Reluctant Saint: The Life of Francis of Assisi

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Viking Compass, 2002 - Biography & Autobiography - 256 pages
"Don't make a saint of me," Francis of Assisi told a friend-even as his charisma and holiness were dazzling his contemporaries and generating a legend that has lasted almost a millennium. In "Reluctant Saint," Donald Spoto, author of the acclaimed "The Hidden Jesus," shows us a Saint Francis who transcends the image of Francis familiar to even the least religious among us: wealthy profligate, soldier, businessman, preacher, defender of the poor, mystic-and, later, a lodestar to ecologists and animal rights activists. Spoto's unprecedented access to unexplored archives and the saint's own unpublished letters help reveal how Francis pioneered an entirely new historical movement, one that eventually slipped from his grasp.
Spoto highlights Francis's position within the ecclesiastical, political, and social forces of medieval Italy in all its violence, color, and mystery. It was, like our own, a time of crisis with a craving for reform and for a deeper, simpler, more personal faith-yet concern for the common good, and for the poor and sick, was virtually unknown. A key part of the revolution Francis brought about was his insistence that such concern lay at the heart of the Gospel. "Reluctant Saint" portrays a life that has captured the hearts and minds of millions over the centuries.

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User Review  - Philip Tutt -

The author of this book is a professional biographer, historian, and theologian. His subjects range from the mundane (Jacqueline Onassis) to the sublime (Francis of Assisi). Before I read the book, I ... Read full review

Reluctant saint: the life of Francis of Assisi

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Spoto is a sometime teacher of theology and a biographer of Alfred Hitchcock, Lawrence Olivier, Tennessee Williams, and Ingrid Bergman. In this life of Francis of Assisi, Spoto's elegant wordsmithing ... Read full review



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About the author (2002)

Donald Spoto was born on June 28, 1941 in New Rochelle, New York. He received a B.A. from Iona College in 1963 and a M.A. and Ph.D. in theology (New Testament studies) from Fordham University in 1966 and 1970, respectively. He taught theology, Christian mysticism, and biblical literature at the university level for twenty years. He has written more than 25 biographies of film and theatre celebrities including The Art of Alfred Hitchcock, The Kindness of Strangers: The Life of Tennessee Williams, Diana: The Last Year, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis: A Life, Enchantment: The Life of Audrey Hepburn, High Society: The Life of Grace Kelly, Possessed: The Life of Joan Crawford, and The Redgraves: A Family Epic. He also wrote biographies on religious figures including The Hidden Jesus: A New Life, Reluctant Saint: The Life of Francis of Assisi, and Joan: The Mysterious Life of the Heretic Who Became a Saint.

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