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Both Francis and Clare recognised the Divine imprint in every human person, seeing them created in the image and likeness of God.  They expressed this deep insight by treating everyone they met with equal reverence and dignity.
In the documents collected for Clare’s canonisation Sr Pacifica, one of her community members in San Damiano spoke of Clare who, despite holding the position of Abbess,  [a very ‘aristocratic’ role in 13th century monasteries]  “… served her sisters, washed their feet and gave them water with her own hands.  She would wash the mattresses of the sick…….” . Clare in her own Testament spoke of her sisters as women whom the Lord had called “to be a mirror and example” of Christ for others.
Francis, too, saw the face of God in everyone he encountered.  He was as comfortable washing the wounds of the lepers in the valley below Assisi as he was being in the presence of the Pope. In his Admonitions to his brothers he wrote: “Blessed is the brother who would love and respect his brother as much when he is far away as he would when he is with him; and would not say anything behind his back which, in charity, he could not say to his face” (Admonition XXV)
Our hope is that everyone who visits the Franciscan Centre experiences that same sense of being treated with dignity and respect.

Artwork by Lee Kowling ‘Francis embraces the leper’ Used with permission