There are good men and there are ad men. Whenever people become very wicked and greedy, a man is born. This man is so kind, gentle and unselfish that the world calls him a saint. He sets such wonderful examples that people slowly learn to follow his way of life.

This is the story of St. Francis of Assisi. He lived nearly a thousand years ago in Italy. St. Francis was the son of a rich merchant. When he was young, his ad everything that money could buy. He was a bright, happy child and everyone loved him. When he grew up to be a man, he became a merchant like this father. For some time, he even served as a soldier. He loved life. He wore fine clothes and made merry with his friends.

One day he heard a voice calling to him. He looked around in wonder. There was no one to be seen. Again he heard the voice. This time he new it was the voice of god and he listened. The voice told him to give up his polish ways and to serve him.

All night he could not sleep. Next morning he knew what he had to do. He put away his fine clothes and went to his father. He asked for blessings and too him he was going to leave home. He wanted to live with the poor and help the sick and needy. His father was very angry because he had great plans for his son. But St. Francis quietly left home.

He went around the city telling people about Jesus Christ. He begged people to be good, kind and honest. At first people mocked him. His old friends threw mud at him. But St. Francis did not care. He cheerfully went about his work. He loved God and he knew God loved him. So he looked very happy and peaceful.

One by one people gathered around him. Soon he had a band of followers. They called themselves the Franciscan Friars. They wore a long brown robe made of rough material. They led a simple life in a monastery built in a clearing in the woods.

St. Francis went a many lands to teach people about Jesus Christ. There is story that in Egypt, he even preached before the Sultan. At that he Christians and the Muslims were at war. The Sultan was a Muslim. But he was so moved by the kind and gentle face of St. Francis that he bowed his head before him.

St. Francis loved all living creatures especially animals and birds. He is called `The Patron Saint of Animals and birds.’ Many high and mighty men love have been forgotten. But even today we remember `The poor little Man of Assisi.



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