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Discover the story of a man who lived in the Italian town of Assisi nearly 800 years ago—and still offers inspiration to millions today. In a small town in Italy, in the late twelfth century, a wealthy silk merchant and his wife welcomed a baby boy. Their son lived a life of wealth and worldly pleasure, until he found himself called to something else—a life of service, poverty, charity, celebration, and song. This strange man defied every norm of his society, choosing instead to follow his own heart. And he changed the world. In Following Francis, Susan Pitchford tells the inspiring, surprising, and intriguing story of Francis of Assisi, the man who started the Franciscan order of the Catholic Church. Exploring both the history of the man and the history of his followers, and weaving in her personal experience as a Third Order Franciscan, Pitchford takes a close look at system of belief that is paradoxically devoted to a simple life and to open and joyful celebration, discovering along the way how all modern individuals, whether in a religious profession or not, can live a fuller life.