Many of the most influential men and women in history possessed great political power and were leaders with intense determination. They were going to change the world whether anyone else liked it or not.
Based on this historical reality, St. Francis of Assisi shouldn’t have had any impact on the world.
While he was born into a rich merchant family, upon his conversion to a Gospel way of living, Francis renounced his family and became a poor man with no possessions. He had nothing and was destined to rot as a beggar on the side of the road.
Yet there was something different about Francis.
He was poor, but he was also joyful. He had no possessions, and yet he lived as if he had everything.
Quickly his radical way of life attracted other followers, who similarly gave away their possessions to become beggars. The initial band of 12 brothers went to Rome for approval from the pope, but then afterwards returned and primarily spent their days in the central Italian countryside, covering a radius of a dozen miles.