Servant of God Brother Juniper
“Would to God, my brothers, I had a whole forest of such Junipers,” said Francis of Assisi about Juniper who was born at Bevagna, Italy, in 1190 AD. We don’t know much about Juniper before he joined the friars in 1210. Francis sent him to establish “places” for the friars in Gualdo Tadino and Viterbo. When Saint Clare was dying, Juniper consoled her. He was devoted to the passion of Jesus and was known for his simplicity. Several stories about Juniper in the Little Flowers of St. Francis illustrate his exasperating generosity. Once Juniper was taking care of a sick man who had a craving to eat pig’s feet. This helpful friar went to a nearby field, captured a pig and cut off one foot, and then served this meal to the sick man. The owner of the pig was furious and immediately went to Juniper’s superior. When Juniper saw his mistake, he apologized profusely. He also ended up talking this angry man into donating the rest of the pig to the friars! Brother Juniper died on 29 January 1258 and is buried at Ara Coeli Church in Rome.
“in a very little while, the one who is coming will come and will not delay…” Hebrews 10:37
The text message read, “Call. Bad news.” She was not one to ask for help. Something had to be terribly wrong. And it was. She was far from her home and a thousand miles from mine. Hospitalized during the pandemic, she was struggling alone with a grave prognosis. Our calls were agonizingly brief and incomplete because it was hard for her to speak. I could hear suffering in her voice, but oh, how she tried to disguise it. There were many questions I couldn’t ask. And there was nothing more her doctors could do. I prayed for God to hear my jumbled prayers, to come to her aid. Within days of going home, the Lord set her free. That early morning, the mountains she loved so much came alive with the colors of dawn. All she ever wanted was to go home.