What Is the Prayer of St. Francis?


Quick Answer

The prayer of St. Francis is a well-known prayer requesting God's help in becoming an instrument of the divine peace. While commonly attributed to St. Francis of Assisi, research by Dr. Christian Renoux of the University of Orleans, France, indicates that it was originally published in France in 1912.

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What Is the Prayer of St. Francis?
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Full Answer

The work of an anonymous French author, the prayer first appeared in La Clochette magazine. Its association with St. Francis may owe its existence to a French version printed on the reverse of an image of St. Francis in 1920. This version did not attribute the prayer to St. Francis, but when the prayer appeared in English in the January 1927 edition of the Quaker magazine Friends' Intelligencer and in the 1936 book Living Courageously by Kirby Page, both sources attributed the prayer directly to St. Francis. The Catholic Cardinal Francis Spellman further popularized the prayer and its association with St. Francis in his writings.

The prayer of St. Francis remains popular in both Christian and interfaith circles. The Royal British Legion uses a hymn version of the prayer as an anthem of the Royal British Legion, and Mother Teresa made it part of the regular morning prayers of the Missionaries of Charity.

Although St. Francis did not write the prayer, Our Catholic Prayers considers the prayer to be in keeping with St. Francis' devotion to God. St. Francis did write a number of other prayers which have been preserved, primarily on the themes of praise and thanksgiving to God.

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