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“A Simple Prayer” was written by St. Francis of Assisi in the twelfth century. He is the namesake of the current Pope Francis I. St. Francis' father was a prosperous silk merchant. He lived the high-spirited life typical of a wealthy young man, even fighting as a soldier for Assisi. While going off to war in 1204, Francis had a vision that directed him back to Assisi, where he lost his taste for his worldly life. On a pilgrimage to Rome, he joined the poor in begging at St. Peter's Basilica. The experience moved him to live in poverty. Francis returned home, began preaching on the streets, and soon amassed a following. The Franciscan Order was authorized by Pope Innocent III in 1210. He then founded the Order of Poor Clares. In 1223, Francis created the first Christmas manger/Nativity scene. On July 16, 1228, he was pronounced a saint by Pope Gregory IX. He is known as the patron saint of animals, the environment, and is one of only two patron saints of Italy.