Feastday: 27 November
Born in Lucera (southeast Italy), Francesco entered the Conventual
Franciscans in 1695. After his ordination 10 years later, he taught
philosophy to younger friars, served as guardian of his friary and later
became provincial. When his term of office ended, Francesco became master
of novices and finally pastor in his hometown.
In his various ministries, he was loving, devout, and penitential. He was
a sought-after confessor and preacher. One witness at the canonical
hearings regarding Francesco’s holiness testified, "In his
preaching, he spoke in a familiar way, filled as he was with the love of
God and neighbor; fired by the Spirit, he made use of the words and deeds of Holy Scripture, stirring his listeners and moving them to do
penance." Francesco showed himself a loyal friend of the poor, never
hesitating to seek from benefactors what was needed.
At his death in Lucera, children ran through the streets and cried out,
"The saint is dead! The saint is dead!" Francesco was canonized
Eventually we become what we choose. If we choose stinginess, we become
stingy. If we choose compassion, we become compassionate. The holiness of
Francesco Antonio Fasani resulted from his many small decisions to
cooperate with God’s grace.
During his homily at the canonization of Francesco, Pope John Paul II
reflected on John 21:15, in which Jesus asks Peter if he loves Jesus more
than the other apostles and then tells Peter, "Feed my lambs."
The pope observed that in the final analysis human holiness is decided by
love. "He [Francesco] made the love taught us by Christ the
fundamental characteristic of his existence, the basic criterion of his
thought and activity, the supreme summit of his aspirations"
(L'Osservatore Romano, vol. 16, number 3, 1986).