St Francis of Assisi

Cooking Through the Christian Year


Barocci, Federico. Saint Francis. Ca. 1600-1604. Oil on canvas. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Dimensions: 35 3/8 x 30 7/8 in. (89.9 x 78.4 cm); with added strips 35 7/8 x 31 3/8 in. (91.1 x 79.7 cm). Accession Number: 2003.281. Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift and 2002 Benefit Fund, 2003. Classification: Paintings.

The canvas is designed to be a reflection on Saint Francis of Assisi, who is portrayed in a grotto on Mount La Verna where he experienced the stigmata. The stigmata are depicted as protruding nails, which is consistent with early Franciscan sources. Barocci, a prominent figure in Italian painting history, had close ties to the Capuchin order. It is likely that this emotional piece was created for a friar or a supporter of the Franciscan order. Barocci was a deliberate and thorough painter whose work, characterized by its sophisticated composition, heartfelt humanity, and profound expressiveness, served as a foundation for Baroque art.

St. Francis of Assisi – October 4th

There are few saints as widely loved as St. Francis. He was born into a wealthy merchant family and had a love for luxury, particularly French things. His father named him “Frenchy” or Francis to encourage his pursuit of pleasure. After serving in a war and being a POW, he reached a point of illness and likely suffered from some PTSD. It was during this period that he had a conversion and renounced his wealth to become a beggar. In a famous episode, he even took off his clothing to give them to his father and walked from town in the buff. He then had a special calling while in a dilapidated church where he believed that the painted fresco of Jesus called out to him to “rebuild my church; for my house is in ruin.” He took it literally and began to rebuild the church, only later realizing that he was called to be a reformer of the church in general. He may be best known for his love of animals, and many churches have an animal blessing in his memory. Pets are so important to people as friends and companions that this service is particularly moving and special to many worshipers. Francis preached to birds, converted the wolf of Gubbio, and taught that human beings were in a brotherhood/sisterhood with the rest of creation. This message is timely during this age of climate change, as the care of creation and environmental protection have become the moral issue of our time. Francis is the patron saint of ecology, environmental science, and anything related to animals.

While there are some traditional foods to remember Francis’ witness, we think that a modern one is best to continue his legacy. We are making a simple spaghetti that families enjoy regularly, but we are using a meat substitute. This simple change reduces the global impact of the meal without losing much flavor. Substitutions like this may need to be more common so that we can take better care of our ailing planet and proclaim that the gospel is good news to all creation.

Recipe Coming Soon