When I began this reflection, I thought I would find a special font to print Pope Francis’ name. Something elegant, and a bit fancy like Algerian, or Kunsler Script, or Showcard Gothic. But just look at him. He warrants a plain type. No fancy parts, no showy flourishes, just down-to-earth simplicity, the kind of simplicity that we know and admire in his chosen patron, Saint Francis of Assisi. Therefore, I used this simple font.
Pictures of Pope Francis in the media show him embracing handicapped persons, washing the feet of inmates, kissing the feet of babies after Baptism, removing his skullcap when the wind threatened to whisk it away. These are not what we have come to associate with the papacy. And I wonder, “Why not?” What kept this following of the poor and humble Jesus hidden in the papacy?
As one woman put it, “He has made history in just three days!” And what a history he is unfolding. I can hardly wait to follow him when he opens again the documents of Vatican II and puts the spin of Franciscanism on them.
I believe that this man of Italian heritage and born in Argentina will capture the entire world with his humility, genuine love of humanity, and determination to bypass the trappings of richness. We will see nothing in him that puts him above us. He still rides the bus, pays his own way, and carries his own luggage.
I have been a vowed Franciscan for more than 60 years, and fell in love with Francis at about age seven. My goal then was to be a person like St. Francis. I see Pope Francis, and I am aware of how far I am from following the poor man of Assisi, and ultimately the poor Jesus.
I hope to rectify that as I watch the successor of St. Peter putting me to shame. If we let him, Pope Francis will be able to bring about a true reform in the church and in me.
Peace, Joy, and Everything Good,
Sisters of St. Francis, Oldenburg