Q. We celebrate the feast of St. Francis of Assisi this week (October 4). Did he really write the famous “Prayer of St. Francis” which begins, “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace”?
A. Though the prayer is typically attributed to St. Francis, it’s almost certainly a modern creation. The prayer was first published, in French, in a Catholic weekly newspaper in 1912. Also known as the “Simple Prayer,” it was then republished on the front page of the Vatican newspaper in 1916 at the request of Pope Benedict XV. The Holy Father especially liked its message of peace in the midst of World War I.
The actual author remains anonymous. So why was the prayer attributed to Francis?