St. Francis of Assisi

Patron saint of families, nature, animals, merchantsSt. Francis2

Feast Day – Oct. 4

Francis was born in Assisi in 1181 into a wealthy merchant family and lived a life of luxury and excesses. He was spoiled in riches and ease. He fulfilled his dream of being a soldier, but the glory did not come as he had expected. Instead, he was imprisoned for some time after which he returned to his lavish life, until he received a dream from God. God told him to return to Assisi where he encountered a spiritual crisis and spent his life focused on prayer and repentance.

During his efforts to turn his life around, he was praying outside of a collapsed church, San Damiano, when he heard the Lord’s voice telling him to repair his church. Francis took this call quite literally and tried to rebuild the church using his father’s goods. When that wasn’t well received by his family, he renounced his inheritance, took a vow of poverty and began to beg for the supplies to rebuild the church. Upon finishing the construction on San Damiano and two other churches, he realized that the Lord meant to repair his church in the human sense. With his charity and grace in poverty, he reluctantly began a religious order, Friars Minor. In addition, he inspired St. Clare to establish a women’s religious order, the Poor Clares. The focus of these orders was preaching the gospel, poverty, and brotherly love.

After serving the Lord in this capacity for many years, he retreated into solitude where he received the stigmata, the wounds of Christ. He died in 1226 at the age of 45.

He is quoted in saying, “Preach the gospel at all times. Use words when necessary.”

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