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Francis of Assisi

A biographical synthesis

Eugenio Hansen, SFO

Fraternity Our Lady of the Angels

of the Porziuncola, Porto Alegre

Translation by Frank Mora III

Porto Alegre, RS – Brazil

Original title:

Francisco de Assis: uma síntese biográfica

September 2009


1181-1182 Francis is born

In Assisi,

Son of a bourgeois merchant,

Pietro di Bernardone

and Lady “Pica”.

In Baptism he receives

the name of John,

and upon returning

from a trip his father

changes the name to



1202 War against Perugia

The nobles of Assisi,

allies of Perugia,

fight against

the bourgeois of Assisi.

Francis participates,

and is defeated,

and imprisoned.

After a year,

being ill,

he is rescued by his father.


1205 He goes to war in Puglia

Wanting to become a knight, he joins the papal army and goes to war in Puglia.

In Spoleto, he has a visionin a dream and returns to Assisi.

Who is it better to servethe Lord or the servant?

Then why are you obeying the servant, and not the Lord?


1205 Encounter with a leper

Francis is in a period of much reflexion and prayer.

On an ocassion he sees a leper that is coming his direction.

Conquering his horror that he had for this desease, and for those that had it, he goes to meet him and treats him with kindness.

This event is recognized by Francis as very important in his conversion.


1205 The cross at S. Damiano talks

Praying at the church of San Damiano, he heard a request:

Francis, go and repair My House, which as you can see, is falling into ruin.

Taking the message literally, he restores the small abandoned churches of San Damiano, San Pietro, and the Porziuncula.


1206 Naked in front of everyone

Accused by his father, Francis,

In the city square,

And in front of the Bishop,

returned everything he had,

And all that his father had given to him;

remaining naked in front of everyone.

From now on I could freely say: Our Father who art in Heaven, and not father, Pietro Bernardone!


1208 In the Feast of St. Matthew

After listening to the explanation of the apostolic mission in the Gospel (Mt 10, 1. 5-13), Francis afirms:

This is what I want!

He leaves his hermit’s attire, starts using a very crude habit, and turns into a roving preacher.

After some time he receives the first companions.


1209 The Franciscan Rule

Francis writes a small Rule.

He goes to Rome with 11 companions, is received by Pope Innocent III,

who orally approves the Rule.


1211-1212 Saint Clare

The community is growing, and consolidating, they install themselves at the Porziuncula.

On the night of Palm Sunday, Clare escapes from home to follow the life of Francis.

Even with the opposition from her family, Agnes (Clare’s sister) joins the group, and thus starts the 2nd. Order.



1213 Mount Alvernia

The Count of Chiusi,

Orlando Cattani, offered Mount Alvernia (La Verna), near Arezzo, to serve as a hermitage.


1213-1214 Journeys

Preaches the Gospel in various places and cities in Italy, realized apostolic journeys in France and Spain.

When going to Morrocco he became ill, and returns to Italy.


1215 Saint Dominic

During the Fourth Lateran Council he encounters Saint Dominic de Guzman, founder of the Order of Preachers (Dominicans).


1216 Pardon of the Porziuncula

Francis obtains from the Pope the indulgence for the Porziuncula, which today is extended to all franciscan temples.


1219 With the Sultan of Egypt

The franciscans undertake great missions abroad (Germany, France, Hungary, Spain, Marrocco).

Francis goes to Egypt and meets with the sultan Malek-el-Kamel.


1221 Secular Franciscans

The approval of the Memoriale Propositi is considered the foundation of the Secular Franciscan Order.

In the SFO married persons can join who want to follow the franciscan life.


1223 Papal Bull

The Pope Innocent III issues the bull approving the franciscan rule, which was being perfecte since 1209 during chapters held annually.

This rule, known as the Papal Bull of 1223, is still in effect today.

Also, there is a text from before which is known as the rule...


1223 Christmas in Greccio

He celebrates Christmas with the people in Greccio, in front of a nativity scene.

Because of this celebration, many considered Francis of Assis the inventor of the nativity scene.


1224 Stigmas

Francis and Brother Leo go to Mount Alverna for a 40 day fast and preparation for Michaelmas.

In the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, September 14, Francis sees a winged and crucified seraphim. During this vison he receives the stigmas of the Crucified Jesus.


1225 Canticle of Brother Sun

Most high, all powerful, all good Lord! All praise is yours, all glory, all honor, and all blessing.

To you alone, Most High, do they belong. No mortal lips are worthy to pronounce your name.

Be praised, my Lord, through all your creatures, especially through my lord Brother Sun, who brings the day, and you give light through him.

[ . . . ]

With an illness in his eyes, he stays in Clare’s monastery in San Damiano.

He composes a good part of The Canticle of the Sun or Canticle of the Creatures.


1225-1226 Treatments

By obedience he submits himself to painful treatments in Assisi, Rieti, Fonte Colombo, Siena, and other places.

During these treatments, he was cauterized by fire.

Feeling the proximity of sister death, he asks to be taken to the Porziuncula. From the plains he blesses Assisi.


1226 The end?

At the Porziuncula he dictates his Testament.

3rd. of October: perceiving more and more the proximity of sister death, he asks to be placed naked on the naked ground, but ends up accepting the habit of his guardian.

He asks that they read the Gospel of the Last Supper, blesses the brothers present and future, and dies singing.


And after...

1228 Gregory IX canonizes him.

1230 His body is tranferred to the basilica built in his honor.

1916 Benedict XV proclaims him the patron of Catholic Action.

1939 Pio XII proclaims him the patron of Italy, together with Saint Catherine of Siena.

1979 John Paul II proclaims him the patron of Ecology.


Thank you for your attention!

Get acquainted with my blog: Brasil Franciscano

Br. Eugenio Hansen, OFS

Fraternity Our Lady do the Angels of the Porziuncola

Porto Alegre, RS – Brasil


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CRONOLOGIA de São Francisco e Santa Clara. In: FONTES franciscanas e clarianas. Petrópolis : Vozes, 2004. P. 83-89.

FRANCISCO de Assis. In: WIKIPEDIA. Disponível em em 22 mar. 2009.

ORDEM Franciscana Secular do Brasil. Livro de formação para iniciando à vida franciscana secular. 2. Ed. [São Paulo] : Loyola, 2002.



Franciscan Tau / Abraham S. 2007. Disponível em acesso em 22 mar. 2009.

Parents of Saint Francis / Gunnar Bach Pedersen. 2006. Disponível em acesso em 22 mar. 2009.

Cormons / Marvin (PA). 2005. Disponível em acesso em 22 mar. 2009.

Estatua de San Fco en Asís / Iqmann. 2006. Disponível em acesso em 22 mar. 2009.

Medieval leper bell / photo by Cnyborg at the museum Ribes Vikinger, Ribe, Denmark. May 2005. Disponível em em 22 mar. 2009.

Kruis van San Damiano / foto Sevenhoven. 1997. Disponível em acesso em 22 mar. 2009.

Studio anatomico, inchiostro su carta / Vincenzo Gemito. 1881. Disponível em,_Vincenzo_(1852-1929)_-_Studio_anatomico_-1881-.jpg acesso em 15 mar. 2009.

St. Paul of Thebes (ortodox icon). Disponível em acesso em 22 mar. 2009.


[Sonho de Inocêncio III e aprovação da Regra de São Francisco] / Benozzo Gozzoli. Séc. XV. Disponível em em 22 mar. 2009.

Der Eintritt der heiligen klara ins Kloster : (Berlin, Deutsches Historisches Museum) / own photo, cleaned up by Micze. Photo 2007. Disponível em em 22 mar. 2009.

The La Verna complex from the road below / John Mayers (todtubbi). 2008. Disponível em acesso em 22 mar. 2008.

Hl. Franz von Assisi / Cosmè Tura. ca. 1475. Disponível em acesso em 22 mar. 2009.

Fragment fresku z klasztoru San Marco we Florencji, przedstawiający św. Dominika / Fra Angelico (Piotr z Fiesole). 1438-1450. Disponível em acesso em 22 mar. 2009.

Santa Maria degli Angeli in Assisi – Porziuncola / Ludmiła Pilecka. 2007. Disponível em acesso em 22 ma. 2009.

Legend of St Francis : St Francis before the Sultan / Giotto di Bondone. Extraído de ecesso em 22 mar. 2009.

Uma família completa / Felipe Micaroni Lalli. 2005. Extraído de acesso em 22 mar. 2009.


Die Predigt das Hl. Franziskus vor Papst Honorius III / Giotto di Bondone. 1296-1298. Disponível em acesso em 22 mar. 2009.

Nativity scene in Huldenberg, Belgium / fotógrafo Wouter Hagens. 2006. Disponível em acesso em 22 mar. 2009.

Reliquaire : Saint François d'Assise recevant les stigmates. 1228-1230. Disponível em,_limoges_dopo_1228.JPG acesso em 22 mar. 2009.

Et bål / fotógrafo Einar Helland Berger. 2005. Disponível em acesso em 22 mar. 2009.

Death and Ascension of St Francis / Giotto di Bondone. Extraído de acesso em 22 mar. 2009.

Tomb of Saint Francis, with the stone coffin containing his remains / Rinina25 & Twice25. 2006. Disponível em acesso em 22 mar. 2009.