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Title : The Complete Francis of Assisi: His Life, The Complete Writings, and The Little Flowers
Author :
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ISBN : 9781612616889
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 416 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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The Complete Francis of Assisi: His Life, The Complete Writings, and The Little Flowers Reviews

  • Doreen Petersen
    2019-03-14 12:22

    Received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This was a really deeply moving and informative book on St. Francis of Assisi. It was very well organized and written. For those interested in learning more about St. Francis I would definitely recommend this book.

  • Italo Italophiles
    2019-03-12 10:20

    The subtitle of this book is His Life, The Complete Writings, and The Little Flowers. This book is the ultimate St. Francis fan's collection at 400+ pages. I had been wanting to read (and re-read) all these works for quite a while but now I'm very glad I waited.The introductions and footnotes provided by the editor of this collection were wonderful and really helped me get the most out of the books, especially Sabatier's classic biography of St. Francis.The editor says that he intends this collection for two audiences:"for those who already love St. Francis and want to be in his company""also ideal for someone new to the world's most popular saint...the little poor man from Umbria"Those are lovely thoughts, and one does feel in Francis's company when reading the story of his life, and the words written by his own hand, and the charming book Fioretti/Flowers, which reads like an attempt at a Gospel of St. Francis by those who loved the man.I would add a third audience: those who are about visit Assisi, Italy, especially those who are visiting the town as a religious pilgrim. The first book in the collection is The Essential Biography of St. Francis by Frenchman Paul Sabatier, written in 1894. Necessarily, the author included much material relating to the history of the times and the church in the late middle ages when Francis lived. The editor's footnotes were very helpful in providing extra background information on these subjects for the modern reader.Sabatier's style is easy to read and his book includes all the important moments in St. Francis's life. For pilgrims to Assisi, this book will provide all the locations one would want to visit, explaining the importance of each to Assisi's most famous son.I found most interesting the parts where Sabatier explained how Francis was viewed by his contemporaries. That the man was considered a saint during his own lifetime was very impressive, and it explained why he was canonized within only two years of his death.Sabatier also offers some of his own philosophical observations, which are beautiful in their own right, such as:"The greater number of people pass through life with souls asleep. Yet the instinct for love and for the divine is only slumbering." Francis provided in his religious community a refuge for "suffering souls thirsty for the ideal". The second book is a collection of 19 writings attributed to Francis of Assisi: Francis of Assisi in His Own Words: The Essential Writings. 9 of the writings are prayers. 4 are rules for his Franciscan Order. 6 are letters Francis wrote to members of his orders (he founded 3 orders).The prayers will appeal the most to readers, I suspect, for the same reason that St. Francis appeals to so many people: their simplicity and their embodiment of Francis's heartfelt love of Christ. The message is consistent and clear: love, charity, faith, and humility.Throughout the writings one sees a real man who is fully human yet inspirational in the path he chooses and the courage he shows in following through with his desire to live a life that emulates Christ's example.The third book is a medieval collection of 53 stories about St. Francis and his followers: The Little Flowers of Saint Francis Collected by Brother Ugolino. The editor has arranged them in chronological order, and if you read them after having read the first two books in the Complete Francis of Assisi, they will be like icing on the cake.The little flowers, or sweet little stories about St. Francis, read like a Gospel of Francis, a collection of stories and parables to bring glory to the man and to show to the world his sanctity and his Christ-like nature. What comes across too, through the stories, is the love that people had for Francis during his lifetime, and that he was seen as a saint long before the church canonized him.Just a note: for modern readers, the physical abuse that Francis subjected himself to will be rightfully disturbing. Today's Catholic Church does not condone extreme behavior such as extreme fasts and flagellation. Today's emulators of Christ, and St. Francis, are along the lines as Mother Theresa of Calcutta, and others like her, who are sanctified for their good deeds, personal sacrifices, and unlimited compassion.The Complete Francis of Assisi is a wonderful book for pilgrims, and for people who wish to know more about the poor little man from Umbria who set out to live as Christ lived and ended up founding three religious orders, and inspiring so many to strive to live their lives with more love, charity, faith and humility.Please visit my full and illustrated review at Italophile Book Reviews. I received a review-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.http://italophilebookreviews.blogspot...

  • P.e. lolo
    2019-02-16 10:54

    This book is by far the most complete and comprehensive book about ST. Francis that I have read. Like the title reads it is reading three books in one, and really some of the information in this book is either not in some of the previous books I read about the Saint or you would have to purchase them separately. Plus by getting Paul Sabatier’s work that was first published in 1894 is a much added bonus and that book by itself is amazing, but you are also getting Little Flowers, and his own works which is by itself an important piece of work. So having three books in one is fabulous. This goes without saying that it is a 5 star book and for anyone who wants to learn about a Saint who did not think he was very important this is the book to start with. I got this book from netgalley. I gave it 5 stars. Follow us at

  • Mel
    2019-02-26 13:08

    It was helpful to have three books compiled into one with helpful editors notes that gave a solid overview of St. Francis, and I especially loved how the editor put The Little Flowers of St. Francis in chronological order. I found it to be a strong introduction to the life, teachings and hagiographical stories about St. Francis. I am glad that I took it as a slow read to really soak things in (and grateful that my Library let me keep re-renewing for 2 more months and 2 more months and 2 more months - ha!). Since I figure it's mostly my friends reading this, I am excited to follow up this read with a course from the Center of Action and Contemplation on "The Franciscan Way":

  • Patricia Mckenna
    2019-02-23 07:06

    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.

  • James
    2019-02-23 12:02

    Paraclete Press has a number of books on Christian Spirituality. Their Paraclete Giants series presents the complete works of various saints. I have several of these. They are affordable editions of Christian classics. The Complete Francis of Assis is an exceptional volume and a great edition to the series. the-complete-francis-of-assisi-his-life-the-complete-writings-and-the-little-flowers-6Edited, translated and introduced by Jon Sweeney (independent scholar and cultural critic, The Complete Francis of Assisi includes the complete text of Paul Sabatier's classic The Life of St. Francis of Assissi (published as The Road to Assisi with Sweeney's introduction and notes), Sweeney's edition of Francis's writings (Previously published as Francis of Assisi In His Own Words: The Essential Writings) and Sweeney's translation of The Little Flowers of S. Francis by Brother Ugolino. Of these three shorter works, Sabatier's biography was the most difficult for me to read. Sweeney calls Sabatier Francis's first modern biographer (3). He first published his Life in French in 1894. Sabatier employed the methods of textual and historical criticism and contemporary psychological insight. Yet it is still a text from a hundred years ago and reads like. Sabatier sought to be a faithful interpreter of Francis. He was a man of his times and is reticent about what legendary material he includes in his history, discounting the most fanciful tales (i.e. appearances of the devil, heavenly virgins, etc.); however he doesn't complete demythologize him either, he includes an account of Francis's stigmata. Francis's Essential Writings is of the most historical interest to me. Here is Francis in his own words--letters, prayers and monastic rules. These are important documents of the early Franciscan movement. Sweeney's introductions and comments provide context for each piece of writing.The Little Flowers is well known and well loved. What sets this edition apart from others (other than Sweeney's translation) is their arrangement. Sweeney places these stories in what he thinks is their most straightforward chronological rendering (rather than the traditional order.Anyone interested in Francis and the movement he founded will love this volume. If you do not have any Francis on your shelf, this is a good deal. I give it five stars. Note: I received this book from Paraclete Press in exchange for my honest review.

  • Barbara
    2019-02-28 11:17

    This is a good book that covers the biography, the myths and the legends about this great saint. I walk away with a better understanding of St. Francis, his times and his absolute devotion to Jesus and the Gospel and also with a deeper sense of gratitude to the Franciscan sisters who taught me in primary school and my dear cousin, who is a Franciscan brother. The world is a better place because of all the men and women who over the centuries have followed in the footsteps of the poor little man from Assisi.