The Life of St. Francis of Assisi


The Life of St. Francis of Assisi

The Life of St. Francis, by the French Franciscan Candide Chalippe (circa 1727) is now back in print, unabridged, with footnotes and pictures!

This is one of the best books we have read in English, not just with respect to St. Francis, but spiritually, theologically and historically it is an awesome work. In spite of all the miracles it relates, it also humanizes St. Francis in many ways, by depicting the outstanding virtues he practiced, humility, sacrifice, mortification and charity. There is a reason why St. Francis is one of the greatest Saints in the history of the Church. You won’t regret this!

St. Francis de Sales said, that while many saints should be imitated, some of the saints are to be admired more than imitated. The life of St. Francis gives us some of both. On the one hand, his extraordinary love of God, his humility, his penance, his charity, his prudence and his detachment from and loathing for the world, are all virtues that every Christian should seek to emulate throughout his life. On the other hand, his discernment of spirits, his miracles, his extraordinary fasting and mortification of his body, his ecstasies and the stigmata are all things God performed in St. Francis for our wonderment, to give glory to Him for what He brought about in his servant. We have provided a spiritual classic, Fr. Candide Challipe’s Life of St. Francis, translated by the Oratorians of London into English. The value of Challipe’s narrative, having compiled all of the sources available at the time of his writing (1700’s) is that he balances the narrative between the two different elements which made Francis one of the greatest saints in the history of the Church.

Challipe’s work is not only a spiritual tour de force, but is also a great work of theology, as he unfolds the life of St. Francis with respect to the subsequent theology of the Church through St. Bonaventure, St. Thomas, The Council of Trent and St. Robert Bellarmine. He quotes frequently not only from the Franciscan sources, but also from the Holy Scripture, the Fathers, and the great Theologians of the Middle Ages and the early modern period.