Sunday, November 28, 2010

Servant of God, Brother Juniper (? to 1258)

                 "For it is in giving that we receive." (St. Francis of Assisi)

    As I took two loaves of freshly baked pumpkin bread out of the oven this afternoon (I just cut up my last pumpkin of the season), I thought about how I would like to share them with someone the way St. Francis of Assisi and his companions would have shared their food.
   All year long, I think about ways to help less fortunate people (not just at Thanksgiving or Christmas) and I contribute by donating clothing or books or just doing something kind for someone each day. It's the only way I know as a secular person to emulate a Franciscan way of life without giving up my car, job, clothing, and visits to the salon.
   And today is my first blog entry devoted to a Servant of God who was also a Franciscan. Brother Juniper was a close friend and one of the first followers of St. Francis of Assisi. He had such compassion for the poor that he continually gave away whatever he had including his coat and shirt.
  Brother Juniper joined the Franciscan Order in 1210 and he helped establish monasteries in Viterbo and Gualdo Tadino, Italy. He is depicted in the "Little Flowers of St. Francis" written by an unknown author. Brother Juniper was with St. Clare of Assisi during her final days. He died in 1258 and is buried at Aracoeli Church in Rome.
  Brother Juniper's feast day is Jan. 29.

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