St. Francis of Assisi Room in the Martin Institute
In the oval-shaped room in the Martin Institute are bronze figures inspired by Francis of Assisi’s Canticle to the Sun. Like Adam and Eve in Donahue Hall, these bronzes were the work of Enrico ManfriniThe central and largest figure is St. Francis.He is flanked on either side by images of sun, moon, stars, earth, water, wind, fire and even death.The figures were first cast to decorate a fountain in Pescara, Italy.Manfrini agreed to cast a second set only when he understood they would not be in Europe, but in America.
The words of St. Francis’ canticle were among the first written in popular 13th century Tuscan and gave impetus to the shift from Latin to the vernacular in daily discourse.
St. Francis used the ordinary speech of the people rather than the Latin language which was used by the educated classes of that day. The canticle is very significant in the development of the Italian language.
Canticle to the Sun
Most high, all powerful, all good, Lord!
All praise is yours, all glory, all honor
And all blessing.
To you alone, Most High, do they belong.
No mortal lips are worthy
To pronounce your name
All praise be yours, my Lord, through all that you have made,
And first my Lord Brother Sun,
Who brings the day; and light you give to us through him.
How beautiful is he, how radiant in all his splendor!
Of you, Most High, he bears the likeness.
All praise be yours, my Lord, through Sister Moon and Stars;
In the heavens you have made them, bright
And precious and fair.
All praise be yours, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air,
And fair and stormy, all the weather's moods,
By which you cherish all that you have made.
All praise be yours, my Lord, through Sister Water,
So useful, lowly, precious, and pure.
All praise be yours, my Lord, through Brother Fire,
Through whom you brighten up the night.
How beautiful he is, how gay Full of power and strength.
All praise be yours, my Lord, through Sister Earth, our mother,
Who feeds us in her sovereignty and produces
Various fruits and colored flowers and herbs.
All praise be yours, My Lord, through those who grant pardon,
For love of you; through those who endure
Sickness and trial.
Happy those who endure in peace,
By you, Most High, they will be crowned.
All praise be yours, my Lord, through Sister Death,
From whose embrace no mortal can escape.
Woe to those who die in mortal sin.
Happy those She finds doing your will!
The second death can do no harm to them.
Praise and bless, my Lord and give them thanks,
And serve him with great humility.