Secular Franciscans laid out a robe on the floor of Our Lady of Sorrows Church in Southeast Portland in remembrance of the Oct. 4 feast of St. Francis of Assisi. Franciscans observe Transitus, or the passage of St. Francis to the next life. (Courtesy Evelyn Brush/Secular Franciscans)
Secular Franciscans laid out a robe on the floor of Our Lady of Sorrows Church in Southeast Portland in remembrance of the Oct. 4 feast of St. Francis of Assisi. Franciscans observe Transitus, or the passage of St. Francis to the next life. (Courtesy Evelyn Brush/Secular Franciscans)
Secular Franciscans from across the region, as well as members of the public, gathered at Our Lady of Sorrows Church in Southeast Portland Oct. 4 to honor their founder’s transition from earthly life to heaven, called Transitus. The word is derived from the Latin, meaning “crossing” or “going over.” The ritual included the reading of how St. Francis died in 1226 as told by two of his earliest biographers.

St. Francis had asked to be laid on the bare ground in a chapel so that he could feel brother earth on his skin.

He called for the reading of his favorite Gospel passage from St. John, in which Jesus washes the feet of his disciples. St. Francis also asked to have his brothers with him. He exhorted them to praise God always and to persevere. His parting words were, “I am on my way to God and I commend you all to his favor.” 

To symbolize St. Francis’ death, a Franciscan habit was laid out on the church floor with lit candles ringing it. A relic of St. Francis was placed in the hood of the brown robe.

At the point in the story when Francis dies, members of the St. Clare Fraternity and the San Buenaventura emerging fraternity prayerfully extinguished the candles.

Following the service, Evelyn Brush, minister of St. Clare, and Mateo Hernandez, leader of San Buenaventura, invited everyone to enjoy refreshments in the parish hall.