2007 Archive Edition - See the Archive Notice on the Project Homepage for more information.
Francis of Assisi
After a wealthy upbringing and a career as a soldier, St. Francis (c. 1181/82-1226) heeded the call of Christ and begged money to repair the damaged church of San Damiano. Francis established in 1208 a small group of men committed to poverty who ministered to lepers. Some say his father promptly disinherited him, while others say that Francis voluntarily gave up his wealth. He travelled in France and Spain, where he preached to the Moors. Illness prevented his going to Africa as a missionary. He did, however, travel to Acre, where the behavior of the Crusaders disillusioned him. He began to preach a spiritual, rather than a physical, crusade. As the Franciscans grew in number, Francis divided the groups into provinces, rewrote his rule, and resigned as head of the order (1219). Two years after his resignation, he created a third order for the laity. Honorius III approved the new rule in 1223. Francis, renowned for his gentleness and intense love, received the stigmata in 1224. Canonized two years after his death, Francis remains a strong spiritual influence on the world.
Karen Rae Keck
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