St. Francis Of Assisi Essay

1387 words - 6 pages

St. Francis of Assisi

St. Francis is considered a legendary hero and a popular saint. He was born in

1181, the middle of a time of great increases and expansions in the medieval West, in

Assisi, the place where this was strongest. His parents were Pietro and Pica Bernardone.

His father was a wealthy silk merchant. St. Francis spent his childhood in extravagant

living and pleasure-seeking. He was always in trouble and ran around Assisi with his

friends, eating, drinking, and having a good time. He went to war to fight for Assisi

against Perugia and was taken prisoner in 1202. Eventually he was released and once

again, returned to his old carefree ways. He became seriously ill for a while but then

returned to the wars in 1205.

He experienced a vision of Christ at Spoleto which was then followed by another

vision while he returned to Assisi. One vision was of Christ telling him, "Go and rebuild

my church. It is falling down." These visions are what changed his lifestyle forever.

Despite his wealthy, comfortable life, St. Francis chose a life of poverty. He wore rags

and wooden shoes on his bare feet. His father became furious at this and threatened to

disown him. Francis returned his father's money and clothes that he had taken to help

rebuild the church and severed relations with his father.

St. Francis rebuilt San Damiano with money begged from his townsmen. He

went on a pilgrimage to Rome in 1206, identifying himself with the poor and helping to

take care of those who suffered from 'leprosy'. For two or three years he lived alone,

wandering. Eventually, seven disciples joined him. Some of them were older, some

middle-aged, but they lived together as a community at the Portiuncula in Assisi, near a

leper colony. Here, he devoted himself completely to his life's work of poverty and

preaching. St. Francis and the other preachers stood out from the other Italian poor

preachers of the time because they had respect for, and showed obedience to the Church

authorities and their doctrinal orthodoxy. They lived in simple huts and their churches

were small. They slept on the ground and had no tables or chairs, as well as very few

books.

In 1209, St. Francis founded the order of Friars Minor, which took the people of

that time by surprise because by doing this, Francis presented poverty, chastity, and

obedience in terms of troubadours and courts of love. After this, St. Francis gained many

followers.

Francis wished to preach to more people from farther around. In 1212 he went

eastward, but was driven on to the Dalmatian coast. In 1214 he left once again, this time

for Morocco through Spain, but, he became very sick and was forced to come back home.

In 1219, he sailed from Ancona with twelve other friars, heading for Acre and Damietta.

Francis managed to pass through enemy lines and meet with the...

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