Thursday, June 24, 2010

Francesco Bernardone, who we call in English Saint Francis of Assisi was named after France because that's where his father, Peter Bernardone, a cloth merchant, made money. His father was all about making money.

His father was away on a months long business trip in France when the future Saint Francis was born. His mother name him after John the Baptist, who announced and baptized Jesus and lived in the desert and preached and ate honey and locusts, dirt-poor, sand-poor and into it.

When Dad got home and found that his son was named after a man who was poor and who liked being poor as a necessary basis for his career, he was furious. He couldn't change the name the child had been baptized with, but he insisted that he be called Francesco, which was an unusual name that meant Frenchman, or affectionate nickname for Frenchman.

People in that time and place knew that names predicted and affecte what a person became. The baby's father wanted him to plunge into the market. But he plunged into poverty and preaching like John the Baptist, although he seemed cheerier

--information from "Reluctant Saint: The Life of Francis of Assisi"