Francis was born in 1182 to a very rich, easy life.
His father wanted his son to become a man of business and Francis did. He also loved parties
with many friends. Life was good and he was in his glory. Then, Francis had a dream in which
God told him to change his life. Francis conversion was not easy. Slowly, he started to pray.
One day while riding through the countryside, Francis came face to face with a leper. Repelled
by the appearance, Francis nevertheless jumped down drom his horse and hissed the hand of
the leper. When this kiss of peace was returned, Francis felt he knew what God wanted.
In Prayer at the ancient church at San Damiano, Francis heard Christ speak to him. "Francis,
repair my church." Francis got busy and started doing this with his father's money and materials
from his father's shop. Francis's father became angry and filed charges against his son. The
Bishop told Francis to return the money and to believe that God would provide. Francis not only
gave back the money, but all his inheritance, even the fancy clothes he wore. Now dressed in
cast off rags, Francis prayed for guidance. Realizing God wanted him to repair the Church, not
the building. Francis began teaching and reforming. Slowly, other men began to follow his life
and preaching. Francis founded a religious order, the Franciscans, all who worked to help the
needy and deprived.
Fransis brotherhood included all of God's creatures. His love of nature has been documented
in many ways. In this beautiful setting, it is alltogether fitting and proper to honor St. Francis.
We, too, need to be dedicatedto serve others. And, as parton saint of ecologists, we need to
be reminded to praise Gos for all the beauty of nature as a gift to us.