The 'Poverello' of Assisi
A modern Hero
His early life
St. Francis of Assisi was born in 1181. His father was a wealthy silk merchant. Francis was only interested in having a good time with his friends. He went to fight for Assisi against Perugia and was imprisoned for a year in 1202. He was ill but returned to the wars in 1205. He had visions of Christ which changed his lifestyle forever. He chose a life of poverty and broke off from his family and renounced any inheritance from his father.
New Religious Order
He began preaching around Assisi and was soon joined by 12 loyal followers. In 1209 Francis composed a Rule, the first regulations of their religious life which was approved by Pope Innocent III in 1210. The friars take the name 'Friars Minor' or 'Lesser Brothers'. In 1223 Francis prepared the Second Rule. On Christmas night of that year he celebrated the birth of Jesus in Greccio, setting up the first crib.
Why is St Francis of Assisi considered a Hero?
He may be considered a humanitarian hero because:
- he was the first to love nature and animals,
- to have the sense of social compassion and the sense of the spiritual dangers of prosperity and property.
- he tried to end the Crusades by talking to the Saracens.
- he was humble and self-denial