Saint Francis of Assisi is the patron of peace, ecology, animals, Italy, merchants, the Franciscan Order, and families. He had a conversion experience while serving as a prisoner of war in Italy. After the war he devoted himself to begging and preaching peace and purity. By 1209 St. Francis of Assisi attracted followers and therefore founded the Franciscan Order. Furthermore, he is remembered for having written songs and hymns to God about nature, cared for lepers, lived with animals, and cleaned churches. Two years before Saint Francis of Assisi died he received the stigmata. St. Francis of Assisi's feast day is October 4th.