Francis was born in 1182, the son of a wealthy merchant of Assisi. His early youth was spent in harmless revelry and fruitless attempts to win military glory. He soon gave this up for a life of poverty, joyfully and literally following the sayings of Jesus. When Jesus spoke to him from a cross in the neglected chapel of San Damiano and told him to go build up His house, Frances took this to mean repairing the chapel. Over time he realized that God was speaking about the larger Church. He founded the Franciscan Order and devoted himself and his order to serving the poor. Not long before his death he received the marks of Jesus’ wounds, the stigmata, in his own hands, feet and side. He was canonized in 1228 and the great basilica of St. Francis was built over his tomb in Assisi. His great love of nature and for animals led the church to make him the patron saint of animals.
October 4, 2017 all-day