Francis of Assisi lived about eight hundred years ago. He was born in the city of Assisi, Italy, in 1182. He was the son of Piero of Bernadone, who was a wealthy merchant. He received a education and seemed to follow his father’s footsteps as a wealthy merchant. In 1201 he took part in an attack on Perugia, was taken hostage, and remained a captive there for a year. After his release, Francis joined the army but couldn’t complete his time because he got sick. This period of time would change his life forever. During his sickness, Francis would spend hours meditating on the Lord in an old church, and he felt God drawing near to him. Some people come to Jesus with a memorable experience, but others come to Christ through a process. Francis’ conversion wasn’t an overnight experience, but it was definitely real.
Francis was famous for his love of all creation. He called for simplicity of life, poverty, and humility before God. He worked to care for the poor. Thousands were drawn to his sincerity, piety, and joy. In all his actions, Francis sought to follow fully and literally the way of life demonstrated by Christ in the Gospels. He died in 1226, at the age of 44.
Dorothy Day, founder of the Catholic Worker movement, was born in Brooklyn, New York, November 8, 1897. After surviving the San Francisco earthquake in 1906, the Day family moved into a house in Chicago. It was a big step down in the world because John Day was out of work. Day’s understanding of the shame people feel when they fail in their efforts dated from this time.
Day lived long enough to see her achievements honored. In 1967, when she made her last visit to Rome to take part in the Congress of the Laity, she found she was one of two Americans invited to receive Communion from the hands of Pope Paul VI. On her 75th birthday the Jesuit magazine America devoted a special issue to her, finding her an individual who best explained the life’s and aspects of Jesus. Notre Dame University presented her with a special Medal, thanking her for contributions to everything.