The Origin of “A Franciscan Prayer” – a Non-Traditional Blessing

Sometimes, it’s good to find the origin of prayers – and they can be unexpected and wonderful. I am using the following prayer for the blessing of my marriage to my partner Joseph:

Franciscan Blessing

May God bless you with discomfort,
At easy answers, half-truths,
And superficial relationships
So that you may live
Deep within your heart.

May God bless you with anger
At injustice, oppression,
And exploitation of people,
So that you may work for
Justice, freedom and peace.

May God bless you with tears,
To shed for those who suffer pain,
Rejection, hunger and war,
So that you may reach out your hand
To comfort them and
To turn their pain to joy

It’s often titled “A Franciscan blessing” or occasionally ““Four-Fold Benedictine Blessing” but actually the prayer is called “A Non-traditional Blessing”. It was written for a student group in 1985 by a Benedictine nun called Sister Ruth Marlene Fox. She is still alive and kicking and says about herself

“Although I do not consider myself an expert in any area, I have multitudinous interests. I like to write, read, sew, play organ, play Scrabble and go for walks. I have few dislikes, but among them playing bridge and any kind of sports rank high. All in all, I have a wonderful, enriching life for which I am very grateful to God, family, community, and friends.”

Sister Ruth Marlene Fox, b1936
Thanks to Dan Miller for the research and information

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