Thursday, January 29, 2009

Juniper ( died 1258)

Not much is known about Juniper before he joined the Franciscan friars in 1210. He was received and mentored in the order by St. Francis himself. "Would to God, my brothers, I had a whole forest of such Junipers," Saint Francis would often say of Juniper.

Francis sent him to establish communities in Gualdo Tadino and Viterbo. When St. Clare was dying, Juniper consoled her. He was devoted to the passion of Jesus and was known for his simplicity.

Several stories about Juniper in the Little Flowers of St. Francis (Fioretti di San Francesco) illustrate his generosity and simplicity. Perhaps the most famous of these is the tale of the pig's feet.

Once Juniper was taking care of a sick man who had a craving to eat pig’s feet. This helpful friar went to a nearby field, captured a pig and cut off one foot, and then served this meal to the sick man. The owner of the pig was furious and immediately went to Juniper’s superior. When Juniper saw his mistake, he apologized profusely. He also ended up talking this angry man into donating the rest of the pig to the friars!

He died in 1258 and is buried at Ara Coeli Church in Rome.

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