Ethos and Charism
St Francis of Assisi (1182 - 1226)
Francis of Assisi did more than anyone else to restore the image of the Jesus of the Gospels to the consciousness of the medieval Church. He did so by reflecting the life and character of Jesus in his own life. Of course, he did this in a way appropriate to his own time and place, but it was in a way that has caught the imagination of Christians and others down to the present day.
Francis’ aim was to conform his life to that of Jesus in every respect. He took the example and teaching of Jesus in the Gospels straight-forwardly and extremely seriously. As his biographer Bonaventura put it, “His only desire was to be like Christ and to imitate him perfectly”. In particular, Francis imitated the poverty, the humility and the compassion of Christ. Of course, in his desire to imitate Christ, he knew only too well his sins and failures.
Francis renounced his wealthy background and embraced absolute poverty - not reluctantly but fervently, making it the principle of his whole life and of the order of friars he founded. He did so because poverty identified him with Jesus, who had nowhere to lay his head. He wanted, he said, “naked to follow naked Christ”. The final step in his discovery of his vocation came when he heard in church the passage in Chapter 10 of Matthew’s Gospel, where Jesus, sending out his disciples, orders them to take no money, no bag, no second tunic, no shoes, no staff. “This is what I long to do with all my heart”, cried Francis joyfully. Typically he obeyed these words to the letter.
Francis insisted on the literal imitation of Christ and the strictest obedience to Jesus’ teaching. “Give to anyone who asks you”, said Jesus, and so Francis did so, however little he had to give. “Take no thought for the morrow”, said Jesus, and so Francis allowed his friars to earn or beg only enough food for each day at a time. Yet with this extreme literalism Francis discovered a liberating way of life. He lived with absolute trust in God. Having no material possessions, he enjoyed a kinship with all God’s creatures. While he made a principle of never criticising the rich and the powerful - which would be inconsistent with humility - he was able to live close to the poor and the suffering. It was no accident that he made a special point of caring for and actually living with lepers. As in Jesus’ time, these were the most despised and shunned people in society. Francis showed them the Jesus who in humility and compassion comes close to them.
Religious Identity and Culture
From the first moment that a student sets foot in a Catholic school, he or she ought to have the impression of entering a new environment, one illumined by the light of faith, and having its own unique characteristics. The inspiration of Jesus must be translated from the ideal into the real. The Gospel spirit should be evident in a Christian way of thought and life which permeates all facets of the educational climate
(Religious Dimension of Education in a Catholic School, 1988, n.25).
Mission Statement e Content
We, the community of St Francis College, Crestmead shall reflect in every aspect of our lives the values, beliefs and traditions of our Catholic faith.
We will strive for inner peace and freedom from fear through prayer and reflection. We will nurture a climate which encourages wholeness, esteem, hope, care, compassion and understanding. We will accept each other as individuals with unique talents and gifts. We endeavour at all times to be responsible models for justice and the Franciscan spirit of poverty.
Parents and teachers will work together to foster in our students a desire to learn and encourage the development of basic skills necessary to achieve their full potential in an ever-changing world. Students will be encouraged to make decisions and commitments which will help them grow spiritually, intellectually, physically, emotionally and socially.
We believe that God has given us the responsibility of stewardship over Creation. It is the work of students, staff and parents to contribute to the protection and promotion of natural and human welfare in order to advance the creative activity of God.
With St Francis and St Clare, in simplicity and harmony we will "follow the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ and walk in His Footsteps".
School Motto and Logo Page Content
After his commission at the foot of the San Damiano Cross, Saint Francis chose a more ancient symbol of redemption as his standard: the Tau cross.
In commenting on the scriptures of Israel, the early Christian writers used its Greek translation, the Septuagint, in which the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet, the tau, was transcribed as a “T” in Greek. Saint Francis had first encountered this symbol when he was caring for lepers. He and the religious followers of St. Anthony the Hermit, who were working with him, used Christ’s cross; shaped like a Greek “T” - as a protection against the plague and other skin diseases.
Saint Francis eventually accepted and adapted the “T” as his own crest and signature. For him, the “T” represented life-long fidelity to the Passion of Christ. It was his pledge to serve the least, the leper and outcast of his day. The College Symbol or badge is a stylized version of the Tau Cross that Francis used as his signature. The College Motto “In Simplicity and Harmony” stems from the core values and beliefs emanating from the story St Francis of Assisi. Lower page content