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Recommended Reads – Francis of Assisi: A Model for Human Liberation


Last week candidate Jeff Sved shared his book recommendation from formation.  This week Annemarie Barrett recommends a book that began with a question, “who is St. Francis?”

Coming into formation Annemarie did not know a whole lot about this beloved saint.  She knew he started the Franciscan order and that he lived in Italy.  Beyond those two facts, St. Francis was still a stranger to meet.  She found a book by Leonardo Boff to be the perfect way to start a conversation.

The description on the back of the book reads:

“In this classic work, Brazilian theologian Leonardo Boff examines the relevance of St. Francis to contemporary spirituality and to the construction of a new church. As a “model of gentleness and care” Francis exemplifies an “integral liberation” in which the spiritual and the social are intimately bound together. In a new preface to this 25th anniversary edition Boff observes, “through his deep humanity Francis of Assisi has become an archetype of the human ideal. He belongs not only to Christianity but to all humankind.”

Liberation takes on many names in this context – simplicity, authenticity, etc.  The ministry of presence is a form of mutually liberating each other.  Annemarie found this to be an ongoing theme in formation and she had a head-start by reading the book.

“I love that even before I came for formation I was able to read a book by Leonardo Boff about St. Francis, the man he was. I was so touched by the explanation of and the retelling of the story of St. Francis and how he shared liberation in the person that he was and the authentic person that he was.”

Reading Francis of Assisi was an opportunity to meet the Saint himself.  Through the introduction this formation candidate had the welcomed opportunity to reflect on how Francis’ example of liberation was reflected in her own life.

“Especially as a lay missioner, I feel like we’re invited all the time to really consider how this calls to ongoing conversion.”

If you would like to read Annemarie’s recommendation you can find the book on Amazon or check your local library.

We prepare and support lay Catholics for two-year international, one-year domestic and 1-2 week short-term mission service opportunities in solidarity with impoverished and marginalized communities across the globe.

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