Individuals: Saint Francis (of Assisi)

Albert Chevallier Tayler Saint Francis of Assisi patron nature 1898 birds

Photo Credit: Waterborough

For some reason, there was a comic book about St. Francis lying around the house when I was a boy.  That’s how I learned about him.

His life was memorable for me because he went off to the Crusades and tried to convert the Sultan al-Kamil to no avail, but was nonetheless welcomed and let go unharmed since he was a civilian.  In the comic book, it went as far as to say that the Sultan gave him an amulet signifying that he was under the protection of the Sultan, allowing him to roam his territory freely.  But I don’t know if such a detail can be corroborated.

Yet the fact is that he willingly stepped into a war zone unarmed to have a face-to-face talk with a political leader.  He may not have been successful in his intended mission, but what their meeting shows is respect.

So after the fall of Crusader rule in the Holy Land, it would be the followers of Saint Francis who would be permitted to stay on behalf of the Catholic Church.

Saint Francis Assisi Sultan Al-Kamil Muhammad al-Malik Crusades Egypt

Photo Credit: 15 century painting. Reproduction in “An illustrated history of the Knights Templar”, James Wasserman

Saint Francis also devoted his life to poverty.  While I would not do what he did, I admire him for bringing to light this issue, even as far back as the Middle Ages.

I was pleased when “Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina chose Francis as his papal name in honor of Saint Francis of Assisi, becoming Pope Francis.”  But it doesn’t mean I agree with them on how to tackle poverty.  I just appreciate the fact that they have chosen to address the issue in their own way.

Giotto Legend of St. Francis Giving Mantle Poor

Photo Credit: Petrusbarbygere

And lastly, I like Saint Francis even more for his love of animals and nature:

He preached to man and beast the universal ability and duty of all creatures to praise God (a common theme in the Psalms) and the duty of men to protect and enjoy nature as both the stewards of God’s creation and as creatures ourselves…Many of the stories that surround the life of St. Francis say that he had a great love for animals and the environment.

Saint Francis, born Giovanni di Pietro di Bernardone but nicknamed Francesco by his father, was proclaimed Saint after his death.  But before that, he was just Francesco.  He did all those things as Francesco.

He was doing what he believed in.  He was being himself.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Francis_of_Assisi

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