A member of the brotherhood of Francis of Assisi (see October 4th), Juniper resolved to rely only on God and the kindness of others for his needs. After God Himself, Juniper’s first love was the one whom Francis called ‘Lady Poverty’, to whom he espoused himself. He was commended by Francis himself who prayed that, by the grace of God, thousands of souls would make their nests in Juniper’s branches. “I wish I had a forest of such Junipers!” he declared.

After Francis’ death, Juniper was sorrowful when the rule of absolute poverty was relaxed. He and a few others found some mountain caves and withdrew there to live more simply. Many strange and laughable actions are attributed to him, as he chose to play the fool so that no-one would think he had the wisdom and holiness that belong to God alone, in which case he would indeed be a fool.

Teach us, Lord of all things, to live simply, depending on you for all that we need. Teach us the usefulness of everything in your creation, so that we may share your bounty with everyone around us. Let us not think too highly of ourselves; teach us that it is the meek who will inherit the earth. Amen.