On a windy and snowy Friday, up the marble steps and in the distinguished chambers of Brooklyn Borough Hall, a remarkable event is underway. For the first time in 700 years, a collection of hand-written, 13th century manuscripts concerning St. Francis of Assisi have left Italy and, following a stop at the United Nations, they are on public display at 290 Joralemon Street, the seat of local government in Kings County.
The exhibit constitutes a variety of manuscripts and documents that directly and indirectly provide information and evidence about the life of Francis, including Francis' personal note to another friar ("Brother Leo..Health and peace!...), a papal instrument on the founding of the Franciscan order, and the text of the saint's Canticle for the Creatures, for which he is well known, among other treasures.
As Borough President Eric Adams, who agreed to host this unique and special event, noted: "St. Francis, one of the most venerated religious figures in history who abandoned a life of luxury for a life devoted to charity, love and serving the poor. We have an opportunity to reflect upon the messages in these texts, including love for all creatures, and compassion for the less fortunate in our society."
Frate Francis: traces, words, images is indeed an inspiring and timely exhibit.
Accompanied by an occasional speaker series on the manuscripts and the life of St. Francis, the exhibit closes next Wednesday, January 14. For further information, visit the Brooklyn Borough Hall website here
Deep in the Heart of Brooklyn