Cover image for St Francis of Assisi : the legend and the life
St Francis of Assisi : the legend and the life
Robson, Michael, 1933-
Personal Author:
Paperback edition.
Publication Information:
London ; New York : Geoffrey Chapman, 1999.

Physical Description:
xxvi, 294 pages ; 24 cm
General Note:
Originally published: 1997.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BX4700.F6 R58 1997 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
BX4700.F6 R58 1997 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Instead of simply narrating the life of the saint, Robson looks at Francis through the thoughts and writings of those who knew him: his parents, the local bishop, Pope Innocent III, Cardinal Ugolino, Saint Anthony of Padua and Saint Clare. What emerges is a new understanding of the saint.

Author Notes

Michael Robson OFMConv is Dean and Fellow of St Edmund's College, Cambridge.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. vi
Acknowledgementsp. xii
Abbreviationsp. xiii
Glossaryp. xv
Chronologyp. xx
1 Peter Bernardonep. 1
Christianity and medieval Assisip. 1
Francis's familyp. 7
Troubled relations between Assisi and Perugiap. 12
Military ambition thwarted by sicknessp. 15
Francis and the leperp. 18
Beginnings of a vocationp. 22
2 Bishop Guido II of Assisip. 31
Episcopal appeal and Francis's renunciationp. 32
Guido as the vicar of San Rufino and patron saints of Assisip. 38
Guido's defence of his episcopal heritagep. 41
Benevolent episcopal interventionp. 43
Incipient fraternityp. 46
Guido at the papal courtp. 48
Guido, Francis and Clarep. 51
Francis's respect for bishops and priestsp. 54
Francis's death and canonizationp. 56
3 Pope Innocent IIIp. 62
The papacy and St Francisp. 62
Innocent III and reform groupsp. 69
Francis's quest for papal approvalp. 71
Lateran IV, ecclesiastical reform and Francisp. 77
Franciscans and the restoration of the Churchp. 86
4 Lady Povertyp. 94
Poverty and the conversion experiencesp. 94
Wealth and divisions in societyp. 98
The monastic world and Francisp. 100
The reappraisal of the apostolic lifep. 103
Gospel texts and povertyp. 105
Poverty embracedp. 112
Imitation of the Poor Christ and nuptial imageryp. 115
Medieval perception of Francis and his fraternityp. 118
5 Ugolino, cardinal protector and then Pope Gregory IXp. 126
The growth of the fraternityp. 126
The meeting in Florencep. 130
Appointment of a cardinal protectorp. 132
Cardinal and Francisp. 137
Francis instructs Ugolinop. 139
Interventions by Ugolinop. 142
Approval of the Rulep. 144
Gregory IX and the Franciscansp. 147
6 St Anthony of Padua and the development of theological studyp. 158
Anthony's early lifep. 158
An Augustinian canon at Lisbon and then Coimbra (c. 1210-20)p. 160
Friar Anthonyp. 165
The ministry of preachingp. 168
Measures to combat the spread of heresyp. 170
Francis and the need for theological studyp. 172
The origin of Franciscan schoolsp. 174
Anthony, patron of Franciscan schoolsp. 176
Franciscan perception of theologyp. 178
The debate about studiesp. 180
7 St Clare, the faithful custodian of Francis's idealsp. 187
Clare's familyp. 187
Manifestations of a vocation and Francis's impactp. 188
Clare's conversionp. 191
Temporary refuge and family oppositionp. 195
San Damiano and the vocations of Francis and Clarep. 199
Francis's reliance on Clarep. 202
Clare in Thomas of Celano's biographiesp. 205
Clare and the Roman Curiap. 209
8 Francis as the herald of the great kingp. 218
An enlarged cloisterp. 218
Francis's preachingp. 220
Francis the teacher and actorp. 224
Francis's praise of God in song and musical instrumentsp. 228
Sermons in parishesp. 230
Sanctification of the piazzap. 232
Ministry of peace and reconciliationp. 234
Ecumenical reconciliationp. 236
Communion with all creationp. 239
9 St Francis's death, burial and posthumous influence on the fraternityp. 249
Medieval conventions regarding the burial of saintsp. 250
Arrangements for the death and burial of Francisp. 254
Francis's death at the Portiuncula and burial at San Giorgiop. 258
The proclamation of Francis's stigmatap. 262
Towards canonizationp. 265
Basilica of St Francis and the Sacro Conventop. 267
Francis's posthumous influence on an expanding fraternityp. 270
The biographies and the portrait of the exemplary friarp. 273
Bibliographyp. 281
Indexp. 290