St. Michael's Lent is the period of prayer and fasting in which St. Francis of Assisi received stigmata.
The St. Michael's Lent begins on August 15th and ends on September 29th, Michaelmas. A lovely St. Michael feast day dessert can be found here.
Just like the Lent prior to Easter it goes for 40 days and excludes Sundays. This is a period of fasting that we receive from St. Francis of Assisi, who while widely known for being the bird-bath saint, was actually a man of intense interior spiritual life and complexity. He was known for secluding himself from his community at times for solitude and a deepening of prayer.
Two years before he died he went away to Mount La Verna where he fasted and prayed in honor of St. Michael the Archangel. It was during this time that he received stigmata, the holy wounds of Jesus, traditionally known to be on September 17th. This Lent became popular among the Franciscans before widely falling out of practice, but many Catholics are bringing this back.
In the 13th century book, The Little Flowers of St. Francis, he says to his brothers, “My sons, we are drawing nigh to our forty days’ fast of St. Michael the Archangel; and I firmly believe that it is the will of God that we keep this fast in the mountain of Alvernia, the which by Divine dispensation hath been made ready for us, to the end that we may, through penance, merit from Christ the consolation of consecrating that blessed mountain to the honor and glory of God and of His glorious mother, the Virgin Mary, and of the holy angels.”
This time, which we too are encouraged to participate in, is intended to give attention to deepening our relationship with Jesus and St. Michael who is our most powerful intercessor in fighting against spiritual enemies. While we often times think that penance is reserved for the traditional season of Lent, the liturgical year and the saints prompt us to regularly partake in this form of prayer. Feasting and fasting go hand in hand, and it is through both means that we can grow to live more closely to the divine life of Christ.