The Franciscan order of monks was founded by Saint Francis. Saint Francis was born in the year 1182 to a wealthy family. This was right after the first two crusades. He had a very carefree manner throughout his lifetime.
He eventually joined the military and during his time there he was taken as a prisoner. Many people believe this is where he was converted to Christ. He managed to go back home but still had a very carefree character. This is one reason we cannot be sure he was converted during his imprisonment.
A year later Francis became very ill. And, when he rejoined the army in 1204 he had a vision that led him to return to Assisi and learn more about Christianity. He spent a lot of time alone asking God for wisdom and direction. His family was unhappy with his decision but Francis renounced his father and continued on. He preached repentance to many people. His followers were called the Franciscan monks.
Francis was known for his love of nature. It is said that he even would preach to the birds. Today we have veterinarians that work in places called Saint Francis of Assisi. They would have named their storefronts this for their similar love to animals that Saint Francis had.
Saint Francis a few years before his death claimed that he had wounds like Christ did on his hands. He also became blind in the year 1224. In the year 1226 he died singing Psalms 142.