In the thirteenth century the religious movement that Francis of Assisi inspired emphasized minority, poverty, penitence, and work with the poor and marginalized. It began as a lay movement, and Francis called himself a “Lesser Brother,” never intending to become a priest in the Church. In the plan of God, Francis became an instrument to revitalize Christianity in the Middle Ages, inspiring men and women, clerics and laity, single and married, wealthy and poor. Francis, by his example and preaching, invited everyone to respond to God’s universal call to holiness by embracing a penitential life focused on living the Gospel.
—from the book Franciscan Field Guide: People, Places, Practices, and Prayers
by Sister Rosemary Stets, OSF