Feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael: The Franciscan Connection

The feast of the great archangels Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael (Sept. 29) should not go by without recalling the deep devotion Saint Francis had to these heavenly protectors of Christians.

Saint Michael present at the hour of death

Like most medieval Christians, Francis was very conscious that the journey of faith was a perilous one, with many temptations and dangers that threatened to divert believers from their heavenly goal. Especially he believed Saint Michael was at hand to defend them and was present in a special way at the hour of their passing from this life.

Francis felt unworthy to stand where Michael had stood

Francis in fact made a pilgrimage to the great shrine of Saint Michael at Monte Gargano in Apulia (as had Saint Clare's mother Ortolana). According to tradition, Francis climbed a dangerous section of rocky steps but did not enter the grotto itself. The chronicles say

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