A commemorative postage stamp on Saint Francis of Assisi, an Italian Catholic friar, deacon and preacher, founder of men’s Order of Friars Minor, women’s Order of Saint Clare, Third Order of Saint Francis and Custody of the Holy Land :
Issued on Apr 4, 1983
Type : Stamp, Postal Used
Colour : Dark Brown
Denomination : 100 Paisa
Overall size : 4.06 X 2.73 cms.
Printing size : 3.71 X 2.38 cms.
Paper : P.G. Matt Coated
Printing process : Photogravure
Printer : India Security Press
Name : Giovanni di Pietro di Bernardone (Francesco)
Born on 1182 at Assisi, Italy
Died on Oct 3, 1226 at Assisi, Italy
- Born of a rich cloth merchant in Italy in 1182, Francis abandoned his patrimony and took to a life of renunciation and service at the age of 24. Simplicity and joy marked his life. The poor and the down-trodden, lepers and the destitutes attracted him most. Animals and plants also received his love and affection. He would speak of the mother earth, the brother sun and the sister moon. A wolf that attacked a village was addressed by him as brother and it became a friend of the people who later fed it regularly. The birds of the air and the fish of the sea found in him a loving friend to play with. His love for plants and trees too was unusual. He has become the world patron for ecology and wild life.
- Thousand followed his life style of simplicity and service. As he died at the age of 44 (1226) there were 10,000 Franciscan religious men and 8 convents of sisters. Thousands of laymen also followed his inspiration, grouping themselves as the 3rd Order of St. Francis. Today his followers, the Franciscans all over the world, go into lakhs. Imitation of St. Francis has produced hundreds of other saints.
- The dust jacket of THE FRANCIS BOOK, a major anthology published for the Century Year of St. Francis has the following : “Rembrandt painted him, Zeffirelli filmed him, Chesterton eulogized him, Lenin died with his name on his lips, Toynbee compared him to Jesus and Buddha, Kerouac picked him as the patron of the Beat Generation, Sir Kenneth Clark called him Europe‘s greatest religious genius. Merchants and revolutionaries, religious leaders and hippies, writers and film makers all turn to him for inspiration and a glimpse of a better life. The Francis phenomenon grows and cross-fertilizes the earth’s culture…..”
- Many historians trace the origins of Renaissance, modern poetry, art and drama to St. Francis. His poems, especially the “Canticles of the Creatures” are famous.
- He was a great peace maker between warring factions and townships in Italy. During the Crusades, he went unarmed to the Sultan of Egypt for peace talks. His prayer for peace is still popular all over the world. It is his prayer “Lord make me an instrument of peace….” which Mother Teresa made her own.
- St. Francis is one of the most popular saints in India not only among Christians but among all people. Members of the religious congregations founded by him are engaged in service activities in most states of India. It is his inspiration and life example that sustain them. They number 1198 priests and 11,242 sisters.