A young man torn by the enticements of his society, anguished of heart with such thoughts as "Who am I?", "What am I to do with my life?", "Who is God and what is He to me?" This was Francis of Assisi.
Francis was born in 1182 of a middle class Italian family. He was educated and respected by the people of his hometown, Assisi. Like any young person in his early twenties, Francis began to question what he should do to live a meaningful life. He wanted recognition and fame. After several unsuccessful attempts to discover the purpose of his life, he was shaken in his worldly aspirations.
The conflict that inflamed his heart led him to the deserted church of San Damiano in Assisi during which Francis heard a command of the Crucified Lord while he was absorbed in prayer. "Francis," the voice told him, "go and repair my house, which, as you see, is falling completely into ruin." From that moment on, Francis learned that living a Christian life would place him in opposition to the values of his society and set him apart from family, friends, and many of his own age.
St. Francis embracing the Crucified Christ
Province cemetery, St. Francis University