Following a youth of excess and wealth, St. Francis of Assisi slowly turned to prayer. He began preaching for a return to God and obedience to the Church. Eventually companions came to him, those who wanted to follow in his love of God. To his brotherhood of companions, Francis espoused the mandate he himself heard as a wealthy young man to sell his goods and give to the poor, the instruction to the apostles to bring nothing for their journey and the demand to embrace the cross daily. Francis' simplicity of life extended to ideas and deeds.
Francis' brotherhood included all of God's creation and much lore persists describing his love of nature. In one story, Francis preached to hundreds of birds about thankfulness to God while the birds remained still as he walked among them.
After accepting Jesus' teachings, joyfully and without limit, Francis chose a life of active preaching. Ultimately, years of poverty and wandering left Francis quite ill. Two years before his death, he received the wounds of Christ, the Stigmata.
In this icon, the knots in Francis' belt evoke the three vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. The doves within his nimbus are symbols of the Holy Spirit. St. Francis of Assisi is considered the founder of all Franciscan orders.
(This narrative is printed on the back of Note Cards. A copy is included with each plaque and photo.)
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