He has inspired countless films, paintings, poems and novels. But who was Francesco Bernadone, now known as Saint Francis of Assisi? Despite the wealth of writing on the life of this great saint, many still don’t know the man. They know the legend: a Francis made palatable to modern sensibilities—the happy friar who carols to the birds and writes poems to the sun and moon. This is the image of the saint that is usually presented, even though it fails to encompass the true personality of Francis.
Ivan Gobry, Ph.D., takes on the task of revealing the real man, the man who abandoned wealth and chose to live a beggar’s life. Saint Francis lived a life that was full of danger and adventure, ministering to lepers and even traveling to Egypt in an attempt to convert the Muslims. Disciples flocked to him, drawn by the radical challenge of living the Gospel in a world that had become attracted to decadence. Francis rejoiced in nature and animals, but also fought spiritual battles against temptation and vice. Dr. Gobry restores a profoundly human dimension to the Little Poor Man of Assisi: a far cry from the image that has become conventional.
Ivan Gobry, Ph.D., a specialist in the medieval period and professor emeritus at the University of Rheims, is the author of a great number of studies on the Middle Ages and philosophy. He is considered to be one of the foremost experts on Saint Francis.