Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Complete Francis of Assisi: His Life, The Complete Writings and The Little Flowers by Jon Sweeney

This a first for me, a review of three books in one. I love the title becasue it gives you a preview of the three titles that Sweeney has included under one cover. The first book is "The Road to Assissi: The Essential Biography of St. Francis" by Paul Sabatier. This is the first biography I ever read about St. Francis which was given to me by a friend and I reread it for this review. The second book is "The Essential Writings of St. Francis", here you can read the actual sayings and letters of St. Francis. The third book is "The Little Flowers" by Brother Ugolino which is a book about the legends and myths of St. Francis. I find this approach of including these three books to be a very inclusive approach to give the reader a comprehensive look at who was St. Francis. Let's now take a closer look at each of these books.
The Road to Assisi to was first published in France in 1893 by French Prostentant Paul Sabbatier. More than 45 editions have been published in French alone. So it is definitely a classic. This book gives you specific historical facts with dates needed in a good biography, but there is also a reasonable flow of interesting stories. This makes this book informative and entertaining. It starts with his early life raised an aristocrat as a Bernadone in Assisi, Italy. It goes through his meeting with the Sultan, his later life receiving the stigmata and his death including his writing the Canticle of the Sun.
The Essential Writings of St Francis edited by Sweeney, the author of this compilation, give us insights into the thoughts and mind of St. Francis. He was not a scholarly man and was a man of few words. Some of his best loved writings are letters.
The Little Flowers ia a best loved Christian favorite that many have quoted from and it includes amusing anecdotes. It is interesting to hear stories that apear to have been told by his closest followers and brothers.
This is an important look at St. Francis as a whole. Sweeney has included personal comments all the way through the book. The author seems to be a modern day expert on St.Francis including this book and many others.
I would recommend this book to you but it is a rather long read taken as a whole. One thing I think that could be made more clear is the spirituality of St. Francis. I don't think this was the aim of this particular compilation but it is more of a get to know the man and his legacy book. The book gives you a thorough introduction but only an introduction that skims the surface of the impact St. Francis has made and the depts of his spirituality.

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