dimanche 23 novembre 2014

Looking For A Saint Francis Of Assisi Biography

By Christa Jarvis

Many people enjoy reading biographies for the insight they provide into the lives of interesting individuals. Reading a Saint Francis of Assisi biography reveals more about the life of a medieval saint. An author writing about him would have much material to draw from as several of his disciples wrote about him and there are also poems, letters and liturgical writings to examine.

From these documents it is evident how he captured the hearts of people around him with his devotion and passion. Many stories are told about his compassion as well as his love of animals and power over them. In his early years, there was little indication of the type of man he would eventually become.

He grew up in Umbria, Italy and his father was a rich merchant. As a young man he was known for his ready wit and fine clothes. He was gallant and courteous and always had plenty of money to spend. He had no interest in becoming a merchant or in learning.

It was only when he was imprisoned for a year during a petty war between his town and a neighboring town that his thoughts turned to less trivial matters. It also took bouts of illness to increase his interest in the spiritual life. Overcoming his revulsion and giving money to a leper was another act along the way to a life devoted to serving God.

Taking to the highways, he lived a life of poverty, and spread his message to all he came across. His passion drew attention and he soon had a band of followers. Some were rich individuals who believed in his message fervently enough to give up all they owned.

Papal approval was received and the name Little Brothers (Friars Minor) was given to the order. The first Franciscan convent was formed, consisting of small huts with a hedge around them, built in grounds of the chapel of Porzuincola. This was a chapel Francis had helped to restore. Soon many more were attracted to the order and other communities began springing up all over.

He had a burning desire to evangelize infidels and pursued this but when he returned from his missions, he found that changes had been made to the order that he felt violated his fundamental idea. These changes were regarded as necessary by the brothers to try to bring more organization to an ever growing order.

Some time before his death in 1226 at the age of only 44 or 45 he was praying on the mountainside when he saw a vision and stigmata appeared on his body. One of the brothers who was with him at the time described a wound in his right side and nails in both his hands and feet. This is just one incident in the life of a remarkable man who not only manage to inspire his contemporaries but whose life story still has much interest for modern readers.

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