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Assisi, Hill Town in Umbria, Italy

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Background: St. Francis of Assisi
Assisi: photo St. Francis souvenirs, ©  Teresa Plowright.

What would St. Francis think of the thousands of images of him for sale as souvenirs today?

Photo © Teresa Plowright.
The man we know as St. Francis -- a saint often pictured amidst birds and animals, who lived in simplicity and poverty--was neither poor nor saintly in his youth.

He grew up in Assisi as the son of a wealthy merchant, and was a wild young bon vivant: he loved to sing, and was a troubadour; he loved fine clothes. But when the town of Assisi fought Perugia when Francis was twenty, he was captured and spent a year in prison. Once free, he completely changed his life: he gave all he owned to the poor, he tended lepers, and preached a message of poverty, humility, and joy.

Francis spent years wandering, preaching, and singing canticles. He set up a community to live by his ideals. At that time, the Catholic Church embodied the strictest type of hierarchy; Francis preached a humble faith, much closer to the life of Christ.

-continue to the famous Basilica in Assisi

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