Francis of Assisi was canonized a saint by Pope Gregory the IX in 1228. Born the son of a wealthy merchant, Francis spent his youth in excess. While chasing glory during a battle, Francis was captured and imprisoned for ransom. During his imprisonment, Francis began seeing visions from God. After his release, Francis was called by God telling him to give up his life of luxury and to devote himself to rebuilding the Christian church in a life of poverty. Francis was the first saint to reportedly be left with the stigmata of Christ, and his deep love of nature lead him to be known as the patron saint of animals and the environment.
St. Francis High School in Sacramento is home to Adan Romo’s “St. Francis of Assisi” sculpture. Romo’s depiction of the saint greets visitors to the Catholic college prep-school. In his statue, St. Francis is wearing the humble garments that he choose in his later life, after the saint turned away from the luxury and wealth of his youth. “St. Francis of Assisi” stands with his arms open in a gesture of welcome and embrace and in a representation of the school’s motto: Pax et Bonum, or Peace and Goodness.