Perhaps more than any other figure in Christian history, Saint Francis of Assisi has captured our imagination, for his is a story of extreme self-sacrifice, of love to God and man. How could this wealthy, handsome youth cast away all the advantages that were his by birth and choose instead a career of poverty and humility? How could he attract members of all strata of society to his mission? And how, when his order became established throughout Europe, could he renounce great personal power and humbly continue his life’s work?
Here is Francis, from his twelfth-century boyhood to his life as a missionary roaming the very boundaries of the known world. Here too are the men and women who followed him – Bernard de Quintavalle, the rich businessman; Peter Cathanii, the lawyer; Brother Giles, the farmer’s son; Lady Clare; and so many others – all drawn together by the personal magnetism and humble faith of their leader, all re-created by bestselling novelist Elizabeth Goudge against a rich medieval canvas.
Of Saint Francis, Goudge writes:
It is as a Christian that he matters to us, as a humble, poor man who set himself to tread as closely as he could in the footsteps of Christ, perhaps as closely as any man has ever done, and by so doing he shames us. Looking at him we see what it means to be a Christian and what it costs. His story is not only endearing, it is terrifying. Yet without the fear and shame he would not have so much power over us, for we know in our hearts that what is worth having costs everything. And so his power lives on and we cannot measure it because it is nowhere near its end.
When I saw this book was about St. Francis of Assisi I immediately wanted to read it. I was not disappointed. Ms. Goudge writes with incredible skill and her words pull you into the story. I enjoyed learning more of this great man and his amazing story!