St. Francis of Assisi abandoned luxurious life and devoted life to Christianity after reportedly hearing the voice of God, who commanded him to rebuild the Christian Church and to live in poverty. He is the Patron Saint for ecologists.
Born in Italy, circa 1181, St. Francis of Assisi was renowned for drinking and partying in his youth. After fighting in a battle between Assisi and Perugia, Francis was captured and imprisoned for ransom. He spent nearly a year in prison awaiting his father’s payment and according to legend, began receiving visions from God. After his release from prison, Francis heard the voice of Christ, who told him to renovate the Christian Church and live a life of poverty.
Consequently, he abandoned his life of luxury and became a devotee of the faith, his reputation spreading all over the Christian world. Later in life, Francis reportedly received a vision that left him with the stigmata of Christ—marks resembling the wounds Jesus Christ suffered when he was crucified—making Francis the first person to receive such holy wounds. He was canonized as a saint on July 16, 1228. Today, St. Francis of Assisi has had a lasting resonance with millions of followers across the globe.