About St. Francis of Assisi (1181-1226)
The son of a rich merchant, Francis spent over a year as a prisoner of war, where he experienced a conversion. Inspired by the Gospels, he dressed in rags and begged for food. When his family disapproved, he formally renounced his wealth and inheritance. He preached in the streets, visited hospitals, served the sick, composed hymns, and regularly performed manual labor. When hundreds started following him, he received the blessing of the pope to start the Franciscans. Soon, his followers numbered in the thousands. While on a retreat meditating, Francis received the stigmata. He died with the words "Bring my soul out of prison" on his lips.
"Sanctify yourself and you will sanctify society."
– St. Francis of Assisi