Biographical information for Francis

Francis was born in Assisi. He was baptized and given the name of Giovanni (John). His father, the cloth merchant Pietro Bernadone, uses the name "Francesco" for him, the little Frenchman.

The citizens of Assisi storm the castle ("Rocca"), a symbol of imperial power. Civil war between citizens (traders, new empires) and nobles. Victory of the rising bourgeoisie, the nobles flee to Perugia, also family of Claire of Assisi. War between the cities of Assisi and Perugia, as the nobles reclaim their power. Francis takes part in this war. Assisi loses and he is imprisoned in Perugia.

The sick Francis is bought free and returns to Assisi.

Prolonged illness of Francis

Francis dreams of becoming a knight and of taking part in the Crusade. In Spoleto he has a vision and returns. Francis meets a leper; instead of running away, he embraces him and sees Jesus in him.

In San Damiano the image of the cross speaks to him: "Francis, restore my house which is in danger of falling apart”. He takes this literally and starts restoring the chapel. He sells his father's cloth, which leads to conflict.

The Father brings Francis to trial before the Bishop, Francis publicly removes all his clothes and renounces his paternal inheritance and all possessions. Francis lives like a hermit and in after rebuilding San Damiano, he rebuilds the churches of San Pietro and Porziuncola.

He hears the Gospel reading about of the sending of the disciples in Porziuncola and discerns his vocation. He begins to preach, and his first companions, the aristocrat Bernard of Quintavalle and the lawyer Peter of Catania, join him. In the Riet Valley, at Poggio Bustone, Francis is ridden by doubts because of his previous transgressions. From the experience of God's forgiveness and love, his prayer for peace is born.

Now with twelve brothers, Francis goes to Rome to have his rule of life approved by the Pope. Afterwards he lives in Porziuncola.

He sends brothers to Germany and England.

Francis travels to the Holy Land to prevent a crusade. He meets the Sultan, and both talk with respect and reverence.

He organises the Order, which now has 5000 friars.

In Fonte Colombo, Francis writes the first rule which was not approved

Second, final rule - Christmas in Greccio

Francis withdraws to Mount Alverna, where he receives the stigmata.

He is severely ill. Almost blind, he writes the Canticle of the Sun in San Damiano.

On 3 October Francis dies in Porziuncola

Canonisation of Francis

The body of Francis is transferred to the new basilica.

"If it does you good, then come!"


(St. Francis of Assisi)