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Francis the son of a prosperous textile merchant, was born in 1182 A.D. in Assisi, Italy. As a young man he took active part in the city’s commercial, political and social life. During the war between Assisi and nearby city of Perugia, he was captured in prison. The suffering he saw during the war made him think deeply about the meaning and the purpose of life.

In 1205, he saw a vision of Jesus Christ and seeing this vision changed his life entirely, and he began to look upon God as his Heavenly Father. Thereafter he rejected his inheritance and devoted his life solely to serving the poor and tried his best to build the spirituality of the Church from within. He showed genuine concern and deep love for all creation of God. It is believed that he understood the inter relationship and mutual dependence of all living beings and perfect harmony and balance in nature.

Adopting absolute poverty as his ideal, he started preaching the Gospel and healing the sick. In 1209, he founded the Franciscan order. Many of his disciples became priests, but he remained a Brother. In 1212 he traveled to Syria, but was ship wrecked on the coast of Yugoslavia. From there he went to Morocco and met the prince. In 1219, he accompanied the crusaders to Egypt. In 1220, he returned to Italy and continued his preaching.

In 1224, while Francis was praying on Mount Alvernia, the five wounds resembling those suffered by Jesus, the Stigmata, appeared on his body. Two years later in 1226, Francis died in Portincula Chapel, near Assisi. He was canonized in 1228.

St. Francis of Assisi is remembered chiefly for his love for all living things. He is recognized as the patron saint of Ecology by the U.N. His feast day is celebrated on the 4th of October, every year.