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Peace and Harmony According to the Franciscan Perspective

Who was St. Francis of Assisi and why do we associate him with peacemaking? He lived in the 13th century in a small town in central Italy called Assisi. He spent his youth being the life of the party. He was popular and outgoing. He went off to war convinced he would come home as a highly esteemed proud knight. Instead he was captured and imprisoned for an entire year. He came back a changed man, recognizing violence was not the answer. He experienced a radical conversion in his embrace of the lepers of his day. This put him on the road to peacemaking in a society fraught with violence and war, much like our own times. His greeting to all whom he met was: "God give you peace." He tamed the wolf of Gubbio, a small little village where a violent force plagued the town. He visited the Sultan in Egypt to broker peace between Christians and Muslims. His conversations with the sultan broadened his understanding and respect for the Muslim tradition.