St. Francis of Assisi was born Giovanni di Pietro di Bernadone around 1181 a.m. In his youth, Francis was known for his drinking and partying. He was captured and imprisoned during a battle between the cities of Perugia and Assisi. Once released, he had an encounter with the Lord when he heard the Jesus say, “Rebuild my church.” He abandoned his life of luxury and turned all his attention to service to the Lord. Through his example, he inspired men and women to join him — thus the Franciscan family began. He died on October 4, 1226 at the age of 45. Francis is considered the founder of all Franciscan orders and the patron saint of ecologists and merchants.