Editor’s Note: Missioner Amanda Ceraldi shares what the Feast of St. Francis looked like where she serves in Guatemala.

For hundreds of years Franciscans from all over the world have been commemorating the last moments of Saint Francis’ life and his passage to eternal life. Best known as the Transitus, on October 3rd, Franciscan communities from around the gather together to celebrate the life and memory of their patron St. Francis of Assisi. These rituals look different everywhere you go and in our little part of the Franciscan family at Valley of the Angels the celebrations begin with our kids.

Franciscan values and traditions are a part of everything we do here at Valley – from our spiritual formation to weekly Masses, from our teachings of virtues to celebrating Franciscan feast days, and everything in between. It’s safe to say that our kids know a lot about St. Francis and the Franciscan tradition. So when it comes to the Transitus, it’s only fitting that the kids take the lead.

The evening festivities began with some of our students in second, third, and fourth grades performing a dance in honor of the Canticle of the Creatures. Dressed as the sun, the rain, flowers, and all of the creatures Francis mentions in the canticle, the kids personified the words Francis wrote.

The Canticle of the Creatures dance

The Canticle of the Creatures dance

Following the Canticle of the Creatures our students put on a play reenacting the final moments of Francis’ life. Together, our students honored Francis’ passing to eternal life, which brought me into an even closer relationship with St. Francis.

St. Francis passing into eternal life (during the play)

St. Francis passing into eternal life (during the play)

During the Transitus ceremony the kids at Valley reminded me again why it is I feel so drawn to the Franciscan charism. St. Francis said, “Remember that when you leave this earth, you can take nothing that you have received—only what you have given.” During my time on mission thus far I have given and loved more than I ever thought possible and the reason for that is the kids.

St. Francis calls us to give. To give not only when it is easy, but more importantly when it is hard, when we don’t want to, or when we feel like we’ve given enough. The kids that I have fallen in love with at Valley of the Angels have taught me, like Francis, that I want to give and love more than what seems possible because that is what I will be able to take with me when I finish my time on mission and when I “leave this earth.”

The kids at the Transitus reminded me that love is the most important thing that I can give and through that love I am living the Franciscan charism and honoring St. Francis in all that I do.