I was only vaguely aware of St Francis for many years. He was a sort of medieval Dr Doolittle who went about talking to animals and feeding birds. That was about the sum of my knowledge.
Then on my journey, I fell in with some Franciscans. I spent time with them, talked with them, tried to get under the skin of what made them want to nail their colours to the mast of this itinerant preacher who went about loving people without censure, binding up their leprous wounds and preaching the good news of the Kingdom of God.
And I discovered a band of pilgrims who are committed to making our Lord loved and known, to peace and justice, to living simply. To do this in their prayer, their study, their work. And to do it in the spirit of love, joy and humility.
I'm currently a novice in the Third Order of the Society of St Francis which means that I am exploring my vocation to the Franciscan way of life. And one way I'm working it out is by writing about it.