St. Francis of Assisi died around sunset on October 3, 1226. Below is an excerpt from a letter by Brother Elias, then General Minister of the Order, announcing St. Francis’ transitus (passing over) from life to Life Everlasting.
[O]ur comforter has been taken away from us, and he who carried us like lambs on his shoulders has set out abroad into a far country. He who was beloved of God and of man has been received into the most resplendent dwellings.
In truth, in very truth, the presence of Francis, our brother and our Father, was a light not only to us who were close to him, but also to those who were more removed from in calling and in life. He was a light sent forth from the true Light to enlighten those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, that he might guide their feet into the way of peace.
He did this, even as the true Daystar from on high enlightened his heart and inflamed his will with the fire of his love. When he preached the kingdom of God, when he turned the hearts of fathers to their sons, when he brought the foolish to the prudence of the just, he made ready for the Lord a new people throughout the whole world.
His name was spread far and wide, even to the islands and all nations marveled at his admirable works. For this reason, my sons and brethren do not mourn beyond all measures; for God, the Father of orphans will comfort us with his holy consolation. And if you weep, brethren weep for yourselves but not for him; for in the midst of our life we are in death, while he has passed from death to life.
Therefore, my brethren, bless the God of heaven confess him in the sight of all, for he has shown to us his mercy. Hold fast to the memory of our father and brother, Francis, for the praise and glory of him who made him great among us and glorified him in the sight of the angels. Pray for him, as once he asked us, and pray to him that God may make us sharers with him of his holy grace. Amen.