St. Francis - he always seemed to be around when I was growing up. I had a St. Francis nightlight of glowing yellow translucent porcelain. A two foot tall concrete statue of him lived in the garden. He was over our big console TV, as a cross stitch on burlap or something - some coarse material. It was made in the 70s. In that image, St. Francis was walking outside and had a bird in his hand. I remember, too, a rabbit, another bird flying, and a butterfly. The stitching was sparse but there he was.
So he was around - the image and idea of him anyhow. But who was he, to me, growing up? Of all the characters of Christian pantheon - and I heard about plenty, having been raised Roman Catholic - he seemed to be the least mythic and the most human. He was a simple and gentle man, a monk, who loved nature and walked amongst the animals and saw the Divine in all things.