While St. Francis is widely known for his love of the poor and his great care of nature, he also possessed a deep interior life that was punctuated by frequent periods of prayer and fasting. He often stepped away from his community of brothers and sought solitude to deepen his relationship with God.
In 1224, two years before his death, Francis felt drawn to Mount La Verna and set out with a few of his closest brothers to spend a period of prayer and fasting on the mountain. St. Bonaventure records in his biography (written between 1260-1266) how Francis, “was brought after many and varied toils unto a high mountain apart, that is called Mount Alverna. When, according unto his wont he began to keep a Lent there, fasting, in honor of St. Michael Archangel, he was filled unto overflowing, and as never before, with the sweetness of heavenly contemplation.”
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