Saint of the Day – 22 April – Blessed Francis of Fabriano OFM (1251-1322) Priest of the Order of the Friars Minor, Theologian, Spiritual Writer, renowned Preacher – born as Francesco Venimbeni on 2 September 1251 in Fabriano, Ancona, Italy and died on 22 April 1322 of natural causes, aged 70. Patronage – of Fabriano.
Francis was born in the year 1251 in the city of Fabriano. His father was a physician in that city and highly esteemed, not only because of his medical ability but still more, because of his love for the poor and afflicted and his sincere piety. Daily, little Francis recited the Divine Office and he was proficient in Latin before he was ten. To the great joy of his parents, Francis gave evidence of the finest talents, an alert understanding, and a meek and devout temperament.
As a boy Blessed Francis of Fabriano had a very serious illness which brought him to death’s door. Then the pious mother vowed to make a pilgrimage to the grave of St Francis of Assisi and at once, the illness took a turn for the better.
In Assisi the venerable Brother Angelo, one of the first associates of St Francis, saw the lovely boy and foretold to the mother, that he would later be his companion in the order. In consequence, Francis won the commitment and love of his parents more and more.
The boy’s desire for learning and his great progress were especially pleasing to his father. When he had reached his seventeenth year, he experienced a strong impulse to consecrate himself to God in the Order of St Francis and his pious parents gave their consent.
In 1267, he completed his humanities and philosophical studies before Francis entered the Franciscan convent at Fabriano and there, under the excellent direction of Father Gratian, later minister general of the entire order, Blessed Francis of Fabriano was instructed in all the conventual virtues. He applied himself to theological studies and purchased – with his father’s own funds – a handsome scale of books and other publications for the convent. He loved to call it the “best workshop in the convent” and its catalogue contains works of the Church Fathers as well as mathematicians and preachers. There was also works of theological and biblical commentators. Mark of Lisbon OFM (died 1622) Franciscan Historian and the Bishop of Porto in Portugal, dubbed the friar as a “most learned man and renowned preacher.”
In order to gain the Portiuncula indulgence he went to Assisi and there, he heard from the trusted companion of St Francis, Brother Leo, who was still living, how this popular indulgence had been given and also how the Stigmata had been bestowed. Concerning both these facts Francis later wrote a book, which still serves as evidence.
Blessed Francis died on 22 April 1322 and had predicted the date of his own death. He is buried in Fabriano.
The Beatification for the late friar was celebrated on 1 April 1755 after Pope Pius VI approved the late friar’s “cultus.”