FRANCIS OF ASSISI                                    AUGUSTINE THOMPSON
Posted: Sept. 25, 2013

13252139 Among the most beloved saints in the Catholic tradition, Francis of Assisi (c. 1181 1226) is popularly remembered for his dedication to poverty, his love of animals and nature, and his desire to follow perfectly the teachings and example of Christ. During his lifetime and after his death, followers collected, for their own purposes, numerous stories, anecdotes, and reports about Francis. As a result, the man himself and his own concerns became lost in legend.

In this authoritative and engaging new biography, Augustine Thompson, O.P., sifts through the surviving evidence for the life of Francis using modern historical methods. The result is a complex yet sympathetic portrait of the man and the saint. Francis emerges from this account as very much a typical thirteenth-century Italian layman, but one who, when faced with unexpected crises in his personal life, made decisions so radical that they challenge his own society and ours. Unlike the saint of legend, this Francis never had a unique divine inspiration to provide him with rules for following the teachings of Jesus. Rather, he spent his life reacting to unexpected challenges, before which he often found himself unprepared and uncertain. The Francis who emerges here is both more complex and more conflicted than that of older biographies. His famed devotion to poverty is found to be more nuanced than expected, perhaps not even his principal spiritual concern. Thompson revisits events small and large in Francis's life, including his troubled relations with his father, his contacts with Clare of Assisi, his encounter with the Muslim sultan, and his receiving the Stigmata, to uncover the man behind the legends and popular images.

A tour de force of historical research and biographical writing, Francis of Assisi: A New Biography is divided into two complementary parts a stand alone biographical narrative and a close, annotated examination of the historical sources about Francis. Taken together, the narrative and the survey of the sources provide a much-needed fresh perspective on this iconic figure. "As I have worked on this biography," Thompson writes, "my respect for Francis and his vision has increased, and I hope that this book will speak to modern people, believers and unbelievers alike, and that the Francis I have come to know will have something to say to them today."


I have read other books about ST. FRANCIS, but this book made him more as a person and some one that was easier to relate to. There are parts of the story that are the same as in other books but this one goes into a little more detail. As to why he was depressed and what lead up to it. A lot of research went into this book and for me it was welcomed. Not the same story just retold. You find out that he had a time where he was parting and drinking coming home late. That it was not just being in prison for a year after a battle that he fought in but the sheer horror of that battle and being left on the field after wards with just a few friends left really had an effect on him. It was like he had P.T.S.D. When he finally did get home he did not anything to do with his former life and looked for a new life. That is when his service. Actually his study of the Gospels and of John mostly. Where he speaks Christ dying on the cross is the most important part and to live in reverence of the cross. When he began going to church he started noticing how many crucifixes needed repairing and the churches as well. He began fixing and cleaning. People started hearing about him and wanted to follow him. He told them they must give up all things, some did some did not. One thing that got me was how he got after priests about washing the linens for the altar, cleaning the chalices, wearing the proper vestments and keeping the Eucharist locked up. He also felt that priest should kneel as well as lay people. A lot of these were put into action by Pope Herodias III, this was well after St. Francis letter. Could not be proved if he read the letter or not but he is the one who granted his mission. The rest of the book was the same information. I really enjoyed this book it was a good book. I got it off of Net Galley.

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