SAN FRANCESCO D'ASSISISt. Francis of Assisi was born in Assisi in 1182 approx Born and died in 1226 as Giovanni Francesco Bernardone, the son of a wealthy cloth merchant, educated in Latin, French, and the language and literature of Provence, led by a young carefree life and worldly; participated in the war between Assisi and Perugia, and was held captive for more than a year, during which he suffered from a serious illness that would have led to radically change the way of life: back to Assisi in 1205, Francis was in fact dedicated to the works of charity among the lepers and began to engage in the restoration of religious buildings in ruins, after having a vision of San Damiano of Assisi, who ordered him to restore the church dedicated to him.
Francesco’s father, angered by the changes in the personality of the child and for his considerable offerings, disinherited him; Francis then stripped of her gowns before the bishop of Assisi, who was elected by Francesco arbiter of their dispute. He spent the next three years to the care of the poor and the lepers in the forests of Mount Subasio. In the chapel of Santa Maria degli Angeli, in 1208, one day, during Mass, he received an invitation to go out into the world, and to deprive yourself of everything to do good everywhere.
Returning to Assisi the same year, Francis began his preaching, gathering around him twelve followers who became the first brothers of his order, the Franciscans, and they chose their top Francesco, choosing their first home in the little church of the Portiuncula. In 1210 the order was approved by Pope Innocent III. Around 1212, after preaching in various Italian regions, Francis set out for the Holy Land, but a shipwreck forced him to return, and other problems prevented him from spreading his missionary work in Spain, where he intended to proselytize among the Moors.
In 1219 he went to Egypt, where he preached before the Sultan, but could not convert it, then went to the Holy Land, where he stayed until 1220; on his return, he found disagreement between the brothers and resigned from the post of superior, engaging in what would have been the third order of the Franciscans, the tertiary. He retired to the mountain of La Verna in September 1224, after 40 days of fasting and suffering faced with joy, he received the stigmata, the marks of crucifixion, the appearance of which, however, the sources do not agree.
Francesco was brought to Assisi, where he remained for years marked by physical suffering and an almost total blindness, which, however, did not weaken the love for God and creation expressed in the Canticle of Brother Sun, probably composed in Assisi in 1225; it in the sun and nature are praised as brothers and sisters, and is contained in the episode where the saint preached to the birds. Francis, who is the patron saint of Italy, was canonized in 1228 by Pope Gregory IX. It is often represented in traditional iconography in the act of preaching to animals or with the stigmata.