Saint Francis of Assisi
The son of a prosperous businessman, Francesco di Pietro di Bernardone gave up all his worldly goods and set out to preach repentance. He founded the Franciscan Order of friars and set forth the simple Franciscan Rule: "To follow the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ and to walk in his footsteps." He also founded the Order of Poor Clares for women with Saint Clare. He exhorted his followers to embrace a life of poverty and to help others. His example was highly influential in thirteenth-century Church reform.
Possibly no other figure in Catholic history is venerated as is Saint Francis. Along with Saint Catherine of Siena, he is one of the patron saints of Italy. He is also known for his love of nature and all God's creatures and is the patron saint of animals and the environment.
Francis of Assisi
This public-domain graphic from the 1885 publication The Hundred Greatest Men is free for your use. Part of the Medieval and Renaissance History Portrait Gallery here at this site.
On the Web
Indices, primary sources, and general sites focusing on the study of Saints' lives.
Sites that focus on Italy during the middle ages and Renaissance.