St. Francis of Assisi sometimes depicted with skull, not birds - Tucson News Now

St. Francis of Assisi sometimes depicted with skull, rather than birds

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

With his name alone, Pope Francis, who is a Jesuit, is drawing a segment of the Catholic Church into the spotlight.

Many believe the name is taken from St. Francis of Assisi.

The Franciscan Order is named for St. Francis who was born in Europe in the 12th century.

Many people are aware of statues and paintings of him holding a bird or being surrounded by birds and other animals.

It's said he would even preach to the animals.

However, look closely at the stained glass window depiction of St. Francis of Assisi in the vestibule of St. Augustine Cathedral in downtown Tucson.

No birds or other animals.

However, there are a human skull and dying flowers at his feet.

Father Manuel Viera, a Franciscan Friar, tells KOLD News 13 that the birds and the skull come from the same source.

It's "The Canticle of Brother Sun and Sister Moon" that St. Francis wrote.

"And toward the end of the canticle Francis says 'be praised, my Lord, for Sister Death,' and he sees in Sister Death the priestess of God because it's the one that takes us to Him, the one that brings us into the fullness with Him. So for him, death is to be embraced because it is the one who takes us to the Lord," says Father Viera.

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