Our Family and St. Francis of Assisi

When I converted to Catholicism, one of the areas I didn’t quite understand was the saints. My limited understanding was that they were people who had lived amazing lives, died and the church honored them. I came to find out that the little I knew, didn’t even scratch the surface, and wasn’t entirely correct. In a brief summary, not all saints lived an amazing life. Take for example St. Augustine who lived a crazy, lust driven life until his conversion. Next I was intrigued by was the idea of miracles, attributed to them after their death. As I’ve read more about the saints and have found similarities with their lives and mine, I have come to think of them as friends. My family and I celebrate their feast days, as if they were our own family birthdays.

In our house, every family member gets to celebrate the feast day of the saints they are named after. I don’t have a saint name, so I celebrate my favorite saint’s feast days.

Tradition in our house is that the person celebrating their feast day, gets to pick what we eat for breakfast and dinner (of course, this is if Mommy remembers to ask them and buys the groceries for breakfast). In addition to picking the meal, everyone gets to use our “You Are Special Today” plate. The plate was a tradition, in my house, when I was growing up. It was used to celebrate birthdays. We always looked forward to getting the special plate. It was a great way to feel unique throughout the day. My kids love being the center of attention for the day and so we started using the plates for birthdays and feast days. If I forget to grab the plate, a sibling will step in to save the day, “But they need the plate, Mom!”

October 4th is the Feast of St. Francis, meaning the day the church celebrates his life. St. Francis is a big favorite in our house! In 2011, my husband and I were able to travel to Europe. We were struggling with infertility, and I used this trip as an opportunity to pray for God to send us children. During one point in our trip, we headed to a restaurant that had been recommended to us by our friends back home. The hostess sat us next to a table of some other Americans tourists. We quickly realized that we recognized them from our hotel. We began talking to them and getting to know them. Toward the end of the dinner, they asked us if we’d been to Assisi yet. We had wanted to go, as it had been recommended to us but we had decided that the cost of the train ticket was too expensive. The couple told us that they were leaving Europe the next day, and had unused tickets to Assisi and then handed us the tickets. Talk about an unexpected gift! We traveled to Assisi the next day, and because of the train schedule, we only had a few hours in the town, but we made the most of our quick trip. We went to the tombs of St. Francis and St. Clare and I prayed for God to send us children. By the end of 2011, we brought home our oldest children, a daughter and a son. After our love of St. Francis and St. Clare, we chose those to be our children’s middle names. I didn’t remember praying at the tombs until years later. At the time of naming our children, I had just figured those were perfect names for a brother and a sister. When our youngest came home, I worried about how we would give him a similar middle name. We decided to name him Domiano, after the San Damiano cross St. Francis would hang in his churches. If number four ever joins us, I’m going to have to get super creative with that middle name, or just go for Assisi!

Do you have family saints in your homes? Do you celebrate feast days? Share how you celebrate, with us!

Copyright 2018 Courtney Vallejo. All Rights Reserved. 

Image Credit: Copyright 2018 Courtney Vallejo. All Right Reserved.