The Canticle of the Creatures

Collage of creation

Collage by Bro. Jeffrey, TOR of the Province of the Immaculate Conception – visit his blog here to read details about this amazing artwork.


Image of grotto showing Francis dictating his Canticle

Francis composed The Canticle of the Creatures, known also as The Canticle of Brother Sun, during the spring of 1225 while he was taken ill and staying at San Damiano and being cared for by St. Clare and her Sisters. The Canticle was originally composed in the Umbrian dialect and contains three distinct sections: a praise of God for creation and the “creatures” living within as family (sun, moon, stars, wind, water, fire, earth); praise for those who forgive for the love of God; and praise for Sister Bodily Death. Of the canticle sections, only the first section of the Canticle was completed while Francis was at San Damiano. The section on forgiveness was later composed in the episcopal (bishop’s) palace in Assisi where the sick Francis resided for several weeks in September of 1226, and the last section on Sister Death was composed at the Portiuncula, prior to Francis’ own encounter with Sister Death on October 3, 1226.




In writing his praises, Francis knew that “While the sun, moon and stars, wind, water, fire, and earth may be seen as instruments of praise or as reasons for praise, praising them also implies praising the God who created them and acknowledging that they are symbols of their Creator.”  (1)


Canticle original A



(1) Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, Vol. 1 – The Saint . Eds. Regis J. Armstrong, O.F.M. Cap., J.A. Wayne Hellman, O.F.M. Conv., and William J. Short, O.F.M. New York: New City Press, 1999. p. 113.