Orville Jenkins Articles Menu
Orville Jenkins Home
Orville Jenkins Book Reviews Menu


The Trials of Peace for St Francis
Dr. Orville Boyd Jenkins
A review of the book by Paul Sabatier
The Road to Assisi:  The Essential Biography of St. Francis (Brewster, Mass:  Paraclete Press, 2003.  187p., trans. Louis Seymour Houghton, edited with notes by Jon M. Sweeney.)

See all my reviews on Amazon.com
See menu of all book reviews on this site

I have been an admirer of St. Francis since my youth.  I have, however, not known many specifics of his life.  This biography was helpful to understand the man in his own times.  This book was originally written by Sabatier in French in 1906.  This English edition follows the Houghton's translation but the editor adds helpful annotations to provide more historical background, or expand on various aspects of the story.

This is an admirable, readable, and inspiring book, which develops a realistic portrait of Francis as a product of his times, including some of the puzzling, and irritating acceptance of and commitment to some beliefs or assumptions of the ignorant age, and a puzzling commitment to the formalities and liturgy of the Catholic Church, including obedience to authorities whom he felt were unspiritual and unaware of the spiritual realities he felt had been revealed to him as the basis of his mission in life.

His commitment to humility and deference became his undoing at the hands of the unscrupulous, power-oriented Cardinal Ugolino, who later became Pope Gregory IX.  This manipulator wrested the new, unique and troubling Franciscan order from Francis' control with his acquiescence, because Francis felt obligated by the consistency of his own Rule of life and mission to bow to Ugolino's demand, after months of badgering in which he kept trying to make his viewpoint and call clear.

Francis never gave up on his attempt to faithfully follow the insights of his calling to non-conformity.  Because of the changes made by Ugolino, even before Francis' death, his order had become just one more of the hierarchy's ecclesiastical arms, opposite to the original intention of the founder.

See related reviews and articles on this site:
[TXT] Mystical Insights (Julian of Norwich)
[Review] Mysticism, the Wound of Knowledge
[review] Practicing the Presence of God
[review] Recurring Classic of Western Christian Mysticism
[TXT] St Francis:  Conversion and Disappointment

See this book on Amazon.com.
See all my reviews on Amazon.com
See menu of all formal book reviews on this site
See my reading lists
Many other books have review notes with the reading list entry


First reading notes written 18 August 2006
Finalized and posted on Thoughts and Resources 7 December 2007
Posted on Amazon and Barnes and Noble 2 March 2009

Copyright © 2007 Orville Boyd Jenkins
Permission granted for free download and transmission for personal or educational use.  Other rights reserved.

Email:  orville@jenkins.nu
Orville Jenkins Articles Menu
Orville Jenkins Home
Orville Jenkins Book Reviews Menu

filename:  sabatierassissi.html