Francis of Assisi: A Revolutionary Lifeby Adrian House, Karen Armstrong
Pub. Date: 09/28/2003
Publisher: Paulist Press
His life (1182-1226) was rich in its succession of dramas. After his
This book is written for readers of any faith or none. Although the whole of Francis's life was based on his belief in God, he was the least dogmatic of saints, seeing himself as God's troubadour or fool. It is unnecessary to share his faith in order to appreciate his soaring achievements.
His life (1182-1226) was rich in its succession of dramas. After his debauchery as a young playboy, merchant and soldier-he fought at the Battle of Collestradahe stripped naked in court, abandoned everything he owned and devoted his life to the poorest and sick. The all-embracing relationship between him and Clare enriched each as man and woman. On his missions he walked over the Pyrenees barefoot, was shipwrecked and crossed the lines during the Fifth Crusade to parley with the sultan in Egypt. In 1224 marks similar to Christ's wounds appeared on his hands, feet and side, the first recorded case of the stigmata.
His feelings for creation, epitomized in his sermon to the birds, stimulated the realism of the Italian Renaissance artists; his vernacular poems inclined Dante to write The Divine Comedy in Italian, not Latin. The first religious order he founded, for men, had a radical effect on social justice and the developing universities in Europe; his second order, the Poor Clares, soon numbered hundreds, including royalty and half a dozen saints; his third, for laity sworn to peace, helped destroy the military power of feudalism. Men like Giotto, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Cervantes and Galileo allegedly joined the Third Order. But, above all, it is through his universal love that he has influenced the world for nearly eight centuries, drawing more than three million people every year to his tomb in Assisi.
About the Author:
Adrian House read medieval and modern history at New College, Oxford, and was for many years a publisher with William Collins (now HarperCollins) in London. He has spent four years researching and writing this book, living for six months in Assisi and visiting Franciscan sites, communities and libraries in the United States, Britain, Italy, Spain and Egypt.
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This was an amazing book both because of what an extraordinary life Francis lived and because of how thoroughly informative this book is. It leaves nothing out. It also appeared to be written in an unbiased manner by often including more than one testamony by different people for certain occurances in Francis' life. It's a bit of a difficult read because of it's high level of vocabulary. Overall this book is a must for those of you who feel the need to be inspired by a truely incredible person who perservered in any and all cases for the well being of mankind, peace, and for the fulfillment of God's will. Not to mention his love for nature and animals. If Francis were alive today he would be considered a great pacifist and environmentalist, among other things.