He conversed with both the Pope and the sultan. He transformed a taste for fine things and troubadour poetry into greater loves for poverty and joyful devotion to God. He never intended to found a traditional religious "movement," but nevertheless, he did. As he died, his brothers had to guard him closely in fear that someone would try to snatch the body of this living saint. Who was Francis of Assisi? Where did he come from and what can we learn from his life?
Paul Sabatier (1858-1928), a French Protestant and the first modern biographer of St. Francis, sought to find the man beneath the layers of myth and legend. Sabatier portrayed a fully human Francis, much like each of us in our awkwardness, insecurities, and fear, but also a gentle mystic and passionate reformer who desired to live as Jesus taught his disciples. The Road to Assisi presents Sabatier´s biography for today´s twenty-first century reader. With helpful explanations and annotations by Jon M. Sweeney, Sabatier´s narrative is supplemented with the insights of many other scholars and writers, from Bonaventure and Dante to G. K. Chesterton and Umberto Eco.