What Did St Francis Give Up to Follow the Life of Jesus?

St. Francis of Assisi is one of the most beloved figures in Christian history. His life was marked by a radical dedication to living out the teachings of Jesus Christ in a way that few others have ever matched.

But what did St. Francis give up to follow this path? In this article, we’ll explore the sacrifices that St. Francis made in his quest to live a life of poverty, humility, and service.

The Early Years

St. Francis was born in Assisi, Italy, in 1181 or 1182. He was the son of a wealthy cloth merchant and grew up with all the advantages that money could buy. As a young man, he dreamed of becoming a knight and living a life of adventure and glory.

But all that changed when he had a vision of Jesus Christ while fighting in a local war. From that moment on, St. Francis felt called to live a life of poverty and service to others.

The Decision to Embrace Poverty

One of the most well-known stories about St. Francis is his decision to renounce his family’s wealth and embrace poverty instead. According to legend, St. Francis was praying in the dilapidated chapel of San Damiano when he heard Christ speak to him from the crucifix: “Francis, go and repair my house which, as you can see, is falling into ruin.”

St. Francis took this command literally and began repairing not just San Damiano but other local churches as well – all without any money or resources at his disposal.

In order to finance his work, St. Francis began begging for food and supplies from local townspeople. He also wore old ragged clothing and slept on bare floors or outside under trees.

The Vow of Chastity

Another aspect of St. Francis’ commitment to following Jesus was his vow of chastity. He believed that sexual desire was a distraction from spiritual pursuits and chose to abstain from sex altogether.

This was not an easy decision for St. Francis, who had previously lived a life of pleasure-seeking before his conversion. But he felt that this sacrifice was necessary in order to fully dedicate himself to serving God.

The Legacy of St. Francis

St. Francis’ radical commitment to poverty, humility, and service inspired countless others to follow in his footsteps. Today, the Franciscan order is one of the largest and most influential religious orders in the world.

But St. Francis’ legacy goes far beyond just the Franciscans. His teachings on poverty and simplicity have influenced Christians of all denominations, as well as people of other faiths and non-believers.


In conclusion, St. Francis gave up a great deal in order to follow the life of Jesus Christ. He renounced his family’s wealth, took a vow of chastity, and embraced a life of poverty and service to others. But his sacrifices were not made in vain – they continue to inspire people around the world today to live lives dedicated to love, compassion, and selflessness.