Film Showing: “The Flowers of St. Francis”

Sunday, October 3, 5 pm
Front Lawn

I love movies and I love saint-stories, so showing this wonderful film will be for me a real act of love…and one that will definitely blow you away.

Kate Lucchese, First Churcher

October 4 is the special day of the namesake of San Francisco, the famous patron saint of animals who quieted the birds when their squabbling distracted him from his prayers. One of the most Christ-like of all the saints, Francis of Assisi is worth learning more about.

To that end, First Churchers are invited to adjourn to the cloister after the Blessing of the Animals on Sunday, October 3 to the cloister for a showing of “Francis, Jester of God.”

It is in Italian with subtitles, but understandable by children with a little explanation.

Told in nine “chapters,” it is based on a novel that was based in turn on the 78 “Fioretti,” little stories that have come down to us about the life and work of Saint Francis of Assisi, who lived from 1181-1226, at a time of jesters, troubadours, and great corruption within the church.

Then-Pope Innocent III supported the Franciscan mission in part because of a dream he had — not pictured in the film — that a little man in a gardener’s tunic was holding up the church. Local people were so fed up with greedy priests that they were sometimes hostile to the wandering preachers who came to them in the name of God.
Rossellini, not a practicing Catholic, was enchanted by Francis’ radical passivism, anti-materialism, and naïve piety after the wars and greed of the twentieth century.

The gentle monks and their literal-minded interpretation of the call of Christ make for some wonderfully funny episodes, hence the title. But it is also terrifying to see little Brother Ginepro in the hands of the Tyrant and his lawless men.

The story is played straight and under the supervision of sympathetic priests, with all the parts except that of the monstrous Tyrant of Viterbo played by monks, with Brother Nazario Gerardi as Francis (see photo).
Come and be astounded at what radical piety, poverty and passivism can accomplish!

Bring comfy cushions. Folding chairs provided.