How to Pray The “Novena to St Francis”: 9 Facts on How to Unlock the Life-Changing Power of the Novena to St Francis

“Novena to St Francis”: 9 Facts on How to Unlock the Life-Changing Power of the Novena to St Francis

The Novena to St Francis of Assisi is a powerful, ancient Catholic devotion that continues to enrich and transform spiritual lives today as it has for centuries. This nine day Novena to St Francis invites the faithful to meditate on the virtues and miracles of St. Francis while beseeching his intercession.

When prayed with an open and patient heart, the novena to St Francis has the remarkable ability to center one’s faith, provide comfort amidst trials, impart wisdom for life’s questions, and renew zeal for living the Gospel way. Through the life and words of this beloved saint, God speaks.

By persistently repeating prayers like this Novena to St Francis that honor St. Francis’ poverty, stigmata, sermon to birds and more, devotees open themselves to the treasures of his spirituality. They walk more closely in his footsteps toward Christ. The Novena to St Francis creates space for God’s grace to soften hardness, light darkness, and set hearts ablaze.

This simple devotion has accompanied Catholics for centuries along the journey of faith. It remains a gift to all who desire spiritual nourishment and seek the loving intercession of the Poor Man of Assisi. The Novena to St Francis awaits…will you pray?

Novena to St Francis
Novena to St Francis

What is the Novena to St Francis prayer?

The novena to St Francis of Assisi is a nine day Catholic devotion whereby the faithful implore the intercession of this beloved saint by offering prayers like the Novena to St Francis that highlight his venerable virtues and miracles.

A novena, from the Latin word for nine, is an ancient tradition in the Church which consists of private or public prayers repeated for nine successive days, most often as a preparation for a feast day or solemnity. While novenas can be offered to any saint, devotional practice traces the origin of novenas specifically to St. Francis back to his early followers in the 13th century.

The traditional format for the novena to St Francis includes nine individual prayers for each of the nine days. These prayers call to mind Saint Francis’ radical embrace of Gospel poverty, his mystical reception of the holy stigmata wounds of Christ, his love for all of God’s creation, and other beautiful aspects of his life and legacy.

Every novena to St Francis prayer begins by invoking St. Francis to intercede for the devotion, recalling a particular virtue or moment associated with him. This is followed by a petition asking St. Francis to obtain for us a share of that grace from God. For example, the novena to St Francis prayer for the second day reads:

“O beloved Saint Francis, who during your lifetime miraculously received upon your own body the sacred stigmata of our Lord Jesus Christ: obtain for us, we pray, the grace to be always mindful of our Savior’s bitter sufferings for the salvation of all mankind. Following your own holy example, may we strive by acts of self-denial, charity, and prayer to participate in the mystery of Christ’s Cross.”

The Novena to St Francis prayer concludes each day with a brief doxology and antiphon in honor of St. Francis before making personal petitions. After the nine day novena, two final prayers are offered – one for the specific intention of the novena, and a final prayer of thanksgiving to St. Francis.

This format allows the faithful to meditate daily upon the virtues of St. Francis and be drawn more deeply into his spirituality as they persevere in devotion over the course of nine days.

Novena to St Francis
Novena to St Francis

What is the history of the Novena to St Francis prayer?

While novenas as a form of prayer extend back many centuries in the Catholic tradition, the widespread popularity of a specific novena to St Francis of Assisi developed over time and reached its current form in the early 20th century.

In the early medieval period, the practice grew of praying novenas – nine days of private or public devotion – in preparation for Church feasts. This practice was praised by popes and saints as a way to focus spiritual intentions. Given St. Francis’ immense fame and popularity within a few decades of his death in 1226, it is very likely his early followers began praying novenas in his honor.

The first Franciscan friars who knew St. Francis intimately helped promote devotion to their founder far and wide. Stories of his miracles and sanctity spread through preaching and early Franciscan writings. This likely inspired early novenas by the friars and laity seeking St. Francis’ intercession.

However, the novena did not take on a fixed format or widespread use for many centuries. Through the late medieval period and beyond, Franciscans continued to encourage praying in preparation for St. Francis’ feast on October 4th. Various local traditions and sets of prayers developed.

By the early 20th century, the popularity of novenas in America was surging. The Franciscan Friars sought to publish updated resources to meet the demand. It was New York Friar Benedict Huck, O.F.M., who compiled the now classic nine-day novena around 1937. He formatted the prayers for worldwide distribution.

This accessible, practical novena format allowed people everywhere to share in the same St. Francis novena devotion. Friar Huck’s work cemented these prayers for generations to come. The novena continues bringing devotees closer to the spiritual vision of St. Francis.

Faith Focused Dating Paul and Regina

What is the purpose of the Novena to St Francis?

This nine-day Novena to St Francis brings devotees closer to God by meditating on the virtues and legacy of St. Francis, while also beseeching his heavenly intercession. Some specific purposes include:

– To ask St. Francis to pray for a special intention, such as healing, guidance in difficult situations, help resisting temptation, peace in relationships, material needs, and countless other concerns close to the heart.

– To open oneself more fully to the spiritual wisdom and way of life embodied by St. Francis by focusing on his poverty, humility, charity, simplicity, joy, love of creation, and more through repeated prayer over consecutive days.

– To prepare the soul to celebrate the traditional feast day of St. Francis on October 4th with greater awareness of his holy life. The Novena to St Francis helps dispel distractions and stir up devotion.

– To obtain the plenary indulgence granted by the Church for praying this traditional novena – a special grace applying merits of Christ to purify the soul from any lingering effects of past sins.

– To spread devotion and passion for St. Francis to new generations and regions. Completing the novena strengthens love for him and appreciation of his role in the Church.

– To fulfill the words of St. Francis himself, who encouraged praying novenas for deep intentions. The novena tradition resonates with his spirituality.

Above all, this novena transforms hearts and lives by opening people to the mysteries and beauty of St. Francis’ way of holiness, just as he opened his heart and life to the way of his Lord.

Novena to St Francis
Novena to St Francis

How do you pray the Novena to St Francis?

The following guidelines will help anyone seeking to pray this powerful nine-day devotion:

– Save the Novena to St Francis prayer I’ve mentioned in a handy place so you can easily reference it every day.

– Set aside 10-15 minutes at a consistent time of day when distractions are minimal. Morning or night often works best. Ensure your phone or other devices are silenced.

– Find a quiet space conducive to focused prayer – a reserved chapel, home prayer corner, quiet park, or anywhere you can be alone with God.

– Before beginning each day’s prayer, pause to recall you are entering sacred time with God and will soon be in the presence of St. Francis too.

– Read the prayer slowly, attentively, taking time to mentally note words that resonate and pausing to reflect. Rushing distraction hinders fruits.

– After the closing antiphon, turn your heart to God and sincerely share the intention you hope St. Francis will present to Jesus. Speak from the heart.

– Consider offering sacrifices or extra works of charity to unite more fully to the Novena to St Francis. Fasting, almsgiving, and such offerings please God.

– If possible, prepare by receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation and daily Mass sometime during the Novena to St Francis for abundant graces.

– Persevere the full nine days without fail. Trust God’s timing to see your intention fulfilled according to His perfect will and wisdom.

– Close with heartfelt thanks to God and St. Francis, even if the favor hoped for was not granted exactly as imagined. God sees the full picture.

By praying with faith, consistency, and devotion, one can draw profoundly closer to St. Francis and the Lord He loved so dearly.

What is St. Francis the patron saint of?

St. Francis of Assisi’s immense and enduring popularity results from his being named patron and protector of a remarkably wide range of causes, places, and groups. This no doubt stems from his diverse life experiences and deeds. Some foremost things associated with St. Francis include:

Animals & Ecology – His legendary love for animals, including taming a wolf terrorizing local villagers and his famous sermon to birds praising God’s creation, led to him being deemed patron saint of animals and ecology.

Italy – St. Francis remains one of the most cherished saints in his native Italy. The iconic city of San Francisco also bears his name. He is hailed as a distinctly Italian saint.

Merchants & Business – Francis came from a wealthy merchant family and spent his youth in that worldly environment before undergoing conversion. The business class claims him as a patron.

Stigmata – After an intense vision of the crucified Christ, St. Francis became the first known saint to miraculously bear the wounds of the passion in his own flesh, gaining his patronage of the stigmata.

Peace – His supple humility and prayers before the Sultan made him an instrument of peace amidst war. He called peacemakers blessed.

Catholic Action – His efforts to rebuild the Church by example inspired future movements to renew faith from within. He pioneered Catholic Action.

There are too many to list fully, but St. Francis’ holy life and words touched every aspect of human experience – nature, politics, family, youth, workers, and illness – making him a companion to all.

Novena to St Francis
Novena to St Francis

How can I take a pilgrimage to see St Francis?

For devotees of St. Francis, walking in his footsteps on pilgrimage can be a powerful spiritual experience. Some major sites and tips include:

Assisi, Italy – The hometown of St. Francis and the focal point of Franciscan sites. The enormous Basilica of St. Francis contains his tomb and beautiful frescoes. Stroll the medieval streets he walked. Visit his childhood home and the Porziuncola chapel.

Rome, Italy – As the founder of the Franciscans, St. Francis had a meaningful relationship with Rome and the Vatican. Visit St. Peter’s Basilica where Francis met Pope Innocent III to approve his order. See the historic churches where Francis stayed.

La Verna, Italy – On Mount La Verna, St. Francis received the stigmata after a vision of a seraph. Tour the chapel and caves recording this miracle. Drink in the sweeping Tuscan views.

Greccio, Italy – Site of the first Nativity scene created by St. Francis in 1223 which established the tradition. Visit the Chapel of the Crib honoring this moment.

San Giovanni Rotondo – Home of Padre Pio, a modern stigmatist Franciscan friar who encapsulated St. Francis’ spirit. Francis’ influence is apparent.

When traveling to these sites, approach it prayerfully as a spiritual journey. Attend Mass, pray novenas on location, and journal insights. With openness, your faith will be rekindled at the very places St. Francis walked.

I’ve traveled extensively. Among the nations I’ve traveled to are America, Scotland, Korea, Hong Kong, Macau, The Vatican, Switzerland, France, Milan, and all of Israel. I’ll be in Turkey very soon.

I am knowledgeable about every aspect of travel. I’ve given you a few simple resources to help you get ready for your vacation.

    1. Find cheap flights for your journey HERE 
    2. A Car Rental
    3. Taxi Drivers
    4. Bus or Train Tickets
    5. Choose the Perfect Hotel for Your Trip HERE
    6. Fun Events for Your Journey
    7. Travel Insurance
  1. Phone for Traveling


Time to pack your bags! 🙂

What other saints are near St Francis?

Due to sharing his spirituality or being historical contemporaries, certain holy figures are often artistically and devotionally depicted alongside St. Francis. These saintly companions of Francis include:

– St. Clare of Assisi – St. Clare became a close follower of St. Francis and founded a contemplative Franciscan order for women called the Poor Clares. She embraced his poverty and devotion.

– St. Anthony of Padua – A renowned early Franciscan preacher and theologian possessed of remarkable knowledge, St. Anthony spread devotion to St. Francis.

– St. Elizabeth of Hungary – This noblewoman devoted her life and fortune to aiding the poor, much in the merciful spirit of St. Francis.

– St. Louis IX – As king of France, Louis exemplified how secular leaders can integrate Franciscan virtues. He joined the Third Order of St. Francis later in life.

– St. Bonaventure – A brilliant theologian and minister general of the Franciscans, he shaped the order’s direction after St. Francis’ death.

– Pope Gregory IX – This pope was a close friend and supporter of St. Francis. He canonized Francis and protected the nascent order.

Though coming from varied backgrounds, these holy figures form a kind of spiritual family tree under the inspiration of their Seraphic Father, Francis.

Novena to St Francis
Novena to St Francis

Making travel arrangments to see St Francis

Here is a blog post section on making travel arrangements to see St. Francis, written in a natural, conversational tone:

Planning a trip to trace the footsteps of St. Francis across Italy? I completely understand the urge! There’s nothing like walking where the saints have walked to ignite a spiritual fire. If the opportunity arises for you to visit Franciscan sites in Italy, take a deep breath and know the effort is so worth it. This will be a pilgrimage you’ll cherish forever.

But I also know firsthand that the logistics of international travel can be daunting! When I first felt called to take a Novena to St. Francis-themed trip years ago, I had no clue where to start. Hotels? Train tickets? Daily itineraries? It seemed like too much.

Here’s the advice I have after my own travels to Assisi, Rome, La Verna, and other spots devoted to St. Francis. First, don’t let yourself get overwhelmed. Keep the joyful spirit of Francis as your guide! Break down tasks into smaller steps. Knowing just the next one or two concrete things you need to do makes the planning very manageable.

Start by making a rough timeline of the dates and length of your visit. This will shape other choices. Identify the handful of top sites or regions you want to see, like Assisi, Rome, San Giovanni Rotondo, Greccio. Can’t see everything, so prioritize!

Don’t micromanage every hour, but have a general order of where you’ll go and how long you’ll stay. Factor in travel time between cities. Balance peaceful retreat time with sightseeing. Pepper in time for spontaneous encounters! Francis lived freely.

For hotels, look for ones near key sites you identified. Ask if they can provide breakfast and/or transfers to train stations. Check reviews. Airbnbs near city centers can also be a comfortable option. The hospitality of Italy awaits!

Lastly, embrace the spirit of pilgrimage! Make space for extra prayer like a Franciscan rosary or Novena to St. Francis while on your trip. This will bear much fruit. Buon viaggio!

How can praying the Novena to St Francis and taking a catholic pilgrimage to see him help to make me a saint?

We all long to become the saint God created us to be, right? I know I sure do! The question is, how do we grow closer to sainthood amidst busy lives? Let me share two powerful tools – the Novena to St Francis and the pilgrimage.

See, the novena and traveling in the footsteps of Francis help fan the flames of holiness in complementary ways. Through 9 days of meditating on Francis’ virtues and inviting him to intercede for us, the novena roots us deeply in the love of God. Our focus sharpens. Distractions and worldly desires fade as we prioritize prayer.

At the same time, physically journeying to the holy places Francis walked re-ignites spiritual passion. Imagine praying in the Porziuncola chapel or at the spot where he received the stigmata. Francis feels so near! These graced locations speak to our hearts and refresh our zeal like nothing else.

Together, the Novena to St Francis and pilgrimage provides a one-two punch against lukewarmness. Consistent prayer and visual reminders of God’s work in the saints help us surrender more fully. We find ourselves inspired to live the Gospel message right where we are.

The novena and pilgrimage experiences overflow into everyday choices to love more generously, offer hardship in union with Christ, and radiate joy no matter what. Gradually, almost imperceptibly, we are molded into a new creation. Holiness prevails!

Francis himself wrote, “Begin again, for up till now you have done nothing.” Well, let’s take up these twin tools to begin again today. With God’s grace, and Francis as our guide, we’ll become the saints we were made to be!

Are You Inspired?

Do the things we’ve learned about the Novena to St Francis inspire or motivate you in any way? Saints’ biographies provide for engaging reading and conversation. It has a great chance of producing spiritual fruit in our lives.

Would you wish to provide your loved ones a simple explanation of the saints? Why don’t you buy one of these amazing shirts I made especially for you? You can seek up your favorite well-known saints using the search bar at the top of this website. Anyone who asks about your clothing can be answered by a fun explination of your favorite well-known saints.

These motivational tales can even convince them to accompany you to church. Better yet, you might be able to share the Gospel with them. Everyone has sinned and falls short of God’s glory, according to Romans 3:23. As a result, everyone requires a Savior.

God sent His one and only son to fulfill the requirements of the law as part of the provision He made for us to inherit His genealogy. Rom. 4:15-16

In order to provide the ultimate atonement for our sins, Jesus had to come to Earth, live a sinless life, and die. The Bible states it this way…

“Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.”

– Hebrews 9:22

Jesus’ crucifixion, death, and burial were not the conclusion of the narrative. No, He resurrected himself from the dead! He promises to bring us back to life once we die because He is alive. He eventually defeated sin and death. Hallelujah!

Give your family, friends, and acquaintances access to this crucial information, and invite them to the RCIA class at the closest Catholic church.

Family members, friends, and acquaintances can join the Catholic Church and become eligible to receive the Holy Sacraments through the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults, or RCIA. By taking part in RCIA programs offered by their parish, students can learn everything they need to know about our magnificent Christian religion and our Compassionate Jesus.

This is the real way to save a life. What I want for you is this.

To view this specially created Novena to St Francis T-shirt, click HERE or on the image. The BUY NOW button will lead you to the checkout page after you select your preferred size and color.

Now that you’ve read the novena to St Francis, are you free to learn about another saint?

Why not investigate:

After reading about this Novena to St Francis, have you ever thought of coming back to our website every day to discover more about the Saint of the Day? Please take a moment to sign up if you’d like to receive my daily saint emails in your inbox. I’ll keep it short since I know you have a lot on your plate, but I’ll say more because I want you to learn something from me and constantly aspire to do better.

I’ll give you a Mother Mary printable as a freebie to put up in your home or place of business. I’ll email you a link to download it as soon as you submit the form.



Well, that’s all for today.

I’ll see you back tomorrow with another Saint of the Day to inspire you!

God bless you,


Priscilla McNabb

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