Ripa') where Francis stayed.

    • He used this cross for protection against the plague and other skin diseases, matching the Egyptian claim that the symbol aided immortality and general well-being.

    4 th lateran council in rome

    4th Lateran Council in Rome

    • In 1215, at the Fourth Lateran Council, Pope Innocent referenced the Tau cross and the passage from Ezekiel. It is widely believed that St. Francis was present at the Council and that this is when he wholeheartedly embraced the Tau cross as his symbol.

    • Francis used it in his writings, painted it on walls and doors where he stayed, and even used it as his signature.

    • St. Francis would also stretch out his arms, to show his friars that their habit was also the Tau Cross.

    • He instructed them to not only let that serve as a reminder, but also as an active symbol for them to be a walking crucifix in their lives.

    A monk s habit

    A Monk’s Habit

    • A monk's habit, arms outstretched, as a Tau Cross

    • Stretching out his arms, St. Francis demonstrated to his friars that their habit was the shape of the Tau cross.

    • They must go out into the world, wearing this cross like an incarnation of Christ.

    Tau cross franciscans

    Tau Cross = Franciscans!

    • Due to St. Francis’s love for the Tau Cross, it became associated with the Franciscan Order.

    • It is adopted and used or worn by many followers of St. Francis, whether part of the religious order or secular.

    • Even for those unfamiliar with the details of St. Francis’s life, the Franciscan Order is what comes to mind when most people see the Tau Cross.



    Since St. Francis preached simplicity and humility, the Tau cross in jewelry is typically very simple.

    Traditional crucifix san damiano cross

    Traditional Crucifix San Damiano Cross

    • How are these two crosses the same?

    • How are they different?

    • Why do you think Francis was moved by the Cross of San Damiano?

    San damiano cross a brief explanation by fr michael scanlon t o r

    San Damiano Cross: A Brief Explanation By Fr. Michael Scanlon, T.O.R.

    • The San Damiano Cross is the one St. Francis was praying before when he received the commission from the Lord to rebuild the Church. The original cross presently hangs in Santa Chiarra (St.Clare) Church in Assisi, Italy. All Franciscans cherish his cross as the symbol of their mission from God. The cross is called an icon cross because it contains images of people who have a part in the meaning of the cross. The tradition of such crosses began in the eastern Church and was transported by Serbian monks to the Umbria district of Italy.The San Damiano Cross was one of a number of crosses painted with similar figures during the 12th century in Umbria. The name of the painter is unknown. The purpose of an icon cross was to teach the meaning of the event depicted and thereby strengthen the faith of the people. These conclusions have been reached based on a thorough study of the history of the cross and the literature concerning it. Very little literature is available in English. Most of it can only be read in Italian or French. The author also found it very helpful to compare the cross to similar crosses in Umbrian art.

    • Finally, much of the English literature on the cross is faulty in its analysis since it dates back to sources prior to 1938 when the cross was restored to its original depiction.

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