This is an uncensored portrait of St. Francis of Assisi - Catholicism's most popular and least understood saint.Francis of Assisi is Catholicism's most popular, and most controversial, saint. His name and example is summoned and claimed by a host of spiritual pilgrims. Yet, the complexity of who he was, what he believed, and the way he expressed his faith has been misunderstood for centuries, ever since many crucial documents were ordered destroyed by Pope Gregory IX, who rushed to canonize St. Francis only two years after his death in 1226."Of the books about Saint Francis there is no end," one writer noted, which is true enough. But existing biographies of St. Francis generally follow the same script, following the Catholic tradition of the official "legends" (biographies). But that tradition has been censored, shaped, glossed and manipulated by the Church over the centuries - as recently as 2005, when Pope Benedict XVI issued a judgment rendering stricter Vatican control over access to Francis' holy sites. Francis himself would have despised the bowdlerized version of his life as handed down within the Catholic Church.
When his life was nearing its end and rumours of canonization were afoot, he told his brothers: "Don't be too quick to canonize me. I am perfectly capable of fathering a child." Indeed, St. Francis' early life was defined by his profligacy; all who knew him recalled his teenage years as a young stallion roaming the streets at night, leading the pack of Assisi's wild youth in parties and song.This book goes to the heart of an examination of "the real Francis" by scrutinizing the traditional legends and other early sources; winnowing through inconsistencies and internal contradictions; and emerging with a cogent poignant picture of saint who was in every way also a real man. Most notably, Murray reveals for the first time the crucial role that Clare of Assisi played in the life and theology of St. Francis, a subject that is taboo within the Catholic Church. Clare's profound influence upon the formation of Francis' spirituality has been generally overlooked and neglected in deference to the widely-accepted assumption that it was Francis who nurtured Clare's spiritual vision. Murray shows it is impossible to understand St.
Francis without also understanding his improbable and explosive relationship with Clare.Based on extensive research in Italy and interviews with scores of Franciscan scholars, friars, and sisters, "A Mended and Broken Heart" offers a profoundly humane portrait of this misunderstood saint - and makes a powerful case that his life and thought make him a role model not only for Catholics, but for all religious seekers.
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Author Biography - Wendy Murray
Wendy Murray is an accomplished scholar of theology, and was also ordained to the Christian ministry in 1986. She is the author of eight previous books, and has worked as a journalist for Time magazine and Christianity Today. She lives in North Boston.