Francis quit school at 14 and began to party and drink every day. His father was desperate for his son to enter the family business, but Francis wanted to be a knight to gain glory and renoun. It was because of this that he enlisted in the army c. 1202.
During the war he was held as a prisoner for a year. It is during this time, that he claimed to have visions from God. When he returned to his hometown, he was severely ill and had a new outlook on life. On his way out of town he encountered a leper; on any other occasion he would have run, but then, he hugged the man and blessed him.
After his encounter with the leper, Francis lived his life in extreme poverty and dedicated his life to God. He spent time in monasteries studying, and preaching to anyone that would listen. It is said that when he preached in the forests, birds and other woodland creatures would stop and listen.