Founder of the Franciscans and well known bird-watcher.
One of the more endearing Saints, he started off with a military career, was captured and spent a year as a prisoner of war. After this he chose a more peaceful life; staying closer to God and helping the sick, especially lepers.
He re-built a church and then went off to be a hermit for another re-think about things. He emerged to become a traveling preacher and founded the House of Poor Ladies which became The Poor Clares.
Soon he began to gather of following of brethren attracted to his simple and direct views. He did his best to reject rules and regulations. However, the ecclesiastical hierarchy had other ideas and, under pressure, he produced the Franciscan First Rule.
Nobody understood this, so with great reluctance he wrote his Second Rule.
As he was popular, pulled in the punters and had no interest in intrigues and power struggles he scraped through with a pass. He was then able to found the Franciscans who just wanted to preach without pressure or possessions.
Francis preached to anything, birds, animals, humans, plants, the weather. He loved it all. Fittingly he’s now the Patron of Conservationists.