Saint Francis of Assisi Throughout the history of the Catholic Church, there have been only a few people fortunate and deserving enough of the title of “saint”. Originally named Giovanni Francesco Bernardone, St. Francis of Assisi is honored as the patron saint of animals and ecology. He lived a life of complete obedience, humility, and poverty. He was a guy who was truly in love with the Lord and wanted to follow in his teachings. He was a man willing to give up his belongings to help those less-fortunate.
Despite his death many years ago, his life still continues to have a tremendous influence/impact on the Catholic Church today. Born in Italy in the year 1182, Francis was a determined and very spirited child that any father would be proud of. As a child, he had a lot of good qualities and a lot of wealth which attracted many friends. Growing up, he had planned to pursue a trade following in his father’s footsteps, but due to a vicious public dispute, at about age 20 he stepped away from his father and joined into the military.
As part of the military during a battle in the year 1201, Francis was taken prisoner of war and held captive for almost an entire year. This event took a toll on his body and he became so sick that he nearly died and it took him several months to recover. This was a crucial turning point that would change the life of St. Francis forever. It was during this period of captivity that, for the first time in his life, he did some serious meditating on the lord. He truly began to fall in love with God at this point. One day after a strange vision, Francis returned to Assisi to care to the sick.
After taking a pilgrimage to Rome, Francis had a dream in which God called him to repair his Church. He interpreted this literally as a command to physically repair the Church of San Damiano, a ruined Church near Assisi where he would occasionally go to pray. Therefore, Francis went to the Church with his tools and tried to repair many Churches. Soon, however, Francis would grow into the realization that God wanted him to be an advocate, and eventually a leader, of the Catholic Church by carrying out God’s mission.
After a few years, Francis heard a sermon that changed the way he lived his life. The sermon was of Matthew 10:9, in which Christ tells his followers to go out and proclaim the Kingdom of Heaven and not take any money with them. This inspired Francis to live a life of simplicity and apostolic poverty by giving up all his rights and possessions and preaching repentance.
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