A “Crusade” That Defies the Stereotype


The Little Friar who Brought a Great Peace Francis of Assisi's bold action in the context of religious warOnly one time during the period of global religious conflict known (now) as the Crusades did Christian forces conquer Jerusalem. That occurred during the first Crusade in 1099. The only other time Christendom laid claim to the Holy City only was in 1229, when the Muslims under the leadership of Malik al-Kamil freely remitted it to them. That year, al-Kamil negotiated a ten-year peace … [Read more...]

Who Is the *Real* Francis of Assisi? A New Book Hasn’t Found Him

Jon's Sweeney's new book on Saint Francis

A Review of When Francis Saved the Church, by Jon Sweeney(This review is part of the Patheos Book Club.)  by Wendy MurrayWhen I was living in Assisi, Italy to work on my book about the life of Saint Francis of Assisi -- titled A Mended and a Broken Heart -- a friar and scholar with whom I regularly consulted exhorted me with a statement I have never forgotten: He said, “Francis is an ocean--don’t say we caught him.”In this way I am always curious to read new … [Read more...]

What’s In a Name? Pope Francis Explains

One year ago an Argentinian named Jorge Mario Bergoglio assumed the name of Francis -- or, in Italian, Francesco. For Italians, the name needs no explanation. For Americans, not so much. In the video below the Pope gives voice to his thoughts about why he took the name of Italy's most beloved saint.Post by Catholic News Service.Purchase Wendy Murray's book on Francis of Assisi -----------> See also: The Year of the Pope in Pictures … [Read more...]

New Year’s Resolution: Change the World


By Wendy MurrayWhen I wrote my book about Francis of Assisi (1182-1226) a few years back, I couldn't get over what a simple humble man he was and how -- as such -- he managed to change his world. His life carries an echo that reverberates to this day as noted in the wild popularity of the new pope who bears his name.I have identified five attributes Francis possessed that will serve everyone, in any time, who desire to carry an impact on their world.1. Show UpWhen Francis … [Read more...]

Remembering St. Francis of Assisi

FrancisSmallforTour blog

Saint Francis of Assisi died 787 years ago today, and yet he seems more alive than ever despite the passage of time. In the Catholic tradition, this anniversary marks the "Feast Day of St. Francis." Remembering the champions who have gone before seems an appropriate tradition and one which Protestants lose out on. Francis of Assisi is certainly one whom Christians of all traditions ought to know and celebrate.I lived in Assisi when I wrote my book about St. Francis and came to love the … [Read more...]

What You Do, Do — With a Swift Pace and Nimble Step

Visual 12 FrancisCutsClaresHair1

Clare of Assisi died 760 years ago tomorrow (August 11, 1253). Yet she remains as much a beacon for women and men of faith today as she did in her own day. For centuries the story of Clare  has been interpreted through the life of Saint Francis of Assisi (1182-1226), the one-time playboy who was destined to become Catholicism’s most popular saint.Yet her indomitable faith complements that of her guide and truest love, St. Francis, whom I wrote about in my book A Mended and Broken Heart: The L … [Read more...]

The Hidden Life of Clare of Assisi


The hidden life of Clare of Assisi (119-[something] to 1253) is forever bound to that of Saint Francis of Assisi (1182-1226), though Clare was a force unto herself who cast her own light and left a unique echo. I have already written a book about Francis (A Mended and Broken Heart, 2008, Basic Books) and have now turned my thoughts to Clare--the medieval feminine expression of Francis' spiritual vision. She has a lot she can teach today's women because she was -- as Hillary Clinton recently … [Read more...]