Franciscan Spirit Blog

The Franciscan Coat of Arms

Franciscan Coat of Arms

If you go to any of our Franciscan friaries, churches, or convents, you will almost always find the Franciscan Coat of Arms hanging on a wall or visible over a doorway. This holds true around the world as well as through the centuries. The Franciscan Coat of Arms often consists of a cross with two arms crossing each other—with a cross in the background. One arm is that of Christ; the other is that of St. Francis of Assisi. This image is a key identification badge for those who consider themselves followers of St. Francis of Assisi.

This Franciscan Coat of Arms is an image worthy of our contemplation. The image is a true expression of both Jesus’ and Francis’ fervent style of love. We see in Jesus’ crucified hand, first of all, God’s incredible love for us. In Francis’ wounded hand, in turn, we see the loving response of St. Francis to the burning love of God, who first loved us.

This is indeed something to ponder. All in all, the Franciscan Coat of Arms is a wonderful expression of the Franciscan (or Seraphic) style of love. Though few of us live up to this ideal, it calls us to something rare and splendid!

The Coat of Arms of the Franciscan Order is often depicted on the altar in sanctuaries of Franciscan churches or is engraved in plaques that represent the Franciscan Order in various institutions throughout the world. It is a familiar picture: an emblazoned circle, with two arms crossed, the bare arm of Christ over the robed arm of Francis, both with the stigmata, beneath a larger central cross emitting glittering rays of light.

The Coat of Arms depicts the total conformity of Francis to Jesus Christ, a central theme of early Franciscan legends and hagiography.

A Prayer

Lord Jesus, you said, “No one has greater love than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
Help us to contemplate the amazing intensity of your love, as symbolized by your crucified hand.
Help us also to imitate you more fully and to imitate
St. Francis, who responded so fervently to the love so lavishly poured out upon him. Amen.

St. Francis of Assisi collection

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign Up for Our Daily Newsletter​

Includes Saint of the Day, Minute Meditations, and Pause + Pray.