Few saints in the history of the church have had such an immediate and such a lasting success as Francis of Assisi. His first two followers, Bernard of Quintavalle and Peter of Catani, joined him in 1208, yet by 1222, three, if not five, thousand men are said to have assembled together for a Convocation. And in our own time the stream of visitors to Assisi and the flood of books and articles devoted to Francis show that the appeal of il poverello has not diminished. Indeed, the current Pope took the name Francis – for he was told “don’t forget the poor” when he was elected.
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