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Posted May 22, 2003
This book was given to us during our first year of formation in the order. After having read it, I desired even more to live the life of this man's vision. Friar or not, whoever picks up this book will be touched in some way.
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Posted May 1, 2013
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.
Posted October 13, 2009
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