A Feature Review of
Francis of Assisi: the Life and Afterlife of a Medieval Saint
Reviewed by Alden Bass.
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“Saint” is conspicuously absent from Francis’s name in this new biography of the Poor Man of Assisi, an absence especially conspicuous considering that the author literally wrote the book on medieval saints (Sainthood in the Middle Ages, 1987). While André Vauchez omits the term to signal that his treatment will be historical rather than hagiographical, one is reminded of Dorothy Day’s quip: “Don’t call me a saint. I don’t want to be dismissed so easily.” Vauchez goes to great lengths to avoid dismissing the Poverello by focusing on Francis the man rather than Francis the Saint, and one comes away from his book not only with a new understanding of Francis, but also with a renewed appreciation for the relationship between sanctity and authentic humanity. Continue Reading…