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This illustration of the 9 Choirs of Angels is by artist Jason Koltuniak for the children's book from Divine Providence Press, What is Saint Michael's Lent? The powerful, little-known tradition we need for our times! Saint Michael's Lent dates back to the 13th century when Saint Francis of Assisi received the stigmata on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (September 14).

A Mini-Lent

The tradition, described in The Little Flowers of Saint Francis by Saint Bonaventure, honors Our Lady and Saint Michael. Much like a mini-Lent, the devotion lasts 40 days (excluding Sundays). This period of prayer, fasting, and penance begins on the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (August 15) and ends on the feast of Saint Michael the Archangel (September 29).

Saint Francis of Assisi had a great devotion to Saint Michael, and Saint Francis practiced this 40-day period. He wished, along with the most faithful Brothers, to celebrate the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin (August 15) and then prepare himself by a 40-day fast for the Feast of Saint Michael (September 29).

"In common with the rest of the people of the Middle Ages, Saint Francis nourished a special devotion to this Archangel, signifer sanctus Michaelis, the standard-bearer of the Heavenly Host, and the one who with his trumpet was to wake the dead in their graves on the last day" (Saint Francis of Assisi by Johannes Jorgensen).

Heavenly Army

Father Eric Anderson of Saint Stephen Catholic Church in Portland, Oregon, began a video series leading this devotion. He explains Saint Michael's Lent in a great video introduction.

Saint Michael's Lent is a powerful way to increase devotion to, and call upon, the archangel for help and assistance, especially during these unprecedented times of unrest in the world.

There are not any specific requirements, but here’s a handy meditation booklet for guidance. This document contains 31 meditation days, followed by a nine-day novena. It also includes multiple prayers for Saint Michael's intercession, including a consecration and the powerful Chaplet of Saint Michael.

With prayer, fasting, and penance, we can call upon heaven's army of angels to cast the evil out of our country and our world. Let us pray with fervor, through the intercession of Saint Michael the Archangel, for Jesus Christ's help as we battle the forces of darkness. Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle!


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Image: © Jason KoltuniakCounting on Faith

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