This week in Christian history: Elizabeth I excommunicated, Francis of Assisi, ‘What Would Jesus Do?’

Francis of Assisi inspired to preach – February 24, 1208

This week marks the anniversary of when Francis Bernardone, later known as Francis of Assisi, heard a homily at a church service that convinced him to become an evangelist.

Francis was attending mass at a small church known as Saint Mary of the Angels. The priest read from Matthew chapter 10, which describes Jesus sending out the disciples to preach the Good News.

The sermon led Francis to decide to become an iterant preacher who lived simply and to gather a few followers to help with his new ministry. Within eight years, the number of followers grew to about 5,000.

“When the Lord entrusted brothers to me, nobody told me how to treat them, but the Most High revealed to me personally that I ought to live according to the norms of the Holy Gospel,” he later wrote.

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