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St. Francis of Assisi (C.1182-1226) The son of a wealthy merchant, Francis lived a life of wealth and leisure in his youth. Witty, gallant and adventure-seeking Francis joined a military expedition around the age of 20. After fighting in a battle Francis was captured and imprisoned for ransom, spending nearly a year in captivity.  Subsequently an illness caused him to rethink his life. His interesting biography is one of a profound conversion experience that inspired him to renounce his inheritance and dedicate his life to imitate the life of Jesus Christ. Francis experienced visions and received the stigmata, the wounds of Christ in his flesh. It was Francis who began the tradition of setting up a nativity scene to celebrate Christmas. 

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