Born in 1181 in Assisi, Italy, Francis was wealthy and privileged, working in his father’s prosperous business. As a young man, he was drawn to a social life of parties, revelry, and brawls. He had little desire for study or work and instead spent money on fine clothes, food, and entertainment. One day, as he was praying in front of a crucifix in a country church of St. Damian, he heard a voice speaking to him. It stated, “Francis, go and repair my house, which, as you see, is falling into ruin.” Francis ceased his ways of frivolous extravagance and cheerfully gave away his clothes and money to the poor. He often fasted, begged for what food he did eat, tended to the sick, and preached the Gospel message of peace. In his short life, he inspired thousands of men and women to follow him, and his influence in the Catholic Church and the world is still felt to this day.