50 of the Most Famous Saint Francis of Assisi Quotes

Saint Francis of Assisi (1181-1216) was the founder of the Franciscan Order. He was a friar and mendicant whose love of all God’s creatures distinguished his life. Saint Francis was known to preach to birds and discuss theology with animals of all kinds. He is said to have convinced a city to feed a wolf that was attacking inhabitants; in exchange, he convinced the wolf to stop attacking citizens.

His life was characterized by his acceptance of poverty and devotion to God, as well as his intense desire to help all living beings. Through his work, he began the Order of Friars Minor and the Order of Saint Clare (the Poor Clares). One especially interesting point of his life was that he created the first live Christmas Nativity scene. He is known as the patron saint of animals, merchants, and ecology.

Francis of Assisi Quotes

Here are 50 of his most famous quotes.

  1. “If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.”
  2. “While you are proclaiming peace with your lips, be careful to have it even more fully in your heart.”
  3. “Start by doing what is necessary, then what is possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”
  4. “Lord, help me to live this day, quietly, easily. To lean upon Thy great strength, trustfully, restfully. To wait for the unfolding of Thy will, patiently, serenely. To meet others, peacefully, joyously. To face tomorrow, confidently, courageously.”
  5. “He who works with his hands is a laborer. He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman. He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.”
  6. “God requires that we assist the animals, when they need our help. Each being (human or creature) has the same right of protection.”
  7. “For it is in giving that we receive.”
  8. “The deeds you do may be the only sermon some persons will hear today.” ~ Francis of Assisi
  9. “While you are proclaiming peace with your lips, be careful to have it even more fully in your heart.”
  10. “Blessed is the servant who esteems himself no better when he is praised and exalted by people than when he is considered worthless, simple, and despicable; for what a man is before God, that he is and nothing more.”
  11. “Not to hurt our humble brethren is our first duty to them, but to stop there is not enough. We have a higher mission – to be of service to them whenever they require it.”
  12. “I have been all things unholy. If God can work through me, He can work through anyone.”
  13. “Be patient in trials, watchful in prayer, and never cease working.”
  14. “We have been called to heal wounds, to unite what has fallen apart, and to bring home those who have lost their way.”
  15. “A single sunbeam is enough to drive away many shadows.”
  16. “Blessed is the servant who loves his brother as much when he is sick and useless as when he is well and an be of service to him. And blessed is he who loves his brother as well when he is afar off as when he is by his side, and who would say nothing behind his back he might not, in love, say before his face.”
  17. “Do few things but do them well, simple joys are holy.”
  18. “And St. Francis said: ‘My dear son, be patient, because the weaknesses of the body are given to us in this world by God for the salvation of the soul. So they are of great merit when they are borne patiently.”
  19. “Keep a clear eye toward life’s end. Do not forget your purpose and destiny as God’s creature. What you are in His sight is what you are and nothing more. Remember that when you leave this earth, you can take nothing you have received, but only what you have given; a full heart enriched by honest service, love, sacrifice and courage.”
  20. “There is no use in walking anywhere to preach if your walking isn’t your preaching.”
  21. “O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.”
  22. “A man has only so much knowledge as he puts to work.”
  23. “The journey is essential to the dream.”
  24. “God could not have chosen anyone less qualified, or more of a sinner, than myself. And so, for this wonderful work He intends to perform through us, He selected me- for God always chooses the weak and the absurd, and those who count for nothing.”
  25. “All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle.”
  26. “True progress quietly and persistently moves along without notice.”
  27. “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;where there is hatred, let me sow love;when there is injury, pardon;where there is doubt, faith;where there is despair, hope;

    where there is darkness, light;

    and where there is sadness, joy.

    Grant that I may not so much seek

    to be consoled as to console;

    to be understood, as to understand,

    to be loved as to love;

    for it is in giving that we receive,

    it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,

    and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.”

  28. “God, enlighten the darkness of my heart and give me a right faith, a sure hope, a perfect charity, sense and knowledge, so that I may carry out your holy command.”
  29. “What you are looking for is what is looking.”
  30. “What do you have to fear? Nothing. Whom do you have to fear? No one. Why? Because whoever has joined forces with God obtains three great privileges: omnipotence without power, intoxication without wine, and life without death.”
  31. “Where there is Love and Wisdom, there is neither Fear nor Ignorance.Where there is Patience and Humility, there is neither Anger nor Annoyance.Where there is Poverty and Joy, there is neither Cupidity nor Avarice.Where there is Peace and Contemplation, there is neither Care nor Restlessness.Where there is the Fear of God to guard the dwelling, there no enemy can enter.

    Where there is Mercy and Prudence, there is neither Excess nor Harshness.”

  32. “Don’t canonize me too soon. I’m perfectly capable of fathering a child.”
  33. “A man sins who wishes to receive more from his neighbor than he is himself willing to give to the Lord God.”
  34. “A single sunbeam is enough to drive away many shadows.”
  35. “By the anxieties and worries of this life Satan tries to dull man’s heart and make a dwelling for himself there.”
  36. “It is the devil’s greatest triumph when he can deprive us of the joy of the Spirit. He carries fine dust with him in little boxes and scatters it through the cracks in our conscience in order to dim the soul’s pure impulses and its luster. But the joy that fills the heart of the spiritual person destroys the deadly poison of the serpent. But if any are gloomy and think that they are abandoned in their sorrow, gloominess will continuously tear at them or else they will waste away in empty diversions. When gloominess takes root, evil grows. If it is not dissolved by tears, permanent damage is done.”
  37. “Sanctify yourself and you will sanctify society.”
  38. “You cannot all abandon your possessions, but at least you can change your attitude about them. All getting separates you from others; all giving unites to others.”
  39. “Study always to have Joy, for it befits not the servant of God to show before his brother or another sadness or a troubled face.”
  40. “Spiritual joy arises from purity of the heart and perseverance in prayer.”
  41. “Remember that when you leave this earth, you can take with you nothing that you have received – only what you have given: a full heart, enriched by honest service, love, sacrifice and courage.”
  42. “A promise is a child of the understanding and the will; the understanding begets it, the will brings it forth.”
  43. “Everything in man should halt in awe…Let all the world quake and let Heaven exult when Christ the Son of the living God is there on the altar.”
  44. “No one is to be called an enemy, all are your benefactors, and no one does you harm. You have no enemy except yourselves.”
  45. “You can show your love to others by not wishing that they should be better Christians.”
  46. “We should seek not so much to pray but to become prayer.”
  47. “If we endure all things patiently and with gladness, thinking on the sufferings of our Blessed Lord, and bearing all for the love of Him: herein is perfect joy.”
  48. “It would be considered a theft on our part if we didn’t give to someone in greater need than we are.”
  49. “All things of creation are children of the Father and thus brothers of man. … God wants us to help animals, if they need help. Every creature in distress has the same right to be protected.”
  50. “For One in such a lofty position to stoop so low is a marvel that is staggering. What sublime humility and humble sublimeness, that the Lord of the Universe, the Divine Son of God, should stoop as to hide Himself under the appearance of bread for our salvation! Behold the humble way of God, my brothers. Therefore, do not hold yourselves to be anything of yourselves, so that you may be entirely acceptable to One Who gives Himself entirely to you.”


Saint Francis referred to animals and natural elements as his brothers and sisters. In our current understanding of ecology as the sustainer of all life, these quotes are especially important and helpful to us all.

These quotes help us remember that all life is important and precious. They remind us that through helping and giving we find our best selves. Use these 50 quotes to inspire you to give your best to every creature and to the world.

Image Credit: MK Feeney / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)


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