- NAME: St. Francis of Assisi
- OCCUPATION: Saint
- BIRTH DATE: c. 1181
- DEATH DATE: October 03, 1226
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Assisi, duchy of Spoleto, Italy
- PLACE OF DEATH: Assisi, Italy
- AKA: St. Francis of Assisi
- Full Name: Saint Francis of Assisi
- AKA: Saint Francis
- AKA: San Francesco d'Assisi
- Originally: Francesco di Pietro di Bernardone
- AKA: St. Francis
Best Known For
St. Francis of Assisi abandoned a life of luxury for a life devoted to Christianity after reportedly hearing the voice of God, who commanded him to rebuild the Christian Church and live in poverty. He is the patron saint for ecologists.
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Unluckily for him, the first people he met on the road were a group of dangerous thieves, who beat him badly. Despite his wounds, Francis was elated. From now on, he would live according to the Bible.
Francis's Christ-like poverty was a radical notion at the time. The Christian Church was tremendously rich, much like the people heading it, which concerned Francis and many others, who felt that the Church's long-held apostolic ideals had eroded. Thusly,
Francis set out on a mission to restore Jesus Christ's own, original values to the now-decadent Church. With his incredible charisma, thousands of followers were soon drawn to him, listening to his sermons and joining in his way of life; his followers became known as Franciscan friars.
Continuously pushing himself in the quest for spiritual perfection, Francis was soon preaching in up to five villages per day, teaching a new kind of emotional and personal Christian religion that everyday people could understand. He even went so far as to preach to animals, which garnered criticism and earned him the nickname "God's fool." But Francis's message was spread far and wide, and thousands of people were captivated by what they heard.
In 1224, Francis reportedly received a vision that left him with the stigmata of Christ—marks resembling the wounds Jesus Christ suffered when he was crucified, through his hands, and the gaping lance wound in his side—making Francis the first person to receive the holy wounds of the stigmata. (According to scripture, Francis's wounds never left him for the rest of his life; some believe that his wounds were actually symptoms of leprosy, not proof of a miracle.)
As he approached his death, many predicted that Francis was a saint in the making. When his health began to decline more rapidly, Francis went home. Knights were sent from Assisi to guard him, and to make sure that no one from neighbouring towns would carry him off (the body of a saint was viewed, at the time, as an extremely valuable relic that would bring, among many things, glory to the town where it rested).
Francis of Assisi died on October 3, 1226, at the age of 44, in Assisi, Italy. Today, Francis has had a lasting resonance, with millions of followers across the globe. He was canonized as a saint just two years after his death, on July 16, 1228, by his former protector, Pope Gregory IX. Today, St. Francis of Assisi is the patron saint for ecologists—a title honoring his boundless love for animals and nature.
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