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)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
A Mended and Broken Heart: The Life and Love of Francis of Assisiby Wendy Murray
In 1228, Pope Gregory IX rushed to canonize St. Francis only two years after his death. Soon thereafter, the/i>
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.
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.
“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.”
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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. Until recently a senior writer for Christianity Today, she has also written extensively for Books&Culture and The Christian Century, and Beliefnet. She lives in Boston, Massachusetts.
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