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Our Spiritual Root
St. Francis of Assisi

He was born at Assisi in Umbria. His father was Piero Bernardone, a prosperous cloth merchant. His mother’s name was Pica, she was a noble woman originally from Provence. Pietro was in France on business when Francis was born in Assisi, and Pica had him baptized as Giovanni (John).When his father returned to Assisi, he took to calling him Francesco ("the Frenchman"), possibly in honor of his commercial success and enthusiasm for all things French.He died in 1226 at the age of 44.

SAINT FRANCIS OF ASSISI ( 1182 - 1226 ) IS THE FOUNDER OF THE FRANCISCAN ORDER

Francis had always had a fear of lepers - even the very thought of seeing them petrified him. One day, however, while travelling, Francis came very close to a leper, and, instead of bolting off in another direction, by a deep impulse of the grace of God, he not only handed the man money, but he took his rotten hand and kissed it.

FRANCIS, REBUILD MY CHURCH
Francis continued to be very reflective as he sought to find his way in life. Soon after his conversion, while he was praying in the little dilapidated church of San Damiano, he heard a voice from the crucifix say to him,"Francis, go now and repair my church, which as you see is falling in ruin.
What was he meant to do? How was he to rebuild the Church? He started begging for stones so that he could do the re-building himself - but in time, Francis became aware that even this was not really what the Lord was inviting him to do. Slowly, he became aware that he was being invited to rebuild with living stones – to renew the life of the Church. Soon others, even some of the nobles, were drawn by his joyful example and sincere holiness and goodness to others.They too left all that they owned and joined him. Inspired by God, Francis gave his followers a way of life which was simply to live the teachings of Our Lord Jesus Christ as given to us in the Gospels. Although Francis only lived to the age of 44, his life’s message of simplicity and the power of prayer has never faded. Today, St. Francis is a symbol of spiritual love, guidance and hope.
At this he experienced a deep inner joy and peace. He had overcome himself and from then on he left his worldly ways behind him and gave himself over to the Lord. He continued his care of the lepers and devoted himself to prayer and good works
At this he experienced a deep inner joy and peace. He had overcome himself and from then on he left his worldly ways behind him and gave himself over to the Lord. He continued his care of the lepers and devoted himself to prayer and good works
Francis learned his father’s business and planned to follow him in this trade. Francis was very popular as a young man, often being the leader of the youth in Assisi. Francis was very outgoing and full of fun. It seemed that in his teens, he loved fine clothes, singing, feasting and revelry of all kinds. He was a generous and charming person and the natural leader of his friends.

In 1201 Francis took part in such an attack between Assisi and the neighbouring town of Perugia. Unfortunately, Francis’ skills as a knight did not hold him in good stead. He was taken hostage and remained in prison for several months.The nobles fled to Perugia which in turn waged war on Assisi. Francis was taken prisoner and held for nearly a year. When he returned home, he became seriously ill. As a young man, he had been ambitious and desired more than anything to receive a knighthood. He was devastated as he saw his hopes of gaining a knighthood for bravery in war slip further away from him.
At about the age of 22, he decided to join the Crusades in the hope of still realising this ambition. However, no sooner did he set off than he returned without going to war at all. Why? Well, while on his way to the Crusades, at Spoleto, Francis had a dream. He heard a voice say to him: "Francis is it better to serve the Lord or the servant?" He answered, "Sir, the Lord, of course"Francis realised that he was following his own desires and not the Lord's. It was the beginning of a slow unfolding process, but Francis began to realise that God was leading him to greatness, but in a very different way from his illusory knighthood.
FRANCIS' ENCOUNTER WITH THE LEPER
The Leper