Friday, September 29, 2017

Discover The Franciscan Saints



St. Francis’ feast day is October 4th which makes this time of year perfect for reading about St. Francis and other saints who have followed in his footsteps. Robert Ellsberg makes learning about these holy people easy in his latest offering, The Franciscan Saints (Franciscan Media). 

Ellsberg points out that St. Francis is immensely popular, “honored in every land, even by the secular-minded and people of other faiths.” He begins with a short biography of this founder of the Franciscan Order who was known for his authenticity and putting the Gospel into practice. 

He then goes on to tell about the lives of over a hundred Franciscans, “many, but not all, drawn from the long list of official Franciscan saints.” Over the past 800 years, these individuals have shared an “evangelical zeal, humility and simplicity of life, closeness to the poor, a spirit of prayer, and a certain freedom from the cares of a world preoccupied with greatness, power, and grandiose ambitions.” With the exception of St. Clare, St. Francis’ close friend and one of his earliest followers, whose biography immediately follows his, the saints are listed by chronological order by date of death. 

On these pages, one will find many well-known Franciscans such as St. Anthony, St. Bonaventure, St. Thomas More, St. Maximilian Kolbe, and St. Padre Pio. Many lesser known saints are also included as well, such as Blessed Jacopone of Todi who wrote the Stabat Mater, St. Leonard of Port Maurice who popularized the Stations of the Cross, and Servant of God Thea Bowman who strongly promoted African-American Catholicism. Those profiled are from different walks of life but each provides a model of holiness. 

Ellsberg writes in an accessible style which is easy-to-understand and enjoyable to read. Each short biography ends with a quote either by or about the holy person. These quotes are well-worth some time of reflection.

The Franciscan Saints would be an inspirational gift for any Franciscans you might know or anyone who is interested in saints. It is perfect for reading a saint each day. 

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