What our signet means

This signet was created by the artist Gudrun Dorsch in 1990 at the centenary of the Congregation of the of St. Francis Sisters Vierzehnheiligen and has since been our emblem.

The signet shows the four elements that Francis sings about in his Canticle of the Sun:

"Sister Sun"
"Mother Earth"
"Brother Fire"
"Sister Water"

The four elements are brought into perfect unity in this signet.

Francis wrote the Canticle of the Sun one year before his death (1126). His eyes were so diseased that they could not bear daylight, not even fire. It was then that he wrote the Canticle of the Sun. This song was not written at the beginning of his illness, but at the end of his life. He had lived the Canticle of the Sun first and shortly before his death, he put into words what he had lived.

The T (pronounce: "tau") is a letter in the Greek, or the last letter in the Hebrew alphabet. Already in the Old Testament it was a sign of protection, blessing and being chosen. Francis loved this sign. He put it on his letters and messages. Together with the prayer of blessing, he gave it to Brother Leo, who was in great (spiritual) distress. It helped Brother Leo to feel at peace, being blessed and comforted:

The Lord bless you and keep you.

May He show His face to you and have mercy.

May He turn His countenance to you and give you peace.

The Lord bless you, brother Leo

Through Francis the T became known as the Franciscan sign of peace throughout the centuries. Closely linked to this sign is His greeting: Pax et bonum - Pace e bene - Peace and Salvation. Is there any better expression of our good wishes and hope for the people we love, actually for these times? It also reminds us of the cross, the sign of our salvation through Jesus Christ.

"If it does you good, then come!"


(St. Francis of Assisi)