Saint Francis seems to be a model of holiness for many, many people. Protestants of all flavors, the Muslims and Jews honor dear Francis for a variety of reasons. They've met Francis in as many ways as I have.
This morning I am pondering why I love Francis. Preparing for my reception of the sacrament of Confirmation I chose as my "confirmation name" Francis of Assisi because he not only seemed to reasonable guide for life, especially the spiritual life, but I was drawn to him through the stained glass in the parish church, the secular Franciscans were present but more important, the narrative of Saint Francis' life was verifiably compelling.
Over time I've come to know Francis as not only poor, humble, loving, faithful, guru of the human condition but also that he preached what he received from the Lord Himself: the mercy of Christ crucified is real, the truth of faith, hope and love in Christ is the path to salvation, that he preached the reality of knowing who in fact God is (that is, Father, Son, Holy Spirit) and not what he thought, guessed about God. Saint Francis emblematic of the Catholic second chance, that is, one can be given another chance for happiness. So, the real Saint Francis is not the personage hijacked by the lefty-looines who use him to justify all sort of liberalities of theology, Liturgy, social concern and life in the public order. Francis is not the stereotypical garden statue nor is he a man unconcerned with true conversion of life. He's quite the opposite: he life was a life in Christ firmly rooted in the Mystical Body of Christ --the Church-- nourished by the sacraments, most especially the Holy Eucharist.
Friar Charles, OFMCap had this to say about Saint Francis.