/Saint Francis

Saint Francis

Francis was the son of Pietro di Bernardone, a rich cloth merchant from the small Italian town of Assisi. Born in the twelfth century, Francis spent his youth, until he was 25, living a life of luxury. He experienced a conversion while making a pilgrimage to Rome. He had met people disfigured by the disease of leprosy and chose care for them. Having heard a mystical calling to repair God’s house, Francis used his father’s money to repair the ruined chapel of San Damiano near Assisi and a couple of others.
Francis’s preaching attracted some followers who, together with Francis, chose to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. Two years before his death, while praying on Mount La Verna, Francis received the stigmata, wounds like those left on the body of the crucified Christ. Towards the end of his life, when he was very ill, Francis wrote his famous ‘Canticle of the Sun’, praising all creatures and expressing his view of God, who is present in all that He has created. Francis died on October 3, 1226, and two years later was canonised as a saint.
Today, the feast day of the creature-loving St Francis also marks the start of World Animal Week.