A Mended and Broken Heart: The Life and Love of Francis of Assisi

Overview


Francis of Assisi is Catholicism’s most popular saint. Tens of millions of spiritual seekers summon his name and example. But the real Francis-both his complicated personality and his complex theology-have been misunderstood for centuries.

In 1228, Pope Gregory IX rushed to canonize St. Francis only two years after his death. Soon thereafter, the Church eliminated significant aspects of his biography from the public record. For Francis’s early life was defined by his ...

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A Mended and Broken Heart: The Life and Love of Francis of Assisi

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Overview


Francis of Assisi is Catholicism’s most popular saint. Tens of millions of spiritual seekers summon his name and example. But the real Francis-both his complicated personality and his complex theology-have been misunderstood for centuries.

In 1228, Pope Gregory IX rushed to canonize St. Francis only two years after his death. Soon thereafter, the Church eliminated significant aspects of his biography from the public record. For Francis’s early life was defined by his profligacy; shortly before dying, Francis himself warned his brothers: “Don’t be too quick to canonize me. I am perfectly capable of fathering a child.”

In A Mended and Broken Heart, journalist Wendy Murray slices through the bowdlerized version of Francis’s life promoted within the Catholic tradition and reveals instead a saint who was in every way also a real man. Murray stresses in particular the crucial but completely neglected role that Clare of Assisi played in Francis’s life, both pre- and postconversion, and his theology.

A profoundly humane portrait of a misunderstood saint, A Mended and Broken Heart makes a powerful case that St. Francis’s life and thought make him a role model for religious seekers of every faith.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Roanoke Times
“Wendy Murray has given us a book that can awaken depths of the spirit in both believers and nonbelievers…. Artfully and sensitively written, [the final chapter] alone is worth the price of the book.”
Publishers Weekly

Murray (The Beliefnet Guide to Evangelical Christianity) lowered herself into ancient ruins, chatted with nuns behind iron grilles and pored over documents in four languages to research and write this story of Francis of Assisi, the medieval saint whose appeal is timeless. In a work that is both scholarly and engaging, Murray retells the life of this "complicated man"-who was poet, warrior, knight, lover, madman and saint-in a way that even those familiar with Francis's story will find compelling. Of special interest is the way she handles the relationship between Francis and Clare of Assisi. Acknowledging what scholars and historians have tended to dismiss as "sentimental, modern and implausible," Murray holds that the pair's attachment was rooted in love, but that it evolved into a mutual renunciation and remained pure as they took religious vows. She also shows that the age difference between Francis and Clare may not have been great enough to support the official Catholic position that their bond was merely that of father and daughter. (July)

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Library Journal

Murray, a former senior writer for Christianity Today and author of many Christianity-related books (most as Wendy Murray Zoba), here turns to the well-trodden ground of Saint Francis of Assisi and his relationship with Saint Clare Favorone of Assisi. Most recently, this relationship was the subject of Jon M. Sweeney's Light in the Dark Ages: The Friendship of Francis and Clare of Assisi. Murray's twist is that, unlike Sweeney or St. Francis's most famous biographer, G.K. Chesterton, and the overwhelming consensus of scholarly historical opinion, she views Francis and Clare's relationship as originating in love. While some readers may find her resultant prosaic reading of the life and writings of St. Francis through this lens fresh and inspiring, others will conclude that her argument, at best, shows that this notion may be just "plausible and...warrants honest exploration." Most libraries will regard this title as optional.
—Darby Orcutt

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780465032327
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Publication date: 9/25/2012
  • Edition description: First Trade Paper Edition
  • Pages: 312
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author


Wendy Murray holds an M.A. in theology from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. She has written numerous books on Christian topics, including The Beliefnet Guide to Evangelical Christianity. Formerly a senior writer for Christianity Today, she has also written extensively for Books & Culture, The Christian Century, and Beliefnet. She is the Founder of the Assisi Workshops, an organization dedicated to facilitating the ongoing exploration of the life of Saint Francis, the Umbrian tradition of pilgrimage, and the practice of visual and literary arts. An adjunct professor of writing in the communication arts department at Gordon College, she is also the founder of Ecco Qua Press, an independent publishing company.
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Table of Contents

Author's Note ix

Preface xi

Chapter 1 Assisi's Son 1

Chapter 2 Partying and War 19

Chapter 3 Dreams and Prayers 29

Chapter 4 Light Breaks 41

Chapter 5 Endings 55

Chapter 6 Beginnings 67

Chapter 7 Reversal 81

Chapter 8 Gentle Fire 89

Chapter 9 The Round Table 99

Chapter 10 The Sultan 109

Chapter 11 Revolt 123

Chapter 12 Perfect Love 133

Chapter 13 Final Assertion 147

Chapter 14 Those He Left Behind 157

Chapter 15 Anyone's Saint 179

Acknowledgments 191

Appendix A Maps 193

Appendix B Source Material 199

Notes 209

Glossary of Terms 237

Selected Bibliography 241

Index 243

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