He conversed with both the Pope and the sultan. He
transformed a taste for fine things and troubadour poetry into greater loves for
poverty and joyful devotion to God. He never intended to found a traditional
religious "movement," but nevertheless, he did. As he died, his brothers had to
guard him closely in fear that someone would try to snatch the body of this
living saint. Who was Francis of Assisi? Where did he come from and what can we
learn from his life?
Paul Sabatier (1858-1928), a French Protestant and
the first modern biographer of St. Francis, sought to find the man beneath the
layers of myth and legend. Sabatier portrayed a fully human Francis, much like
each of us in our awkwardness, insecurities, and fear, but also a gentle mystic
and passionate reformer who desired to live as Jesus taught his disciples.
The Road to Assisi presents Sabatier´s biography for today´s
twenty-first century reader. With helpful explanations and annotations by Jon M.
Sweeney, Sabatier´s narrative is supplemented with the insights of many other
scholars and writers, from Bonaventure and Dante to G. K. Chesterton and Umberto