Francis

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Francis male forename, name of two saints.
St Francis de Sales (1567–1622), French bishop, one of the leaders of the Counter-Reformation. The Salesian order (founded in 1859) is named after him. His feast day is 24 January.
St Francis of Assisi (c.1181–1226), Italian monk, founder of the Franciscan order. Born into a wealthy family, he renounced his inheritance and devoted himself to his religious calling. He soon attracted followers, founding the Franciscan order in 1209 and drew up its original rule (based on complete poverty). He is revered for his generosity, simple faith, humility, and love of nature, and is often shown preaching to the birds. His feast day is 4 October.

The extremely austere rule written by him in 1209 for the Franciscan order was modified in 1221 and received papal approval in 1223, but divergences of practice led to the separation of the Friars Minor of the Observance (the Observants) and the Friars Minor Conventual (the Conventuals) in 1517, and to the foundation of the stricter Friars Minor Capuchin (the Capuchins) in 1529. The order of Franciscan nuns was founded by St Clare (c.1212) under the direction of St Francis; they are known as ‘Poor Clares’. There is also a third order of lay associates (tertiaries), and a Franciscan order within the Anglican Church.

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Francis ( François de Sales) (Christian bishop and spiritual director): see DE SALES.

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