André Vauhez

Everyone, at one time or another, has heard of Francis of Assisi, the 13th Century Italian saint who loved poverty, preached to birds and may have been the first stigmatic in history. Innumerable biographies and works that have dedicated themselves to him since the Middle Ages and, in the modern day, is reputation far surpasses the confines of Catholicism, since many believers of all religions and many non believers take an interest in him, and in ‘Franciscanism’, which has had a profound effect on Western Christianity. Despite the general friendly feelings towards/ surrounding this figure, little remains known by the public of the “Pauvre d’Assiseâ€? (“the Poor man of Assisiâ€?), for his image has at times been obscured by sanctimonious or fanciful interpretations that have dulled or distorted his message. After half a century, the research that has been dedicated to him, in Italy and around the world, has profoundly modified what we knew and what we understood of the Poverello. Consequently, a new study dedicated to him, based on more solid works, was need urgently. We often refer nowadays to the “spirit of Assisiâ€? that could contribute to bringing peace between religions around the world (Jean-Paul II invited the heads of the main religions to Assisi in 1986). This work endeavours to explain, from the point of view of an historian, why Francis of Assisi continues to attract real fascination eight centuries on.

Libraire Arthème Fayard
Publication year: 

548 pages