Finding and Relating to St. Francis

2 min read
Derek John Thomas
St. Francis of Assisi serves as a beacon of Our Father, Christ, and The Holy Trinity. The following series of pieces are accounts of how this beacon called some individuals. Each story is different, each encounter unique. As we celebrate the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, we would like to share the following reflective piece from a Franciscan School of Theology alumnus, Derek John Thomas, which highlights the significant impact St. Francis has had and continues to have. 


Franciscan School of Theology Student Profile: Derek John Thomas

I have loved Saint Francis ever since I was a very small child, for many different reasons. I loved hearing him called the “food for God” because I felt that way. I loved hearing stories of him communing with nature, giving sermons to animals because I’m the kind of person who likes to rescue animals or insects, like moths or bees, when they get trapped in our homes or schools. 

I’m the kind of person who talks to plants or animals. I don’t give them sermons but I do like to chat with them when I’m feeling happy or when I feel open and connected. I saw myself a little bit in Saint Francis and I think I loved him more because of that and so I decided to go to The Franciscan School of Theology and I learned so much there. 

I learned it was okay to see and look for God’s presence in all of creation. 

I learned it was okay to see the spark of the divine in each one of us. In all of our shapes and colors and expressions. 

I learned it was okay to believe in and work for social justice. For humans, yes, but for the environment, for animals, for all of creation. 

And, I learned the importance of agape. The importance of a community. Of doing the work of love inside of and outside of liturgy. 

I learned so much from the Franciscan School of Theology and I am deeply grateful. 

Featured Student:

Derek John Thomas, Franciscan School of Theology Alumnus
MA in Theology (Liturgical Studies), 2002
Associate Professor of English, Hoseo University in Cheonan, South Korea

Reflective Questions

    • Have you ever felt called to St. Francis?
    • What are some ways in which his theology has called you nearer to God?  
About This Piece 

October 4th is when we celebrate the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi. In commemoration of St. Francis, the following reflective student pieces in one way or another pay tribute and homage to the great impact St. Francis has had and continues to have. Click below to read other spotlights in this series. 


Piece 1 – St. Francis of Assisi and Franciscan Theology

Piece 2 – Finding and Relating to St. Francis – Derek John Thomas

Piece 3 – God’s Timing and The Franciscan Calling- Asher Marron

Piece 4 – Franciscan Spirituality in Today’s World – Jeff Durham


The online Master of Theological Studies – Franciscan Theology (MTS-FT) program is offered by the Franciscan School of Theology in partnership with the University of San Diego. This Fully online program is designed for working professionals and recent undergraduates alike; students of the online MTS-FT program study with renowned scholars whose teachings draw from lives of active service in parishes, schools, and community involvement. In addition, this unique online program uses faith studies to enact positive change in local and global communities. Learn more about the program here. 

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