US Catholic Faith in Real Life

A saint with other plans

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The best laid plans may not always be God's plans. St. Francis inspires us to hear God's call.

By guest blogger Donna Richert

Sometimes I think I have my whole life figured out.  I grew up, got an education, fell in love, got married, had a family, enjoyed a teaching vocation, became a grandparent, and loved others along the way.

But perhaps, there was another plan, and I just didn’t hear the invitation. 

Francesco Bernadone thought he had his life figured out as well. He was the son of a wealthy merchant and had dreams of honor and glory as a knight.  He probably would have served well in the military and then come home to take over the family business.  However, God had other plans.

There was a stirring in his soul, something he could not name but a whispering that would not go away.  He slowly retreated from his partying lifestyle and the business vocation his father wanted for him. He found himself taking long introspective walks and finding numerous places in nature for prayer.  Once when he was visiting a ruined church near his hometown of Assisi, Francis hear a voice say "Restore my church."  Francis believed that God was telling him to rebuild a ruined church nearby.  Through Francis example, others found joy in helping to build up the broken down church and emulated his love of nature and respect for all of God's creatures. 

We all know the rest of the story. Francis went on to found his own order with the simple rule of poverty and complete trust in God's providence.  His order, which began with a dozen brothers, swelled to 2,000 just a couple of years later.  The Franciscan movement then spread all over Europe and did much to restore the entire church at a time when heresy threatened it from many sides.

You see, God's dream for Francis of Assisi was much greater than what he had envisioned for himself.  And it's the same for you and me. The lesson of St Francis' life inspires me.  Perhaps I don't have it all figured out.  I continue to pray and maintain an open my mind and heart to God's voice, for there just may be a glorious path I have yet to take.

My soul is longing for the next chapter.  Whatever it is, Lord, I'm listening.

Donna Richert is a retired Catholic educator who gives her time to volunteer efforts and her grandchildren.

For the month of November we're celebrating all the church's saints--both official and unofficial--with blog submissions from readers and contributors on their favorite saints. Send in your own 500-600 word submission to

Guest blog posts express the views of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of U.S. Catholic, its editors, or the Claretians.