By now, most of you know that I really love St. Francis. Ever since visiting Assisi a few years ago, largely on a whim, I’ve been coming to terms with an ever-growing affinity for the 12th/13th century friar. He’s grown to be something of a hero to me. As a non-Catholic (indeed, I’m not even Christian), I don’t admire him for religious reasons, or seek him out as a conduit for communicating with the divine. However, I’m fascinated with his life, with his commitment to simplicity and minimalism, and with his deep and overpowering adoration of nature as an extension of God.
I love that his followers loved him for his honesty. I love that he didn’t bullshit – he called it like he saw it, even when it was a tough pill for others to swallow. I also love him as a historical figure. We tend to think of saints in mythical terms; in many ways they are Catholicism’s answer to the problem of the pagan gods and demigods that the Church wanted to clean up and package into the new religion. Francis is kind of unique as a saint, in that he has a rich history, with lots of exciting, almost magical stories that accompany him on his rise to sainthood, but he was recent enough that we know a lot about him as a man. The thing that sealed the deal for me, I think, was seeing his belongings in the Basilica at Assisi, including the paperwork that was signed to create the Franciscan Order. With the creation of the order (whose members embraced poverty) Francis began the movement that essentially saved the 13th century Church from the ruin of excess.
But enough of my waxing poetic. I really like the guy. He was complicated, and flawed, but so are we all. Having him in my life helps me stop and take stock of what I really need, and appreciate that almost everything is already waiting in my heart.
This being the case, when I happened upon a statue of Francis in someone’s trash pile last week, I was so excited to take him home. It was a pretty weird find, because my boyfriend and I had set out that afternoon to find something (I wasn’t sure what) to go beside my front door for decoration. I’d had this idea that it would be a statue, but all day while we were shopping, nothing was catching my eye. We’d given up and were actually heading back home when we passed the trash pile and I spied Francis sitting there, waiting to be rescued.
Now why had someone thrown him away? Kind of easy – he looked like this:
I love him just the way he is – missing head and all. I’ve decided I’m going to sand him down and repaint him in a really pretty, glossy, bright color. Pretty sure that even though Francis would have thought adding tchotchkes to your life is a terrible waste of time and money, he still would have seen the humor in making someone’s castoffs beautiful again.
What color do you guys think I should paint him? I’m a fan of magenta or teal, but what do you think? Hot pink? Yellow? Grass green? Multi-colored with sparkles? Leave a comment below.
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Hmm, how about the robe grass green, the sandles/feet a bright yellow, the bird like a bright red, the basin gold and the water inside silver…
Oooh! I love it – almost like he’s majolica. I hadn’t thought of painting each part of him individually. Thanks for sharing such a great idea! You made me start thinking of what it would look like if I took all of the elements from his nature prayer and painted the statue to reflect it…
We do want to see another picture when you finish!
Definitely! I’m probably going to write a DIY post with before and afters, though I have my doubts that many people will be that eager to recreate the refurbishment of a headless St. Francis, lol.
I’m living in France. We have no problem with headless people here!
Ashamed to say that reading this it took a while for it to dawn on me that you’re not in fact a crazy-woman and that it’s actually entirely appropriate. That’s me setting up a headless St Francis stall! I don’t know about the colour. Gold was my first thought embarrassingly. I’m going to go with orange of some kind.
Lol! Gold sounds pretty nice, too. Normally not a huge fan of orange, but I guess it depends on the shade. A marigold-y hue might be really pretty.
It’s an unsophisticated colour was my thinking. But calculating like that defeats the purpose obviously. Look forward to seeing the result for sure.