St. Francis was not a hippy…

St. Francis was not a hippy… October 4, 2011

… I don’t how this Disney version character assassination happened or when it began to gain popularity, but St. Francis is not a hippy.

Blech! Hmm, this scene looks familiar.

Look, you don’t get stigmata by recycling plastics, refusing to wear leather, and driving a Prius. The simple fact is, St. Francis lived a life of extreme poverty and devout prayer. He walked to Egypt to convert the muslim Sultan, albeit unsuccessfully, but offered himself up as kindling in a trial-by-fire in order to prove the veracity of the Christian gospel. St. Francis also gave us the Nativity scene creche, is considered the first Italian poet, and he wrote in the local dialect of Umbria instead of Latin decades before Dante.

I don’t know a single spoiled trust fund baby who would follow in Francis’s foot steps and renounce their parent’s money for a life of constant prayer and crushing poverty so they can have more free time to attend protests and peace rallies.

So we’ll be taking back our St. Francis now, thank you very much.

Much better. St. Francis of Assisi by El Greco.

Related links; Abbey Road’s Gateway Saint for a different perspective… and he makes an excellent point too.

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  • Amen!!

  • Paige Deaner

    Love the corgi in that picture!! I agree, I think St. Francis got kind of milque toast when everyone started putting statues of him in their gardens!!

  • Crescat writes : “St Francis was not a hippie”

    It depends on which aspect you’re speaking of.

    …the hippies of the 1960s did understand something. They were right in fighting the plastic culture, and the church should have been fighting it too… More than this, they were right in the fact that the plastic culture – modern man, the mechanistic worldview in university textbooks and in practice, the total threat of the machine, the establishment technology, the bourgeois upper middle class – is poor in its sensitivity to nature… As a utopian group, the counterculture understands something very real, both as to the culture as a culture, but also as to the poverty of modern man’s concept of nature and the way the machine is eating up nature on every side.

    Francis Schaeffer Pollution and the Death of Man ch. 2

    My growing up a suburban flower child lead me directly to the Faith because they both seek on a natural level the same end. The difference is the supernatural. But the natural is not accidental to man, just as the supernatural is not accidental.

  • Sally Thomas

    I am liking that Corgi of Gubbio there.

  • lethargic

    Yes! Tired am I of seeing St. Frank in the garden with the adorable little bird perched on his hand … have nothing against birds … but St. Frank was about fasting, poverty, more fasting, giving things away, some more fasting … read his Rule of 1221 and you will faint from the fasting …

  • Rhoix Leon


  • shana

    “Brother Sun and Sister Moon” gave Francis that slightly glazed-over pie eyed stoner look and gave him the ‘hippy’ image. I hate that movie. (Donovan. Ugh.)

  • “I don’t know a single spoiled trust fund baby who would follow in Francis’s foot steps” Yet he started out as a medieval equivalent of a spoiled trust-fund baby. Then he repented.

  • Thank you for this post. I wish people would get to know the real St. Francis and you do a good job of presenting him. More here at my web site:

  • tj.nelson

    Do I hear an Amen? Why yes I do. Thanks Kat!

  • bt

    Well said.

  • O’Brien

    I think his talking to the animals helps him come across as a hippy, that plus his calling non human things brother and sister.

  • Timothy Ryan

    Watch out for that raccoon behind the bushes!!!

  • Sarah Powers Mostrom

    GK Chesterton’s biography of St. Francis provides a fresh perspective on the saint and his life. He describes him as a kind of live-wire, definitely too hyper to be like most hippies today.

    • JC, Order Secular Franciscan

      I’m reading it now, pretty solid approach to understanding Francis.

    • Richard M. Sawicki

      Good point!

      I’ve got to get a copy of it. I deal with so many hippie-dippie, liberal, power-to-the-people, anti-magisterial people who self identify as “Franciscan”, that I’d love to have some of GKCs quips to add to my verbal arsenal!

      Gaudete in Domino Semper!

  • Guest

    Yes, St Francis was not a hippy. And St Anthony didn’t go around finding lost things when people recited a nursery rhyme. And St. Joseph didn’t go around sticking his head into holes home sellers dug in their backyards.