Saint Francis exuded a spirit of freedom and joy. People wanted to be near him, to discover for themselves the secret of his joy. As Thomas of Celano, his ﬁrst biographer, described him, “O how beautiful, how splendid, how glorious did he appear in the innocence of his life, in the simplicity of his words, in the purity of his heart, his love for God, in his fraternal charity, in his ardent obedience, in his peaceful submission, in his angelic countenance!”
Here was a man who had evidently discovered the way to heaven. Others were eager to follow.
Robert Ellsberg, author of The Franciscan Saints, talks about his own discovery of Saint Francis—and the effect the poor man of Assisi has had on his life.