Vatican City, Jan 27, 2010 / 11:37 am
In the General Audience this morning, Pope Benedict XVI gave his catechesis on the life and work of St. Francis of Assisi. Calling him a veritable "giant" of holiness, the Holy Father said that his outreach to Muslims can serve as a model for Christian-Muslim relations today.
St. Francis was born in the late 12th century to a wealthy family and at 20 years old took part in a military campaign at which time he was taken prisoner, explained the Pope. After falling ill, he was freed and made his way back to his native Assisi.
"After his return... a slow process of spiritual conversion began in him which made him gradually abandon the worldly lifestyle that he had practiced until then," he recounted.
This is when "the celebrated episodes" we know the saint for today began to happen, said Benedict XVI.