The biography of St Francis of Assisi, born Giovanni Francesco di Bernardone in 1181 in Assisi, Italy. He is among the most well-known and revered saints in the Christian tradition.
St Francis Assisi founded the Franciscan Order, which is still active today. He is known for his deep love of nature, commitment to poverty, and radical approach to Christian spirituality.
In this biography, we will explore the life of St Francis Assisi, his early years, his conversion, and his legacy.
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Early Years of St Francis of Assisi
St. Francis was born to a wealthy family in Assisi, a small town in central Italy.
His father, Pietro di Bernardone, was a wealthy cloth merchant, and his mother, Pica de Bourlemont, was a French noblewoman.
Francis enjoyed the good life as a young man, partying with his friends and dreaming of adventure.
Conversion of St Francis of Assisi
In 1202, Francis joined the military to fight in a local war between Assisi and neighboring Perugia.
He was taken prisoner and spent a year in captivity before being released.
This experience and a series of illnesses caused Francis to reassess his life and turn toward God.
One day, while praying in a small chapel, Francis heard a voice telling him to “repair my church, which is in ruins.”
Francis took this to mean that he was to rebuild the church of San Damiano, a small, run-down chapel outside of Assisi. He sold his father’s cloth and used the money to repair the chapel.
After completing the chapel, Francis spent more time praying and contemplating. He lived a life of extreme poverty, wearing only a simple tunic and begging for food.
He began attracting followers drawn to his simple way of life and his devotion to God.
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Founding of the Franciscan Order
In 1209, Francis and his followers went to Rome to seek the approval of Pope Innocent III for their way of life.
The Pope was initially skeptical, but he approved after a dream in which he saw Francis holding up the church of St. John Lateran.
Francis and his followers formed the Order of Friars Minor, later known as the Franciscans. They lived a life of poverty, begging for food and living in small, simple houses.
They preached to the people, emphasizing the love of God and the importance of simplicity and humility.
Legacy of St Francis of Assisi
St. Francis died in 1226 at the age of 44. He was canonized as a saint just two years later. His legacy has continued to inspire people throughout the centuries.
Here are some of the key aspects of his legacy:
Love of Nature
St. Francis is known for his deep love of nature. He saw all of creation as a gift from God and believed that we must care for the earth and all its creatures.
St. Francis lived a life of extreme poverty, rejecting the wealth and comfort his family offered him.
He believed that poverty was a way of imitating Christ, who was born in a stable and had no place to lay his head.
St. Francis emphasized the importance of humility and simplicity. He believed we should put others before ourselves and not seek glory or recognition for our actions.
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St. Francis spent much time praying and contemplating. He believed prayer was a way of connecting with God and essential to living a life of faith.
St. Francis was known for his commitment to peace. He often preached to warring factions, urging them to lay down their arms and seek reconciliation.