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Christian History Home > 1994 > Issue 42 > Francis of Assisi 1181-1220: Christian History Timeline

Francis of Assisi 1181-1220: Christian History Timeline
Joanne Schatzlein, O.S.F., is congregation administrator at Sisters of Saint Francis of Assisi in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. | posted 4/01/1994 12:00AM

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Francis of Assisi

1181/2 Giovanni di Pietro di Bernardone is born and baptized in Assisi, Italy; later named Francesco

1190 Francis attends the parish school at San Giorgio

1193 Chiara di Favarone (Clare) is born to a renowned family of nobility

1199-1200 Civil war rages in Assisi, a city intent on independence from both papal and imperial power; nobility flee to the city of Perugia, Assisi’s arch-rival

1202 Francis fights in a battle between Assisi and Perugia, is captured and imprisoned in Perugia

1203 Francis’s father ransoms him; Francis endures a long illness

1204 Late: Sets out to participate in a crusade; en route, a vision directs him to return home to seek God’s will

1205 Spring: Francis’s gradual conversion begins: he gives generously to the poor and embraces a leper; he is mocked by fellow Assisians; he seeks solitude with God in caves and abandoned churches
Fall: In the church of San Damiano, Francis hears, “Go, repair my house which, as you see, is falling completely to ruin”; he sells cloth from his father’s shop and gives money to repair the church building

1206 Jan./Feb. His enraged father takes Francis before the bishop of Assisi, demanding repayment for his cloth; Francis strips, returning his clothes and renouncing his inheritance
Spring: Nurses lepers and begs for stones to repair churches

1208 Desires to imitate Jesus perfectly; begins to preach repentance and peace; several young men leave their families and possessions to join Francis

1209 Writes a rule [guiding charter] for his new order; goes to Rome to gain papal approval for the order; settles with his “brothers” in a small church in Assisi called “The Portiuncula”

1211 Tries to reach Muslim territory to convert Muslims; heavy winds detour his ship and force his return

1212 Clare is received as a follower of Francis; she begins the Second Order of St. Francis, known as the Poor Clares

1213 Francis receives as a gift La Verna, a mountain in the Tuscan Valley; he often seeks solitude there

1215 Francis begins his “Eucharistic Crusade,” exhorting people to show reverence for Communion

1217 Some 5,000 brothers convene; Francis seeks volunteers to preach in Germany, Tunis, and Syria; eventually, brothers reach Spain and England

1219 Franciscan missionaries to Morocco killed, the order’s first martyrs; Francis sails to the Holy Land and in Egypt tries to convert the Muslim sultan

1220 Pope Honorius III requires Francis to establish more discipline in his order; recognizing his poor administrative skills, Francis appoints Peter of Catanii as minister general

1221 Francis writes a letter that becomes the basic rule of the Third Order, a Franciscan order for lay men and women; at the request of church authorities, Francis begins to create a more formal rule for the First Order

1223 Fall: After much debate in the brotherhood, Francis revises his Rule; final revision of the Rule approved by Pope Honorius III
Dec. 24/25: Exhausted and ill, Francis travels to Greccio; he re-enacts the Christmas story, popularizing the nativity scene

1224 Francis returns to La Verna to pray and fast; he receives the stigmata, marks of Christ’s wounds

1225 Spring: Nearly blind and suffering possibly from tuberculoid leprosy, Francis returns to San Damiano, where Clare and her sisters care for him; he writes The Canticle of Brother Sun.
Late summer: Submits to cauterization treatment for his eye maladies

1226 Sept. Asks to be taken back to the Portiuncula; composes a final verse about “Sister Death” for his Canticle
Oct. 3: Dies; buried at the Church of San Giorgio in Assisi

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