Francis of Assisi was an idealist who stripped naked in a town square to disavow his father. He was a bird-lover and an anarchist: “If we had any possessions,” he said, “we should need weapons and laws to defend them.” Wearing rope for a belt was his idea. He called his illnesses “sister” and apologized to the cat.
So congenial was Saint Francis that once, in the early 13th century, he came across a castle lit up for a party, wandered inside, and left being gifted a mountain in Tuscany. It was on that mountain, under a cloud of angels in great pain, that he received the stigmata. Francis didn’t tell anyone, just silently bled for years from his hands and feet. “He took the queerest and most zigzag short cuts through the wood,” G.K. Chesteron once wrote of him, “but he was always going home.”