Luchesio and Buonadonna Modestini wanted to follow St. Francis as a married couple. Thus they set in motion the Franciscan Third Order.
Luchesio and Buonadonna lived in Poggibonzi where he was a greedy merchant. Meeting Francis, probably in 1213, changed his life. He began to perform many works of charity.
At first Buonadonna was not as enthusiastic about giving so much away as Luchesio was. One day after complaining that he was giving everything to strangers, Buonadonna answered the door only to find someone else needing help. Luchesio asked her to give the poor man some bread. She frowned but went to the pantry anyway. There she discovered more bread than had been there the last time she looked. She soon became as zealous for a poor and simple life as Luchesio was. They sold the business, farmed enough land to provide for their needs and distributed the rest to the poor.
In the 13th century some couples, by mutual consent and with the Church's permission, separated so that the husband could join a monastery (or a group such as Francis began) and his wife could go to a cloister. Conrad of Piacenza and his wife did just that. This choice existed for childless couples or for those whose children had already grown up. Luchesio and Buonadonna wanted another alternative, a way of sharing in religious life, but outside the cloister.
Saint Francis then explained to them his plans for the establishment of an Order for lay people; and Luchesio and Buonadonna asked to be received into it at once. Thus, according to tradition, they became the first members of the Order of Penance, which later came to be called the Third Order. Francis wrote a simple Rule for the Third Order (Secular) Franciscans at first; Pope Honorius III approved a more formally worded Rule, prepared with the help of Cardinal Ugolino, in 1221.
The charity of Luchesio drew the poor to him, and, like many other saints, he and Buonadonna seemed never to lack the resources to help these people.
One day Luchesio was carrying a crippled man he had found on the road. A frivolous young man came up and asked, "What poor devil is that you are carrying there on your back?" "I am carrying my Lord Jesus Christ," responded Luchesio. The young man immediately begged Luchesio's pardon.Luchesio and Buonadonna both died on April 28, 1260. When he lay very ill, and there was no hope for his recovery, his wife said to him, "Implore God, who gave us to each other as companions in life, to permit us also to die together." Luchesio prayed as requested. and Buonadonna fell ill with a fever, from which she died even before her husband, after devoutly receiving the holy sacraments.