Francis of Assisi

4th October (died 1226)

Godís Troubadour, the Joyful Beggar, was born at Assisi in Umbria, the son of a wealthy cloth merchant, around 1182. These were troubled times: city warred against city, peasantry against gentry. Francis, dreaming of Chivalry, set out equipped like a knight to fight against neighbouring Perugia. Capture and imprisonment started some serious thinking. His return home saw Francis doing unheard of things: embracing lepers and gathering stones to repair ruined churches. A child-like simplicity and burning desire to serve Christ in radical poverty drew many followers. With the simple Rule officially approved the Order spread. Francis inspired Clare to found his Second Order of contemplative sisters. A Third Order provided a Rule for ordinary people living at home. All three Orders still flourish today both in the Roman Catholic Church and in the Church of England.

Meditating long on Christís wounds, Francis mysteriously received their imprint on his own body, while his reverence for Godís whole creation led him to honour all creatures, calling them his brothers and sisters. He died on 3rd October 1226 aged only forty-four.

Brenda Stephenson

Brian Dunn's article - Hero of the Spirit
© St Peter's Church, Nottingham
Last revised 2nd October 2000