My Franciscan Heart

Filled with love, joy, and peace

As a Franciscan at heart, I cannot help but feel drawn to the simplicity, humility, and compassion at the core of the Franciscan way of life. Whether it is through the teachings of St. Francis of Assisi or the actions of the Franciscan friars and sisters, the Franciscan message of love and peace has always resonated with me. In this article, I will explore what it means to have a Franciscan heart and how we can all embody the spirit of St. Francis in our daily lives.

What is a Franciscan Heart?

At its core, a Franciscan heart is filled with love, humility, and compassion. It is a heart that seeks to serve others, find joy in simplicity, and live in harmony with nature. St. Francis of Assisi, the founder of the Franciscan order, lived these values in his own life, and his teachings continue to inspire us today.

The Simplicity of St. Francis

St. Francis lived a life of simplicity, rejecting the material wealth and luxury that were so common in his time. He chose instead to live a life of poverty, relying on the generosity of others to support his ministry. This simplicity allowed him to focus on what truly matters, like serving others and deepening his relationship with God.

The Humility of St. Francis

St. Francis was known for his humility, demonstrated through his interactions with others. He saw himself as a servant of all and treated everyone he met with kindness and respect. He also recognized his shortcomings and weaknesses and was not afraid to ask for help or admit when he was wrong.

The Compassion of St. Francis

Perhaps most importantly, St. Francis was a man of great compassion. He saw the suffering of others and was moved to act. Whether caring for the sick and dying or preaching to the birds and other creatures of the natural world, St. Francis saw the value and beauty in all of God’s creation.

Embodying the Franciscan Spirit

While we may not all be called to live a life of poverty and service like St. Francis, we can all strive to embody the spirit of the Franciscan way of life. Here are some ways we can do that:

Practice Simplicity

We can start by simplifying our own lives. This may mean decluttering our homes, reducing our consumption of material goods, or finding ways to live more sustainably. By doing so, we free ourselves from the distractions and burdens of excess and create more space for what truly matters.

Cultivate Humility

Humility is a virtue that can be difficult to cultivate, but it is essential for living a Franciscan life. We can start by recognizing that we are not the center of the universe and are all connected to something greater than ourselves. We can also learn to listen more than we speak and to be open to the perspectives and experiences of others.

Show Compassion

Finally, we can show compassion to others by looking for ways to serve and care for those around us. This may mean volunteering at a local shelter or food bank or simply taking the time to listen and be present for someone who is going through a difficult time. Doing so can help alleviate suffering and create a more loving and compassionate world.


In conclusion, having a Franciscan heart means living a life of simplicity, humility, and compassion. It means valuing what truly matters and striving to serve others in love.

While it may not always be easy to embody the spirit of St. Francis, the rewards of doing so are immeasurable. Think of all the money you’ll save by not buying unnecessary things! After all, who wouldn’t want to live a life filled with love, joy, and peace?

But in all seriousness, the Franciscan way of life is not just about living frugally and being kind to others. It’s about seeing the divine in all things and recognizing our interconnectedness with the world. It’s about being fully present in each moment and finding beauty and grace in even the most mundane aspects of life.

So, whether you’re a Franciscan or want to live a more fulfilling and meaningful life, take a page from St. Francis’s book and practice simplicity, humility, and compassion. Your heart – and the world – will thank you for it.


  1. Who was St. Francis of Assisi?
  2. St. Francis of Assisi was an Italian Catholic friar and preacher who founded the Franciscan order.
  3. What is the Franciscan way of life?
  4. The Franciscan way of life is based on the teachings of St. Francis of Assisi and emphasizes simplicity, humility, and compassion.
  5. Do I have to be Catholic to live a Franciscan life?
  6. No, the Franciscan way of life can be practiced by people of all faiths (or no faith).
  7. How can I learn more about the Franciscan Movement?
  8. You can visit the official websites of the
  • Secular Franciscan Order
  • The Poor Clares
  • The Friars of the Third Order Regular
  • The Franciscan Friars, OFM, OFM Capuchin, OFM Conventual
  • The Brothers and Sisters of the Franciscan Federation
  • The Order of Ecumenical Franciscans
  • The Third Order Society of St. Francis (Anglican)
  • The Order of Lutheran Franciscan
  • The Joint Committee on Franciscan Unity

9. Are there any modern-day examples of Franciscans?

  • Yes, many modern-day examples of Franciscan-hearted people, including Pope Francis himself, took his papal name in honor of St. Francis of Assisi.

Author: Mike Carsten OFS

Member of the Secular Franciscan Order; Minister, Troubadours of St. Clare Fraternity; President, Franciscan Ministries Inc., Serving the poor in Southeast Michigan;

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