Omer Englebert was born in Belgium in 1893 and died in Jerusalem in 1991. He entered the Order of Friars Minor in 1909 and was ordained a priest in 1924. A few years later he left the order to become a member of the diocesan clergy. He was a historian as well as a spiritual master and he sought to combine the best of the scholarship of his day with the spiritual and societal influences that formed St. Francis of Assisi. He succeeded in producing a classic story of the life of this well-loved saint.
St. Francis of Assisi: A Biographyby Omer Englebert
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St. Francis of Assisi is one of the best-known and best-loved of all the saints. This classic work puts the him in the context of his historical setting and his spiritual influences. Inspired by a deep and simple love, Francis abandoned his fortune and chose to live simply. His love for Jesus Christ, his love for animals, and his love for nature continue to inspire many to this day.
This version has been redesigned for a modern audience who wish to continue to connect to this simple man of Assisi.
- Franciscan Media
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A book that is through the story of St Francis a guide to holiness
Accidental misadventures Fr. Omer Englebert's biography of St. Francis was published in 1947, and has been translated and revised several times over the years. Though Englebert's work is a classic, it's new to me. I've read a number of biographies of Francis, and always find something fresh even though the authors use the same primary sources. That may have as much to do with my perspective at the moment as with each biographer's style and choice of theme. The parts that struck me in Englebert's 2013 edition depict the adventures of Francis's early followers. They certainly didn’t go looking for trouble, but they always tried to figure out how to deal with it; for example, in 1217 when they undertook a mission to Syria. On arrival, they were “cruelly treated,” having been mistaken for charlatans intent on exploitation. They were driven into the countryside where “farmers set their dogs on them, and herdsmen chased them, jabbing them in the back with their pointed sticks.” The friars got away but only after giving up their clothing to the attackers. “Understandably,” the authors write, “all were in a hurry to leave this inhospitable country.” There follows a story of miscommunication in Germany where the friars secured food by answering “Ja” when asked if they were hungry, but discovered “Ja” was not the best response when asked if they were “those cursed heretics who...had come now to infect Germany.” Many other personal stories of the friars point out their uncomplicated ways of living for Christ and adhering to the examples set by their leader, sometimes to such an extreme they had to be reined in.