Today we celebrate the feast of one of the most popular saints in the church. The order he started, the Franciscan and it's offshoot, the Capuchin order, must be among the largest. Born in 1182 and told in a vision by God to rebuild his church Francis gave up his inheritance and embraced a life of poverty and tried to live the life as laid down in the gospels. Soon he had a number of followers and he sat off to walk to Rome and seek permission to found a new order. The church at this time was very worldly and wealthy so there was opposition to Francis and his ideas. But the Pope was disposed to allow Francis to set up his order of penitents.
When Francis began preaching in the streets people laughed and stoned him; by the end of his life, people would kiss the ground on which he trod. He was a man of great holiness and simplicity whose ideals are as valid today as when he first preached them.