New Books on St. Francis and St. Clare
About "St. Francis of Assisi":
All Christians know his name. Few truly know the man.
Francis of Assisi was not even five feet tall. He was not well educated. And yet he is the one saint commonly recognized as Alter Christus, the “other Christ.” Francis is not just any saint -- he’s a saint for everyone, whatever your place or position in life. But do we really know him?
Who was this man at his core? What was it that thrust this little man from a little town to the heights of sanctity, into a place of high honor among the celestial court?
In this riveting biography, author Bret Thoman accomplishes what few biographers have. He pierces the inner life of Francis, revealing his deepest passions, his unquenchable love for poverty, and his unshakable grip on the core of the Gospel. The life of Francis, so often festooned with spectacle and miracle, is in reality the story of a soul yearning for God in every moment and glimpsing His presence in all creation.
Journey back in time on a literary pilgrimage in the footsteps of a flesh-and-blood Francis Bernardone as the sights and sounds of the 13th-century come alive. Discover Assisi’s cathedral and the bishop’s palace; San Damiano, the Portiuncula, and the other churches Francis rebuilt; the leper hospitals where his penance began. Travel beyond Assisi to Greccio, the Carceri, and the other mountain hermitages where he prayed and fasted. Go to the Lateran palace where Francis met the stately pontiff who granted approval for his way of life. Journey also to Laverna where he received the stigmata.
Above all, however, walk with Francis as he makes his most important pilgrimage: the interior one as he moves from war to freedom in his own heart. After a lifetime embracing poverty, practicing penance, serving poor lepers, praying and fasting, and living the sacraments, Francis confronted the Islamic Sultan and the violent Crusades in the Holy Land not with the sword, but with the cross of Christ.
If you want to see the hidden life of the greatest saint, if you want to hear his thoughts, if you want to feel the fervor that blazed within his soul, you must read St. Francis of Assisi: Passion, Poverty, and the Man who Transformed the Catholic Church.
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About "St. Clare of Assisi":
Just as with his stirring narrative of the life of St. Francis, "St. Francis of Assisi: Passion, Poverty & the Man Who Transformed the Church," author Bret Thoman draws upon his profound knowledge of original sources, his familiarity with the places where these two great founders lived and breathed and changed the world, and his own Franciscan spirituality, to bring to life, like never before, the story of St. Clare of Assisi.
Join Thoman as he skillfully weaves the known facts of Clare’s life with imaginative passages that bring the reader into the profoundly spiritual world of the “Light from the Cloister.” Hailing from an aristocratic or “Major” family, Clare continually -- in imitation of Our Lord and Francis -- sought to make herself lesser or minor. In the process, in another of God’s “divine paradoxes,” she became a giant, not only of her Age, but of all time.
Tenaciously attached to poverty, she became rich as only the saints are; docile and obedient, she stood up to her aristocratic family and, later, princes of the Church in following the path upon which God had set her; frail and vulnerable, she caused Saracen invaders to turn tail and run . . . merely by prostrating herself before the Blessed Sacrament; and though not learned in either theology or canon law, she became the first woman to write a Rule for a new religious community.
St. Clare truly was a “light from the cloister” not only for her era but for all time. Meet her as never before in these pages and, in what is sure to be a profoundly spiritual reading experience, let her light shine upon you.
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"Something new and fresh about St. Francis. … Rich in original and distinctive insights which are useful for today.” Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, OFM.Cap., Preacher to the Papal Household since 1980 under Popes John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and Francis
"… No ordinary biography about the ‘poor man of Assisi’ … a spiritual odyssey in the footsteps of Francis … a deeper understanding of the saint … experience the sights and sounds of Assisi as it was in Francis’ day… well- researched, easy to read, and presented with the affection of a true son of Francis.” Bishop Gregory J. Hartmayer, OFM Conv.
"Discover the life of the Seraphic Saint as one from among us. [This book] should not be missed.” Tibor Kauser, OFS -- International General Minister for the Secular Franciscan Order
"A flesh-and-blood Francis Bernardone … a vivid picture of the milieu in which he lived…” Fr. Murray Bodo, OFM
"A literary pilgrimage through the life of one of the world’s best-loved saints. … Francis of Assisi comes alive in these pages… Read this book!” Fr. Albert Haase, OFM
"A wonderful book in so many ways … A flesh and blood Francis … historically informative and spiritually evocative … details of Francis’s life and journey not found in other biographies… I highly recommend this book …” Sr. Ilia Delio, OSF
“… Leads the reader through the life and times of Francis of Assisi and his early followers with skill and creativity … You won’t be disappointed in reading this book.” Fr. Daniel P. Horan, OFM
“A lovely new book about St. Clare … new and useful information about St. Clare … enter into Clare’s life … beautifully render[s] the relationship between Francis and Clare, Clare and her sisters, and Clare and God (Christ). … a good old-fashioned well-made story of a love driven by profound contemplation of the Poor Christ of the Gospel.” Fr. Murray Bodo, OFM
“What the historian cannot do, the writer, the poet, the man of letters can do. With that special empathy that is characteristic of their art, can give voice to subjects from the past and listen to the answers that the historian cannot hear. This is what Bret Thoman does in his new book. He knows how to give a voice to characters who lived far away in space and long ago in time. In his pages, ladies, knights, and saints return to speak, to express their feelings, and dialogue with men and women of today. In these pages, he gives new voice to Clare of Assisi and to the other women who chose to live with her next to the small church of San Damiano in Assisi. His work is poetic, literary, even spiritual; yet, it is also based on serious historical investigation. Thank you, Bret, for allowing us to relive the human adventure of a woman, to whom all women -- and with them all men -- owe much. I thank him because he shows us how much we owe to Clare of Assisi.” Marco Bartoli, Author of “Clare of Assisi”, Professor of Medieval History, Rome
“Bret Thoman provides us with an understanding of Clare of Assisi that is rich in historical context, wide in the hidden details of her life and deep in the unique spirituality of Clare. Thoman is a gifted Franciscan author who brings Clare to life in a way unprecedented in other Franciscan writings. This book is a treasure and, like his book on Saint Francis, will become a classic in the area of Franciscan studies. For those who want to know Clare of Assisi in the many dimensions of her life, this book is essential.” Sr. Ilia Delio, OSF
“Bret Thoman, OFS’s new book on St. Clare is a lovely, simple and intelligent book on a lovely, simple and intelligent woman. I am sure it will help our secular Franciscan sisters and brothers (as also all those without a Franciscan background) quite a lot to understand the life and spirituality of St. Clare.” Tibor Kauser, OFS, Minister General of the Secular Franciscan Order
“Bret Thoman has a great gift for storytelling. ... descriptive language that invites the reader into the scenes by his terrific style of narrative. As I read it, I was impressed with his weaving of historical facts and the writings of Francis and Clare into the story. ... his writing allows the reader to feel Clare’s authentic human emotions. This book inspires!” Sr. Ramona Miller, OSF
“Bret Thoman’s new book on St. Clare is just great. I learned so much about the time and people. I feel he pulled together in a compelling way her life in one book, and captured and summarized St. Clare’s spirituality so well... Great job!” Sr. Bernadette Marie Cappola, OSC
“Excellent! Rich! Beautifully written. Bret Thoman’s new book brings Clare to life as a very human woman, totally committed to God, the Gospel and a new expression of Gospel living in the society of her time. Bret includes historical information not always identified in writings about Clare. The story is also enhanced by some wonderfully creative reflections.” Sr. Kathy Warren, OSF