Francis of Assisi was a poor man who astounded and inspired the Church by taking the gospel literally—not in a narrow fundamentalist sense, but by actually following all that Jesus said and did, joyfully, without limit and without a mite of self-importance. Francis was famous for his love of all creation. He called for simplicity of life, poverty, and humility before God. He worked to care for the poor. Thousands were drawn to his sincerity, piety, and joy. In all his actions, Francis sought to follow fully and literally the way of life demonstrated by Christ in the Gospels. My report is going to discuss the life and contributions of St. Francis of Assisi.
Francis of Assisi lived about eight hundred years ago. He was born in the city of Assisi, Italy, in 1182. He was the son of Peter Bernardone (A wealthy merchant) and Madonna Pica. His father sold spices and fabrics and was often out of town on business. While Peter Bernardone was traveling in Provence on business, Madonna Pica gave birth to his son. Far from being excited or apologetic because he'd been gone, Pietro was furious because she'd had his new son baptized Giovanni after John the Baptist. The last thing Pietro wanted in his son was a man of God -- he wanted a man of business, a cloth merchant like he was, and he especially wanted a son Francesco -- which is the equivalent of calling him Frenchman. Francis spent a happy childhood under the watchful eye of Madonna Pica and the attention heaped on him by his father, who was certain that Francis would follow him in the merchant business. His strict education and healthy moral upbringing gave everything he did a sense of balance. Francis enjoyed a very rich easy life growing up because of his father's wealth and the permissiveness of the times. From the beginning everyone loved Francis. He was constantly happy, charming, and a born leader. If he was picky, people excused him. If he was ill, people took care of him. If he was so much of a dreamer he did poorly in school, no one minded. In many ways he was too easy to like for his own good. No one tried to control him or teach him.
As he grew up, Francis became the leader of a crowd of young people who spent their nights in wild parties. Francis himself said, "I lived in sin" during that time.
Francis fulfilled every hope of Pietro's, and despite his dreaming, Francis was also good at business. But Francis wanted more than wealth. But not holiness. Francis wanted to be a noble, a knight. Battle was the best place to win the glory and prestige he longed for. He got his first chance when Assisi declared war on their longtime enemy, the nearby town of Perugia. When Francis was just barely twenty years old, he fought in the war between Assisi and Perugia and was taken prisoner. Most of the troops from Assisi were butchered in the fight. Only those wealthy enough to expect to be ransomed were taken prisoner. At last Francis was among the nobility like he always wanted to be, but...