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St. Francis of America: How a Thirteenth-Century Friar Became America's Most Popular Saint (Hardback)
  • St. Francis of America: How a Thirteenth-Century Friar Became America's Most Popular Saint (Hardback)

St. Francis of America: How a Thirteenth-Century Friar Became America's Most Popular Saint (Hardback)

Hardback 336 Pages / Published: 30/10/2015
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How did a thirteenth-century Italian friar became one of the best loved saints in America? Around the nation today, St. Francis of Assisi is embraced as the patron saint of animals, beneficently presiding over hundreds of Blessing of the Animals services on October 4, St. Francis's Catholic feast day. Not only Catholics, however, but Protestants and other Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, and nonreligious Americans commonly name him as one of their favorite spiritual figures. Drawing on a dazzling array of art, music, drama, film, hymns, and prayers, Patricia Appelbaum explains what happened to make St. Francis so familiar and meaningful to so many Americans.

Appelbaum traces popular depictions and interpretations of St. Francis from the time when non-Catholic Americans ""discovered"" him in the nineteenth century to the present. From poet to activist, 1960s hippie to twenty-first-century messenger to Islam, St. Francis has been envisioned in ways that might have surprised the saint himself. Exploring how each vision of St. Francis has been shaped by its own era, Appelbaum reveals how St. Francis has played a sometimes countercultural but always aspirational role in American culture. St. Francis's American story also displays the zest with which Americans borrow, lend, and share elements of their religious lives in everyday practice.

Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
ISBN: 9781469623740
Number of pages: 336
Weight: 825 g
Dimensions: 235 x 155 x 23 mm

Representative of the best of modern historical scholarship. . . . The volume will undoubtedly be of interest to scholars, educated laity, atheist, agnostic, and religionist alike.--American Historical Review

Applebaum's narrative is vigorous, and her analysis of the ways in which Francis has been read and contested is convincing.--Church History and Religious Culture

Achieves success as both a work of careful scholarship and a delightful read.--Choice

Makes an important contribution to American history of religion and to the field of Franciscan studies. . . . A must-read for historians of American religion and the Franciscan tradition alike.--American Catholic Studies

A cultural history of how the medieval monk has been represented in U.S. culture over the past two hundred years.--Journal of American History

An entertaining read [that] helps us separate the real figure from folklore--Francis the popular icon from Francis the man.--Episcopal Journal

This well-researched biography is recommended as a case study of how the perceptions of historical individuals change over the course of time to fit and speak to contemporary issues.--Library Journal

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