Francis of Assisi: His Life, Vision and Companions (Medieval Lives) (Hardcover)

Francis of Assisi: His Life, Vision and Companions (Medieval Lives) By Michael F. Cusato Cover Image

Francis of Assisi: His Life, Vision and Companions (Medieval Lives) (Hardcover)


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An accessible introduction to the life of this most-venerated saint.
This book is an accessible biography of Francis of Assisi, founder of the Franciscan religious order and one of the most venerated figures in Christianity. In it, Michael F. Cusato explores how Francis and his early brothers embraced a life of poverty in solidarity with the lowest ranks of society, preaching a message of justice and dignity for all. He examines how and why Francis’s vision ultimately expanded to embrace non-Christians and Muslims in particular following Francis’s celebrated encounter with the Sultan al-Malik al-Kamil in 1219. Finally, Cusato considers the clash between Francis and newer members of his Order, his reception of the stigmata, and his final years defending his vision among his own brothers, all while living as an exemplar of the gospel life.
Michael F. Cusato is a Franciscan friar and scholar-in-residence at St. Bonaventure University. He has published widely on the history of the Franciscan order during the Middle Ages.
Product Details ISBN: 9781789147834
ISBN-10: 1789147832
Publisher: Reaktion Books
Publication Date: July 13th, 2023
Pages: 224
Language: English
Series: Medieval Lives
“This is a refreshing contribution to the literature on St. Francis of Assisi. Michael F. Cusato brings Francis and his friends to life in an account relying both closely and realistically on the surviving early evidence . . . This attractive telling of his life brings Francis’s companions into the foreground alongside him, and the use of quotation helps to bring the sources into close-up view. The very readable account is also well illustrated, mainly in color, adding visual sources to the verbal ones.”
— Church Times

“For those in pursuit of a fresh, brief and (not least) beautifully illustrated account of one of the most inspirational figures in Christian history, this is a thought-provoking and in many ways a richly rewarding book.”
— The Tablet

“Its originality consists in approaching the life and charism of Francis within the vision developed by Francis and his earliest friars in order to generate a spirit of both personal (individual) and societal renewal through the values of the gospel.”
— Olean Times Herald

"Cusato is at his strongest in close readings, particularly about penitence and its meaning for Francis and his companions: penance is a way of life cognizant of and demonstrating the unity of God’s creation in society and the natural world."
— Choice

"With this volume, Cusato has succeeded in showing us once more his passion for the Order’s tradition, spirituality and history, while intertwining historical sources, hagiography and scientific honesty in a smooth writing style. His insights into the development of the early concept of minoritas are indeed a precious re-reading, and his interesting interpretation of early Franciscan writings and sources truly emanates his zeal to 'decipher' Francis’s soul and contemplative dynamic. This contribution to discussions on Franciscan theology and spirituality reaffirms the vigor and freshness of Francis’s message in our time, so different yet equally challenging."
— Fr. Massimo Fusarelli, Minister General of the Order of Friars Minor

"Cusato is the most accomplished historian of the early Minorite Movement working today. In his engaging historical narrative, he brings together the insights garnered from his many years of meticulous research and publications on the origins and development of the Lesser Brothers and Sisters in the context of their appearance in Umbria in the late twelfth and early thirteenth centuries. Francis of Assisi: His Life, Vision and Companions sets the standard for any future work on Francis and Clare and the Minorite movement."
— Michael W. Blastic, Franciscan School of Theology at the University of San Diego

"This biography of Francis of Assisi presents a comprehensive account of the saint, who revitalized the Church and inspired a new type of religious order. Cusato combines current research into the life of the Poor Man of Assisi with his own rich reflections and insights."
— Michael J. P. Robson, editor of 'The Cambridge Companion to Francis of Assisi'

"Richly researched and enjoyable to read, this biography of St Francis of Assisi is unique in its accentuation of not only the personal religious charism of the Poor Man of Assisi – which gave birth to both the Friars Minor and Poor Clares – but the collective nature of the evangelical project that he developed throughout his lifetime in close association with his earliest companions. This emphasis on the 'shared leadership' of Francis, and the excellent knowledge that Cusato has of Franciscan sources and recent scholarship in the field, makes the volume a valuable contribution to contemporary interpretations of the Franciscan vision."
— André Vauchez, Université Paris Nanterre