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Saint Francis of Assisi

life franciscans founder

Francis of Assisi, Saint (1182?–1226), Italian Roman Catholic mystic, founder of the Franciscans. In 1205 he turned away from his extravagant life and wealthy merchant family and entered a religious life of utter poverty. He was given oral sanction by Pope Innocent III to form an order of friars in 1209. With his many followers Francis preached and ministered to the poor in Italy and abroad, stressing piety, simplicity, and the love of all living things. Eventually the order expanded beyond the control of its founder; Francis relinquished the leadership in 1221. His feast day is Oct. 4.

See also: Franciscans.

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