Franciscan joy is the cornerstone and signature trait of the Franciscan person, a quality that characterized Francis of Assisi from his birth until his joyous passing to eternal life. In his youth, Francis demonstrated a joie de vivre that attracted many followers; his revelry and spirit of merriment were widely admired among the people of Assisi. After his conversion, when he gave his life over to following Jesus in the Gospels, Francis did not abandon this natural gift of joy, but he lifted it from the temporal expression that defined his early youthful extravagance and made it a sublime virtue that became an intimate part of his passionate love for the crucified Savior, Jesus Christ.
—from the book Franciscan Field Guide: People, Places, Practices, and Prayers
by Sister Rosemary Stets, OSF