St. Francis Fountain
Why A Saint Francis Fountain?
Saint Francis is the Patron Saint of Saints, the Patron Saint of Italy, (home of nearly half of all saints), Patron Saint of Ecology, and Patron Saint of Birds. He is known for many miracles, including his holy stigmata, his Sermon to the Birds, the taming of the Wolf of Gubbio, and a very special cricket that sang for three days to ease his pain near the end of his life, but why a Saint Francis Fountain? Of course, there is a story:
Saint Francis was walking along, from one village to another, sharing the gospel with all who would listen, be they people, birds, wolves or fishes! One day he fell in with a well respected nobleman who had a retinue of servants travelling with him. It was a hot sultry day and as they walked along together one of the servants began to complain, “I’m hungry.” “I’m tired.”
The other members of the caravan ignored him, but he would not stop, “I’m tired.” “I’m hungry.” “It’s too hot.” Complaining is contagious. Saint Francis noticed how the whining began to wear on everyone, like a small dark cloud that began to grow.
At first Saint Francis was not sure if he should say anything; the nobleman did not seem perturbed, but the dark cloud continued to grow.
“I’m hungry.” “I’m tired.” “I’m thirsty.” Saint Francis felt called to be a light unto this dark cloud, but how?
Turning towards the servant, Saint Francis said, “Look at the birds of the air. They do not fly about wondering what they are going to eat, where they will rest or what they shall drink. And does not our Lord love us, and care for us, His children, as least as well?”
And with these Words, Saint Francis picked up a stone from the side of the hill and in that moment the stone became bread. Saint Francis broke bread with the servants and their hunger was alleviated. And in that moment, where the stone was removed, a fountain gushed forth and they all drank deep and long. Their thirst was quenched then and always, from that day onward.
Because a Nobleman was present, and witnessed this miracle, because he recorded this story in his journal, of all of the miracles attributed to Saint Francis, this one is irrefutable. And some say that fountain springs eternal; still to this day it quenches the thirst of weary travelers as they make their way towards Rome.
With a Saint Francis Fountain in your garden, you can be reminded of this small miracle every day you gaze upon it. As the birds frolic and the water splashes, may you also know that you are loved at least as well as the birds who visit your resplendent garden!
*This traditional story is based on the medieval book, “The Little Flowers of Saint Francis” and is retold by Brian “Fox” Ellis, author and storyteller. © 2008 All rights reserved. www.foxtalesint.com