He’s among the most loved Saints, remembered on 4 October. For over 800 years Saint Francis of Assisi has been a beacon for the Church through his witness to the Gospel earning him the name alter Christus, a living icon of Christ, his choice to live in poverty in order to encounter the Lord.
St Francis was small in stature with an extrovert personality. He always had in his heart the desire to do great things.
He was born in 1182 the son of a rich fabric merchant, Pietro di Bernardone, and a noblewoman from Provence, Pica. He grew up occupied with family duties and worldly affairs. When he returned from his war experience, he was ill and shaken, unrecognizable to all. Something left a deep impression on his soul beyond his experience of the war.
The servant or the Master?
He never forgot the words he heard in a dream while in Spoleto: “why do burden yourself seeking the servant instead of the Master?”
From that moment on, his life took on a new direction, guided by his constant desire to know what God was calling him.
Prayer and silent contemplation in the Umbrian countryside led him to embrace lepers and outcasts as brothers and sisters, those in the past he had always found disgusting and repulsive.