Our Youth

St. Francis Prep Students Peek at Patron Saint’s Note

 St. Francis Prep see patron saint's notes
Photo by Michelle Kawka

Students, faculty, and staff from St. Francis Prep, Fresh Meadows, had the opportunity to reconnect with a profound part of their past: a collection of nearly 800-year-old documents that relate to St. Francis of Assisi.

These documents have not left Italy in over 700 years. The original writings of one of the world’s most popular saints and papal documents concerning him were painstakingly restored and sent to New York City to be displayed as part of the exhibit, “Friar Francis: Traces, Words, Images” at Brooklyn Borough Hall.

The United Nations and Brooklyn Borough Hall were the only two places the documents were exhibited in the U.S.

Brother Leonard Conway, O.S.F., president of St. Francis Prep, received an invitation from St. Francis College for Prep students to be involved in the exhibit and for student musicians to perform for Brooklyn’s borough president, the superior general of the Franciscan Brothers of Brooklyn and the provost of St. Francis College, among others.

The Spirit of Francis

For the young musicians of St. Francis Prep, performing took a back seat to the gravity of the event, and the spirit of St. Francis.

Senior violinist Catherine Byrne described her experience as interesting, especially since many of her studies this year have related to medieval manuscripts, and the life of St. Francis. To have the opportunity to see up close what she had learned about in class was particularly special.

For senior violinist Chazz Winston, getting to see documents contemporary to St. Francis helped him understand that the history of Prep is not just the history of the school, but goes back centuries. He went on to say that what today’s Franciscan Brothers stand for is represented in these documents.

The documents are now safely back in Italy, but the impact that St. Francis, God’s “little poor one,” had on a diverse group of students, both Catholic and not, from a Queens high school, will last a lifetime.