Skip to main content
Image Map

Engaging The Revolution of Tenderness: Home

Resources for Understanding St. Francis and Pope Francis

Why Tenderness?

Tenderness is the path of courage, of solidarity, of humility, and of commitment.  Tenderness is the measure of our humanity.  When we lose our tenderness, we begin to lose an essential element of ourselves and our capacity for goodness, for compassion, and for meaningful connection.  Tenderness, says Pope Francis, is "the path of choice for the strongest, most courageous men and women. Tenderness is not weakness; it is fortitude. It is the path of solidarity, the path of humility."  Are we courageous enough to let our worth be measured in terms of our tenderness?  Are we courageous enough to choose the way of tenderness?

Saint Francis

STUDENTS RESPOND: 5 Things Saint Francis and Pope Francis Have in Common

  1. Both St. Francis and Pope Francis embrace simplicity--material simplicity and simplicity of spirit.  Both reject the opportunity to possess many material items in order to live lives that are more connected to God.  St. Francis publicly renounced his inheritance and social standing in order to live surrounded by the most rejected of society--the lepers.  Likewise, Pope Francis chooses not to wear ostentatious items that some have worn in the past, and he chooses to live at the Santa Marta residence.  Both focus not on what they could possess and use, but on spending their time with others and with God.
  2. Both St. Francis and Pope Francis emphasize actions rather than words.  St. Francis reputedly said, "Preach the gospel at all times; use words when necessary."  While both preach and explain the importance of standing with the marginalized, they follow through on the actions they counsel for others.
  3. Both St. Francis and Pope Francis place God first in their lives.  St. Francis gave up his whole entire lifestyle after his experiences in war, in order to be closer to God.  Pope Francis practices simplicity in order to be closer to God.  Both went out to encounter God in others, and both want all of us to encounter God in one another.
  4. Pope Francis and St. Francis both respond to God's invitation to "rebuild my home," even to the point of embracing the revolutionary elements of the gospels of the church.  Both focus on encounter and interactions with the marginalized and the poor. St. Francis focused much of his energy in spending time in the leper communities in order to encounter the poor. Pope Francis, likewise, is modeling a welcoming, inclusive church that stays at the margins.  “How I want a church that is poor and is for the poor!” he said, shortly after being elected. 
  5. Another example of the similarities between the two is how they question the norms of society and challenge our perceptions an attitudes, encouraging us to grow into a community of greater love and understanding of one another.

Pope Francis

STUDENTS RESPOND: 5 Things St. Francis and Pope Francis Would Want Us to Consider Today

1.  Both St. Francis and Pope Francis ask us to examine and critique our consumption and consumerism, especially the throwaway culture that our materialism breeds.

2. Both St. Francis and Pope Francis are concerned about our being overly focused on individualism instead of concentrating on the well-being and advancement of everyone, especially those at the margins. 

3. Both St. Francis and Pope Francis would want us to consider how we are ordering our lives: is God (and what God wants for our world) our true focus?

4. Both would want us to throw off our indifference and allow ourselves to be constantly moved by God's love for us, so that we could manifest that same love to others.

5. Both St. Francis and Pope Francis would want us to consider how we can show love through our actions.  St. Francis became one in love and solidarity with the poor and outcast, and Pope Francis is calling for "a new and universal solidarity" founded upon tenderness.

 

Pope Francis and Saint Francis would ask us to examine and critique
our dependence on consumerism—the throw away culture that is bred from our capitalistic
wants. Both Saint and Pope Francis criticize the culture of their times for being focused on
advancing the individual, instead of focusing on advancing everyone including the marginalized.
Pope Francis and Saint Francis would ask us to examine and critique
our dependence on consumerism—the throw away culture that is bred from our capitalistic
wants. Both Saint and Pope Francis criticize the culture of their times for being focused on
advancing the individual, instead of focusing on advancing everyone including the marginalized.

University Archivist and Special Collections Librarian

Anne Ryckbost's picture
Anne Ryckbost
Contact:
309 McDonald Library
3800 Victory Parkway
Cincinnati OH 45207
513-745-4821