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Franciscan Friars – Province of the Immaculate Conception

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Followers of Jesus & St. Francis

St. Francis was born eight centuries ago in the Italian town of Assisi. As a young man, he was very popular with his peers. On many evenings, the people of Assisi would shake their heads as Francis and his companions would fill the streets with their loud laughter and songs.

Just as all of us have dreams of our future, Francis’ dream was to be a knight. This would not only give him a personal sense of honor, but the coveted title of nobility that his father, Pietro, so desperately wanted.

Those dreams were soon to be shattered when, at the age of 19, Francis was captured as a prisoner of war in the rival city of Perugia. Francis spent a year in the damp, dark and crowded prison of Perugia. Ransomed by his father, a rich cloth merchant in Assisi, he became very ill once in the comfort of his own home.

When he recovered, he had another chance to seek knighthood in a brewing war. However, while traveling to battle, Francis heard an inner voice say, “Tell me, Francis, who can benefit you most, the Lord or the servant?” Francis knew in his heart it was the call of the Lord Jesus Christ, yet did not understand fully the message or vision that accompanied it.

Returning to Assisi, Francis began to experience a slow yet gradual conversion in his life. Those things that used to amuse and please him were fast fading. Francis’ deep desire was to know the Lord Jesus, to serve Him, and to be like Him. This longing led Francis to the poor and destitute, since it was Christ Himself who gave us an example of how to serve others, especially those in need.

Francis was to have a radical impact not only on the Church of his time, but on society as well. He and the early frairs preached the message of peace, on the necessity of living our lives to reflect the values of the Gospel, on the love of a just and caring God, and on the mystery and power of the Incarnation. The friars also preached how the world was to be a reflection of God’s glory. One of the Saint’s most beautiful testaments in praising God’s handiwork is the Canticle of Creatures, completed shortly before his death.

Today, we the friars of the Province of the Immaculate Conception strive to follow Jesus by continuing the mission of Francis and his first followers.

Today, we the friars of the Province of the Immaculate Conception strive to follow Jesus by continuing the mission of Francis and his first followers.