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Biography of San Francisco de Assisi | religious and Italian.

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(Giovanni di Pietro Bernardone; Assisi, Italy current, 1182 - ID, 1226) religious and Italian mystic, founder of the Franciscan order. Almost inadvertently San Francisco led a movement of Christian renewal which, focused on the love of God, poverty and lively fraternity, had a huge echo among the working classes and made him a veneradisima personality in the middle ages. The simplicity and humility of the poor of Assisi, however, eventually transcending its time to erect in a timeless, and his figure is valued, beyond even of beliefs as one of the highest expressions of Christian spirituality.

San Francisco de Assisi
Son of a wealthy merchant named Pietro di Bernardone, Francis of Assisi was a worldly young man of some renown in his city. Had helped from young boy to his father in the cloth trade and revealed her substantial gifts of intelligence and his fondness for elegance and the cavalry. In 1202, he was imprisoned because of his involvement in an altercation between the towns of Assisi and Perugia. After this release, in the loneliness of captivity and then during the convalescence of the disease that was once returned to his land, he felt deeply dissatisfaction regarding the type of life that was and began his spiritual maturation.
The luxury to poverty
Shortly thereafter, in the spring of 1206, had San Francisco its first vision. In the small church of San Damian, abandoned and destroyed, half heard before a Romanesque image of Christ a voice that spoke to him in the silence of his silent and loving contemplation: "go, Francis, repair my church. "Now you see it: a ruin is made". The young Francisco did not hesitate: he ran to his paternal home, took a few rolls of cloth from the store and was selling them to Feligno; He then handed the money thus obtained to the priest of San Damián for the restoration of the temple.
This action sparked the wrath of his father; If before tending to the luxury and pomp had censored in his son, Pietro di Bernardone now saw a blind profligacy to the detriment of the heritage that cost so many sweats in that donation. Why it took her son to the Bishop of Assisi to it formally renounce any inheritance. The response of Francisco was put off his own clothes and return them to his father, renouncing therefore by love of God, any earthly good.
Twenty-five years, without more goods than their poverty, he left his hometown and went to Gubbio, where he selflessly worked in a hospital for lepers; He then returned to Assisi and dedicated himself to restore his own arms, asking for materials and helps to passers-by, the churches of San Damián, San Pietro In Merullo and St. María of the Ángeles at the Porziuncola. Despite this activity, those years were of solitude and prayer; only appeared before the world to beg with the poor and share your table.
The call to the preaching
The 24 February 1209, in the small church of the Portiuncula and as I listened to the reading of the Gospel, Francisco heard a call that indicated him to come out into the world to do good: the hermit became Apostle and, barefoot and without more costume a robe cinched with a rope, soon attracted to her about at all a Crown of active and devout souls. The first (April 1209) were Bernard of Quintavalle and Pedro Cattani, who joined, touched his heart by grace, the priest Silvestre; soon after came Egidio.
St. Francis of Assisi preached poverty as a value and proposed a simple way of life based on the ideals of the Gospels. It should be remembered that, at that time, other groups that advocated a return to the primitive Christianity had been declared heretical, reason why Francisco wanted to Pontifical authorization. 1210, after receiving a group of eleven of his companions and Francisco, Pope Inocencio III approved orally their model of religious life, granted him permission to preach and ordered him deacon.

St. Francis of Assisi (oil on canvas by Zurbarán)
Over time, the number of its followers was increasing and Francisco began to form a religious order, now called Franciscan or Franciscan. In addition, with the collaboration of Santa Clara, he founded the female branch of the order, the poor ladies, better known as the Poor Clares. Years later, in 1221, would create the third order in order to accommodate those who could not leave their family obligations. To 1215, the Franciscan congregation had already spread by Italy, France and Spain; that same year the Council of Lateran canonically recognized order, then of the Friars Minor called.
During those years tried San Francisco carry beyond evangelization of Christian lands, but different circumstances thwarted their trips to Syria and Morocco; Finally, between 1219 and 1220, possibly after an encounter with Santo Domingo de Guzman, he preached in Syria and Egypt; Although it failed its conversion, the sultan Al - Kamil was so impressed that he allowed him to visit the Holy places.
Last years
On his return, at the request of the Pope Honorio III, compiled in writing the rule of Franciscan, which drafted two versions (one in 1221 and another more schematic in 1223, approved that year by the Pope) and handed over the leadership of the community to Pedro Cattani. The direction of the Franciscan order soon pass members more practical, as the cardinal Ugolino (the future Pope Gregorio IX) and brother Elias, and San Francisco could devote himself entirely to the contemplative life.
During this retreat, Saint Francis of Assisi received the stigmata (the wounds of Christ in his own body); According to testimony of the same Holy, this occurred in September 1224, after a long period of fasting and prayer, in a rock next to the Tiber and Arno rivers. Suffering blindness and strong suffering, he spent his last two years in Assisi, surrounded by the zeal of his followers.
Their suffering did not affect his deep love for God and creation: precisely then, to 1225, wrote the wonderful poem Canticle of the creatures or Canticle of brother Sun, that influenced much of the subsequent Spanish Mystic poetry. St. Francis of Assisi died on October 3, 1226. In 1228, just two years later, he was canonized by Pope Gregorio IX, who laid the first stone of the Church of Assisi, dedicated to the Saint. The feast of St. Francis of Assisi is celebrated on 4 October.
Works of St. Francis of Assisi
Deprived of chronological data, the works of St. Francis of Assisi document, not the life of the Saint, but Franciscan spirit and ideal. Most of these writings has been lost, including many Epistles and the first of the three rules of the Franciscan order (composed in 1209 or 1210), who received oral approval of Pope Innocent III.
That the so-called Rule I (actually second), composed in 1221 with the collaboration, is preserved so it refers to biblical texts, Fray Cesario de Spira. This rule (called unsealed because it was not approved with the papal seal) consists of twenty-three chapters, of which the last is a prayer of Thanksgiving and supplication unto the Lord, and meets standards, admonitions and exhortations that San Francisco led to its brethren, the more times on the occasion of the chapters of the order.

St. Francis of Assisi (oil of Cigoli)
Rule II, actually third (and named sealed, since he received papal approval of November 29, 1223), consists of only twelve chapters and is nothing more than a repetition more concise and orderly of the foregoing, with respect to which does not (as some researchers have wanted to say) substantial news. It is which continues in force in the Franciscan order. In the Testament, written on the eve of his death and taxes as an integral part of the rule, San Francisco bequeaths to his companions in order, as the greatest spiritual treasure, Madonna poverty.
In the first edition complete works of Francis of Assisi (of Wadding), were seventeen reputed authentic Epistles, but their number was very diminished in later critical editions. The exhortation to penance and virtue, the importance of poverty and love of God and the precepts of the order are some of the recurring themes of his correspondence. There are also a few religious poems in latin.
Other outstanding works are the Admonitiones, containing indications of San Francisco for the correct interpretation of the rule, and of religious bedrooms in eremo, addressed to the friars eager to lead a hermit life. The Admonitiones show their moral ideas in practical warnings given to his brothers, fruit of an ongoing analysis of the inner life. Founded on the Gospel and the Epistles of St. Paul, this moral is focused completely on the first precept of the love of God by itself and only well, which all come from and which is above all things: who loves the Lord in this way has it already internally in so far as it includes that , without it, the reason of our life would sink into the darkness and nothingness.
The Canticle of the creatures
These works, all of them of high spiritual significance, must be added one that is of a great literary importance: the Canticle of the creatures (also called you Laudes creaturarum or Canticle to the Sun), probably written a year before his death. According to the legend it concerns, the writing of this poem was a gift and the remedy for its advanced blindness. It is a prayer to God, written in dialect shady and composed of 33 verses that do not have a regular metre. The rhyme repeated the same stylistic model of medieval Latin prose and of biblical poetry, especially that of song of songs.
The prayer, whose slow pace reminds the morning prayers, is of extraordinary beauty. Begins praising the greatness of God and continues with the beauty and goodness of the Sun and the stars, who praises as brothers; for the humility of the man he calls for forgiveness and the dignity of death. The poetic mastery with which it was expressed in this composition the Franciscan ideal had important literary and religious consequences. It should not be forgotten that his spiritual movement was formed mostly by people who used vulgar language; the edges of this multitude of followers roamed fields and villages is called you laudes, and were then collected in the laudarios or books of prayers of the brotherhoods of devotees. The influence of the poem of San Francisco and its derived literature would be visible in the ascetic and mystic poetry of the Renaissance.
Extracted from the website: Biografías y Vidas
Biographies of historical figures and personalities

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