The Tau has a long Judeo-Christian tradition. For Christians the Tau came to represent the cross of Christ and the fulfillment of the Old Testament promises. The cross, as prefigured in the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet, represented the means by which Christ reversed the disobedience of the old Adam and became our Savior as the “New Adam.”
For St. Francis of Assisi, the Tau represented lifelong fidelity to the crucified Christ; it was his pledge to serve the least—the leper and the outcast of his day.
Francis knew the Old Testament Prophet Ezekiel’s exhortation: “We are called to reform our lives, to stand in the presence of God as righteous people. God will know us by the sign of the Tau marked on our foreheads.”
Franciscan men and women throughout the world recognize the Tau as a reminder for conversion of heart—a turning daily to Jesus Christ in faith, hope, and love, and to one another in peace, mutual forgiveness, and reconciliation.
The Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia honor the Tau which marks our lives as women committed to the Gospel form of life in today’s world.