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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.
Published: Basic Books on Jul 1, 2008
ISBN: 9780786725991
List price: $16.99
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This book offers so much in the introduction and on the cover that I was excited to see it and read the whole thing the night I got it. Unfortunately, as far as I can tell it sheds no new light on the relationship between Francis and Clare of Assisi and does not offer a scholarly edition of a biography, but a book written for those who know little or nothing about medieval monasticism. Definitions of terms such as "stigmata" are poorly handled as add-ons to the text. Some of the material, not directly related to Francis and Clare, I, as a medievalist scholar, know to be incorrect or at least stated ambiguously.I would highly recommend this book for those who do not know about Francis and Clare, or about medieval monasticism and the rise of the friars as an important force in both religion and education. For the specialist, however, it offers nothing new.read more
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Reviews

This book offers so much in the introduction and on the cover that I was excited to see it and read the whole thing the night I got it. Unfortunately, as far as I can tell it sheds no new light on the relationship between Francis and Clare of Assisi and does not offer a scholarly edition of a biography, but a book written for those who know little or nothing about medieval monasticism. Definitions of terms such as "stigmata" are poorly handled as add-ons to the text. Some of the material, not directly related to Francis and Clare, I, as a medievalist scholar, know to be incorrect or at least stated ambiguously.I would highly recommend this book for those who do not know about Francis and Clare, or about medieval monasticism and the rise of the friars as an important force in both religion and education. For the specialist, however, it offers nothing new.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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