Francis, the Saint, was born in 1181 in Italy to a very wealthy cloth merchant. He was a man who used to drink and party with friends and was imprisoned close to a year in his twenty’s for participating in a war between Perugia and Assisi. While in prison, Francis started receiving visions from God. When he was released from jail, he renounced his luxuries and family ties and embraced a poverty life after he received a message from Jesus Christ requesting him to rebuild the church and spread the gospel of the Lord (Spoto 241). Francis later received a vision that gave him marks that resembled the wounds that Christ suffered during His crucifixion, and this made him the first person to receive such holy words. He announced a saint on 1228, 16th July, and during his later life, he developed a deep love for animals and nature. Therefore, he became the patron saint of the animals and the environment and is followed that many animals are blessed each October on his feast day.
When he turned his life to God, he started spending increasing time at quiet churches and remote mountains, hiding, praying, and helping lepers. Saint Francis was earlier known to fear lepers, and he even refused to approach the lepers’ dwellings. He, however, collected enough funds and decided to visit lepers in the hospital, and that day he conquered fear and expressed love for others regardless of the condition the person is by dramatizing to his coverts through kissing a leper by the hand, which meant that he was ready to detach himself from the worldly life and embrace the life of the spiritual lepers (Spoto 25). While praying at the San Damiano’s church, Christ’s voice came to him, telling him to repair the Christian church and abandon his luxurious life for a poverty one. He hurriedly obeyed and devoted himself to preaching around his area of birth, and 12 followers then joined him. During this period, Francis was referred to as a madman by many people, while some others referred to him as an ideal Christian who served as an example to many since he behaved the same way Jesus Christ himself was behaving (Spoto 34).
He, however, collected enough funds and decided to visit lepers in the hospital; he took some clothes from his father and sold them along with his horse. His father became hungry upon learning what his son was doing to him, and as a result, he took his son, Francis, to the area bishop. The bishop ordered Francis to return his father’s money (Spoto 11). Francis behaved anomalously by stripping off his clothes before the priest and his father and declaring that he had only the almighty God as the only father he could recognize after that.
After this incident, Francis left Assis, and unluckily, the first people he met on the road was a group of robbers who beat him thoroughly until he developed wounds. He then chose to live as per the gospel of his new father, God. There were wealthy people inside the church, especially those heading it. Due to his humility, Francis drew thousands of followers who listened to his sermons and adopted his way of living, making them friars of Franciscan (Spoto 31).
He grew very fast in the new field of preaching the good news and was now able to preach to five villages in a day, teaching people personal Christian religion in a simple language that everyone could understand and follow. Francis was so determined that he even preached to animals which made people disregard him and others started calling God’s fool, but he made sure that his gospel was spread far (Spoto 12). This means that the current Christians should not be afraid of the good news gospel they preach even if their colleagues despise them like Francis was. They should eye at spreading the gospel to far many distances so that many people would turn to the Lord like Francis converted many souls.
Francis of Assisi died on 1226, July 3rd aged forty-four years, and before his death, many people had predicted that he was a saint. Assisi sent knights to guard him when his death began so that no one would carry him away. This is because a dead body of a saint was valuable, and they would not want to lose him to anybody from the neighboring town. Upon dying, Pope Gregory IX pronounced him a Saint. (Spoto 31).
Saint Francis of Assisi of Italy much influenced Roman catholic history. With Saint Catherine of Siena, the Franciscan orders, including the third-order lay and the Poor Clares. The medieval Christians believed that the Christian church was the only way to salvation, and sacraments were administered to the Catholics by ordained priests only. The Christians of the medieval era were required to know anything about the life of Jesus Christ and the features of God Himself, just the same way Saint Francis believed in his life after the imprisonment. Contemporary Catholicism was measured by the sacraments and the spiritual rituals conducted by priests (Spoto 242). Like Saint, Francis believed in God as the only father he had, the medieval Christians believed in saints whom they considered very close to God and were the link between them and the Almighty God. Saints were viewed as holy beings who cared for individual people, and every village was represented by a patron saint who was believed as an advocate on its behalf.
The international community Felician Sisters minister God’s people in the United States, with the first one arriving in the States in 1874. Like Saint Francis, the vowed women left their homeland to minister to the other people in Polonia. They then, just like Saint Francis, went far to spread the gospel of justice, respect for human dignity, love, and compassion with the poor people in Haiti, Russia, and Ukraine. The Felician Sisters have continued to administer in many ways across the globe and aim to renew the world through preaching the gospel of love, transformation, and solidarity with the poor and the rich (Spoto 20). This virtue was instilled by the life of Saint Francis, who was initially a sinner and chose to change his life to preach the gospel after a war that led to his imprisonment in his twenty’s and the disappointment by his biological father, who took him to the local bishop for selling his clothes.
The Franciscan way of living is a life that I would want to copy in both my current and future life. In this essay, I have learned that a Christian’s walking should be preaching and seeking to be prayers but not to pray. It is also clear that, like all other people, saints have a past and that the worldly life does not benefit a Christian. This has impacted my life, and I would wish to try and live a life that is down to the earth so that I interact with both the poor and the Christians whose main agenda is to spread the gospel of the Lord (Spoto 240). The act of kissing a leper by the Saint has taught me to be humble, love the sick, and dwell with those society has abandoned.
This essay has entirely discussed the sinful life of Francis and how he transited from such a bad life into a Christian life which earned him a lot of respect. He later, after death, earns an honorable title of being a Saint, and Catholic Christians of the date celebrate him. The essay has also discussed how the Saint impacted the lives of the vowed women in the United States who have spread the gospel to many parts of the States and have impacted many lives.
Spoto, Donald. Reluctant Saint: The Life of Francis of Assisi. Viking Adult, 2002.