Francis of Assisi (1182-1226) is a much appreciated saint both in the Christian and in the non-Christian tradition. Is this appreciation based on what Francis was really concerned about? When Francis spoke about ‘the world’, he often meant a reality he wanted to distance himself from: busy occupations that demand much attention and energy but are not worth it. He renounced riches and positions that cover up the vulnerable side of life. In order to leave this threatening world, Francis did not join a monastery. He also did not become a hermit. He broke with his family and especially with the cloth trade of his father. He remained in Assisi and kept in contact with his familiar surroundings. This choice seems simple and clear but it was not. For Francis and his first brothers it was a process of searching, failing and gradually discovering. They learned that their choice did not concern the circumstances, but rather their own way of looking at reality. ‘Leaving the world’ had everything to do with a religious vision of reality and how to deal with it. Their question was: what does truly contribute to life? Francis and his first brothers have described their way ‘into the land of the living’ in their Rule (1223). Sigismund Verheij has liberated this centuries-old document from the ambiance of pious texts and uncovered and actualized the original, evangelical form of life.