Why the Transitus of St. Francis is Vital to Commemorate

by Sister Julie Ann on October 3, 2009

transitus-copy.jpgThis year on October 3, 2009 as well as every year on the vigil of the Feast of St. Francis, the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity along with the entire Franciscan Family gather to celebrate the Transitus of St. Francis. This devotion ritually remembers Francis’  passing from this life into God. It is a ritual that has survived three decades.

Fr. Daniel Grigassey, OFM writes:” the Transitus has become a significant and even necessary annual event. To ritually revisit the story of Francis’ passing is vital; without it something significant is missing. It specifies the living memory of Francis; it intensifies our commitment to follow Christ in the way of the poor man of Assisi.”

img_6530_edited-1.jpgThis year marks the first time that chaplain Fr. Finian Zauch, OFM, celebrated the Franciscan ritual at the Motherhouse in Manitowoc. A member of the Franciscan Friars of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Province, Father Finian arrived in Manitowoc in mid-September after serving in numerous administrative posts including Provincial Librarian, Archivist, Principal of St. Bonaventure High School, substitute chaplain, teacher of religious education to both elementary and high school students and assisting in Byzantine parishes. 

img_6612.jpgAt 4 p.m. on October 3, Postulants, Novices and some professed Sisters also led music for the Saturday evening Eucharist at Holy Cross Parish, Mishicot, WI. Father Paul Paider, pastor, and parish members welcomed the music troupe on the vigil of St. Francis and united their voices in song during the liturgy. This Franciscan vocation ministry of presence and music outreach in parishes begins its fifth year.

How did you celebrate the feast of St. Francis?

7 thoughts on “Why the Transitus of St. Francis is Vital to Commemorate”

  1. It is striking to me that the celebration of the Transitus and the outreach of presence and service at a nearby parish all take place within hours of each other. Francis brought religious life out of the monasteries and into the marketplaces and today we do the same. We gather with each other and we move out of our convents to serve and be present to a larger portion of God’s people. Our “called to be, called to serve” is concretized in such actions.

  2. Yesterday afternoon Father Finian light-heartedly commented that we need to return to the octave celebration of the Feast of St. Francis. Knowing full well the speed of which twenty-four hours disappears, it is wise we have the mix of celebration and action in our lives not one day, not eight days, but every day. And if we don’t, it may be that part of Francis’ personality and spirit that is ours to truly imitate until the next Oct. 4 dawns.

  3. Sister Rosangela Weiland says:

    It was wonderful to celebrate our first Transitus service at Chiara Convent Chapel. I almost felt like I was present with the first Friars at the death of Francis. I could picture him on the ground, embracing poverty, dying as he had lived with almost nothing to call his own. It made me think of all that I have in comparison and the need for me to follow Francis more closely. We had a glorious St. Francis Day also.

  4. Sister Pat Sevcik says:

    Every year, I look forward to the celebration of the Transitus. Before beginning Instructions with Marie and Kara recently, we prayed the beautiful Canticle of the Creatures. Then I read the story of the death of St. Francis. It is a privilege to introduce our Postulants to our rich traditions and to teach them about St. Francis.
    We all enjoyed the celebrations on October 4th, beginning with the Eucharist and hearing Fr. Finian’s inspiring homily. Let us spread the joy!

  5. Sister Mary Bodwin says:

    I thought the Transitus was so meaningful. I almost felt I was on the ground with Francis.
    The darkness in chapel and the procession added so much to the ceremony.
    I am so grateful to be a Franciscon Sister of Christian Charity.
    Sister Mary Bodwin

  6. The celebration of the new life of St.Francis on the night of his death always strikes me at how HOPE is so important in our lives!

  7. Sister Sharon Paul says:

    We celebrated the “Transitus” at 7 P.M. in our St. Mary’s Chapel, West Pt. NE after fasting for the day which is a great way to prepare for the FEAST. This year it took a greater effort to CELEBRATE since the Sunday Readings, Office, etc took precedence. Like Sr. Julie Ann stated we LIVE & celebrate St. Francis’ ideals each day or we should. A blessed FEAST to each of YOU from our house to yours! Gratefully in St. Francis & St. Clare!

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