Sixth-century writer Dionysius
the Areopagite drew on different scriptural texts to list nine choirs of angels: Seraphim,
Cherubim, Thrones, Dominations, Virtues, Powers, Principalities, Archangels and Angels.
First in this hierarchy of angels are the Seraphim. An individual member of this group
is called a Seraph.
It is a Seraph who appears in the story of how Francis of Assisi received the stigmata
(the wounds of Christ’s passion) in his body.
Because of this experience and his burning love of God, Francis is often called the
Seraphic Saint and some parishes and institutions are named St. Francis Seraph.