Saint Francis of Assisi (1181 - 1226)

francisSaint Francis of Assisi was born in 1181, the son of Pietro and Pica Bernadone of the rising merchant class.  A serious illness while a prisoner of war began a five year period of spiritual conversion.  At 25 Francis began a simple life of caring for lepers and preaching. Other men soon followed and in 1209 Francis took them to Rome to receive papal permission for a new fraternity to live and preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and preach.  This was the beginning of the Franciscan Order, which gradually expanded to include men and women in three distinct forms of life.

St. Francis was overwhelmed with the humility of God in the birth of Christ into poverty and the humility of Jesus on the Cross.  The image of the Crucified Christ permeated twenty years of his life after his conversion.  St. Clare of Assisi, his spiritual friend, joined the movement and founded what was later to be known as the Poor Clares.  In 1219 he traveled to Egypt and began the friars’ involvement with the Muslim world that continues to this day, both in the Holy Land and around the world.  His love for all of creation and the poor are the two hallmarks of his life and now his followers for eight centuries.  Francis experienced the Stigmata in 1224 and lived two more years as a living image of the Crucified One he loved so much.  Poet, musician, mystic and man of reconciliation, Francis of Assisi remains one of the most beloved holy men in the world and an icon of peace.

Over 5,000 men had joined his way of life before he died on the evening of October 3, 1226; he was declared a saint by the Pope just two years later.  Millions travel to Assisi to pay homage to this very simple man who has had a profound effect on people of all faith traditions.  He is the patron saint of ecology and a guiding light for those who serve the poor of our world.  The ideals of Saint Francis of Assisi are embraced by the men of the three branches of the First Order, women of the Second Order (Poor Clares) and women and men of the Third Order, both Regular and Secular.  For more information about St. Francis and the Franciscans, we recommend the following web sites:




Order of Friars Minor:

Poor Clares



Poor Clare Colletines

Secular Franciscans



For more information about the Province of the Sacred Heart, to which Fathers Art, Dennis and Bob belong, go to:


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