“Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.” â€“ St. Francis of Assisi
The Saint Who Brought in the â€œFeast of Loveâ€
This is how we can describe the St. Francis of Assisi in two words. He has always been one of the highly regarded religious personalities in the human history.
Originally known as â€œGiovanni di Pietro di Bernardoneâ€ or with the nickname, â€œFrancescoâ€, St. Francis was an Italian preacher or friar. Later he expanded his religious legacy in the form of â€œThird Order of St. Francisâ€ for both men and women.
This great saint had respect for all the religious faiths, and his stories have been inspiring people for more than seven hundred years after his demise. St. Francis dedicated his entire life to the cause of helping poor and deprived people in the society and taught to have respect for all the living things.
Facts About St. Francis of Assisi:
- Francis was born at Assisi in 1181. His father, Piero Bernardone, was a wealthy cloth trader, and in the early days Francis wanted to join him in his business. Also, during that time he dreamed to become a lyric poet (troubadour) or a knight.
- In his younger days, St. Francis was spoiled, and indulged in fine food, wine and wild celebrations. He had left school when he was 14 and became known as a rebellious teenager.
- He learnedÂ the skills of archery, wrestling and horsemanship. As mentioned earlier, he was expected to follow his father’s footsteps and join their family’s clothing business. However, St. Francis did not feel inspired by the prospect of a life in the cloth trade.
- In 1202, a war broke between Assisi and Perugia, and Francis took part in the war. His experience during the war is said to be life-changing for him. He was captured and put behind the bar. He spent almost a year in prison, where he was waiting for his father’s payment to get released. When in prison, he is said to begin receiving visions from God.
- After coming out of prison, Francis heard the voice of Christ, who asked him to repair the Christian Church and live a humble life. Subsequently, he abandoned his luxurious lifestyle and devoted himself to Christian faith.
- In 1224, Francis received a vision that left him having wounds that resembled Jesus Christ’s wounds during crucifixion. It was called the â€œStigmata of Christâ€. These wounds remained visible for the rest of his life.
- There is a legend or myth that is linked to St. Francis called â€œThe Wolf of Gubbio Mythâ€. When he lived in Gubbio there was a ferocious wolf that was killing humans as well as animals. Being compassionate to people, St. Francis went up into the hills to find the wolf. All his companions fled fearing the wolf, but the saint kept moving. When he eventually found the wolf, he made the cross sign and asked the wolf not to hurt anyone. The wolf shed its aggression, and lay down at the feet of St. Francis.
- On October 4th, many Christian countries honor Saint Francis of Assisi by celebrating it as the â€œFeast Dayâ€.
- Francis of Assisi passed away on October 3, 1226 in Assisi, Italy. He was 44. However, he left a spiritual legacy, which is followed by millions of followers across the globe.
- On July 16, 1228, two years after his death, Francis was canonized as a saint by Pope Gregory IX.
- Italian-American sculptor Beniamino B. Bufano carved a statue of St. Francis of Assisi as a gift for the city of San Francisco in the late 1920s. The 18-foot statue was sculpted in crushed granite.