A brief History of  St. Francis of Assisi

St. Francis was born in Assisi A.D. 1182. His father was Pietro di Bernadone, a wealthy silk merchant of Assisi, Italy. His mother was Pica. Francis spent his early years as a pleasure-seeking and he was a popular leader of Assisi. He went to war in 1202 and was taken prisoner. After his released he became ill and in 1205, he experienced visions of Christ that radically changed his life. He devoted himself to poverty and the care of the sick, resolving to “reflect the image of Christ through a life of poverty and humility.” He angered his father which considered him as a lunatic and was disinherited. Francis then went to the church of San Damiano, which he repaired with the aid of followers and there he dedicated himself to the care of the poor. He was subjected to ridicule by many as he went about begging on behalf of the poor. Attracted by Francis’ genuine concern and love for the poor, many followed after him and this led to the founding of the Franciscans on April 16, 1209. In 1210, Pope Innocent III approved the Franciscans Order. St. Claire joined him in 1212 and then with the help of St. Francis, she founded The Poor Claires, a cloistered Order for women. On September 14, 1224, on the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, he received the stigmata while immersed in deep prayer. He died two years later, at Assisi, on October 3, 1226 and was canonized in 1228. St. Francis was never ordained to the priesthood, believing himself unworthy of the sacrament of Holy Orders.