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Francis was born at Assisi in Umbria in the early 1180’s. His fath er was Pietro Bernadone, a very wealthy cloth merchant. His baptized name was Giovanni but it was changed to Francesco. Francis received a decent amount of schooling as a child although he did not show much interest in it. He was very spoiled and did not want to go into his father’s business. He had high status, was handsome, wore fine clothing, and was very well known with the people of Assisi.
His city often had brawls with the rivaling city of Perugia. This was unfortunate,yet fortunate for Francis. He had gone along to join the fighting and was defeated and taken as a prisoner. It was unfortunate in that he was held captive for over a year and had gotten ill. It was fortunate because he began to think about great glory, which is the beginning toward his golden years.
When he had been released he was eager to take on a miliitary career. He was ready to face the emperor of the Neapolitan States along with a friend. It was then that he had a dream. He saw a hallway with armour hanging on the walls that had the cross on them. He heard a voice that said “These are for you and your soldiers”. In 1205, he continued on his quest but was struck by illness once again. During the course of this, he had another dream. He heard the same voice he had heard in his previous dream and this time it told him to return back to Assisi.
When he returned, he gave up everything he owned. It disgusted him. In fact he got rid of so much that he left naked. Soon after, God had called on him to rebuild his church and so Francis ran and got enough money to have the church repaired. Upon his return to town, he was called a madman. It certainly did appear that he was. He had gone from being very wealthy to choosing to live a life of poverty.
Francis then lived a life of charity which included nursing lepers. His life influenced many people and some even decided to follow him. One of these people was St. Clare. These followers of his became known as Friars. Francis lived a life of helping others which he summed up with three vows for others to follow.
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