Born in Assisi , Italy in 1182, Francis was friendly and pleasure-seeking as a young boy. Once, when a beggar asked for alms from him, he realized life’s poverty and misery. While he gave all his money to the beggar, his friends and own father rebuked him for his charitable act. After sometime, he became very ill for several months until his prayer and vow to serve other people gave way to his miraculous recovery. Notwithstanding his parents’ disapproval and friends’ mockery, he determined to surrender his old ways for God’s service. He became a recluse by living in the hills and meditated for all of two years. While he sometimes received food from sympathizers, he often went hungry. However, he was undaunted since he wanted his body to be under strict discipline and control despite the frequent deprivation of food and water. Francis loved not only the outcasts and the depressed, but also the birds and the beasts, which he treated as he would treat humans. He preached, taught, cured and distributed wealth in all of Italy and encouraged people to follow his example. Soon, the good news of Francis’ love and kindness became renowned in Europe . Before dying in 1228, he was able to organize the Order of Mendicant Friars or Franciscans, who promised a life of poverty, chastity, love and obedience.
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