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Light in the Dark Ages: The Friendship of Francis and Clare of Assisi [Paperback]

By Jon M. Sweeney (Author)
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Item description for Light in the Dark Ages: The Friendship of Francis and Clare of Assisi by Jon M. Sweeney...

This joint biography illuminates what it means to be a follower of Jesus today. In this intriguing portrait of the first Franciscans, Sweeney reveals the timeless temptations that come with being human and the many ways that Francis and Clare inspired change and brought light to darkness.

Publishers Description

The Middle Ages were not so very dark, as the old textbooks say. As you will discover in this intriguing portrait of the first Franciscans, we live in "dark ages" whenever we become preoccupied with power. In this popular history, Jon Sweeney reveals the timeless temptations that come with being human---greed, competition, ego, and selfishness---as well as the many ways that Francis and Clare of Assisi inspired change and brought light into darkness.

Discover how Francis was first found by God and then joined by Clare despite the violent objections of her family. Explore a variety of issues that they faced, including the treatment of lepers in medieval society, corruption in the Church, and attitudes toward the created world. You will also learn how Clare's spirituality influenced that of other prominent women, how St. Francis lost control of his own movement, and why Francis's body was secretly buried upon his death.

The examples of early Franciscan spirituality challenge any of us who would follow Christ today. How would we view a young person today who rejected family for spiritual reasons? Is it possible for men and women to have deep friendship and remain true to a call to chastity? Is intentional poverty of any value? Have we sentimentalized family to the point of ignoring what Jesus taught his disciples on the subject?
Visit Jon Sweeney's blog at

From Publishers Weekly
She was "rudder to his sail" and "yin to his yang," but the relationship between medieval saints Clare and Francis of Assisi was hardly the love affair depicted in literature and film, as this joint biography makes clear. Sweeney, author of the St. Francis Prayer Book and The Lure of Saints, sketches the true nature of the liaison, which he says was marked by natural affection, but never led to marriage or an affair. "There is little reason to believe that Francis and Clare shared any romance other than one that was jointly with God," Sweeney writes of the partners in the spiritual movement that revolutionized Western religion. Relying on early biographies of Francis by Thomas of Celano and Bonaventure as well as more recent scholarship, Sweeney examines Francis's conversion and decision to "marry" poverty, showing how Clare, 12 years his junior, fled her family to embrace his radical way of life. Sweeney deals, too, with the controversy and dissension that erupted in the movement after just two decades as some followers softened the radical mendicancy espoused by Francis and Clare. Readers interested in an accurate portrayal of these two powerful figures will find this an excellent introduction to a movement that has captured the imaginations of moderns more than 700 years after the deaths of Francis and Clare. (Aug.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

Citations And Professional Reviews
Light in the Dark Ages: The Friendship of Francis and Clare of Assisi by Jon M. Sweeney has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -

  • Publishers Weekly - 05/14/2007 page 49
  • Booklist - 08/01/2007 page 11
  • Library Journal - 08/01/2007 page 94

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Paraclete Press
Pages   204
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.75" Width: 5.25" Height: 8"
Weight:   0.55 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Aug 1, 2007
Publisher   Paraclete Press (MA)
ISBN  1557254761  
ISBN13  9781557254764  

Availability  0 units.

More About Jon M. Sweeney

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! JON M. SWEENEY is an author, a book publisher, and a popular speaker. He is the editor of "The Road to Assisi: The Essential Biography of St. Francis" and the author of many books, including "Verily, Verily: The KJV 400 Years of Influence and Beauty." He lives in Vermont with his wife and three children."

Jon M. Sweeney currently resides in the state of Illinois. Jon M. Sweeney was born in 1967.

Jon M. Sweeney has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Modern Spiritual Masters
  2. Paraclete Giants

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > History > Europe > Italy > General
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Catholicism > Saints
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Church History > General

Christian Product Categories
Books > Inspiration > Motivation > Biography & Autobiography

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Reviews - What do customers think about Light in the Dark Ages: The Friendship of Francis and Clare of Assisi?

A thought-provoking examination of what it truly meant for Francis and Clare to be followers of Jesus Christ  Nov 3, 2007
Light in the Dark Ages: The Friendship of Francis of Francis and Clare of Assisi is a spiritual biography of Francis and Clare of Assisi, written especially to help guide and enlighten fellow Christians in the modern day. Light in the Dark Ages reveals that the Middle Ages themselves were not necessarily innately dark - "dark ages" come whenever humanity forgets the ideals of the Sermon on the Mount. Light in the Dark Ages tells of Francis' calling by God, and how Clare joined him despite the vehement and violent objections of her family. Exploring the realities of the day, including the treatment of lepers in medieval society and corruption in the Church, Light in the Dark Ages follows the example of two deeply spiritual figures to the end of their lives, and asks profound questions: how should one view a young person who rejects family for spiritual reasons? Can men and women share a deep yet purely platonic friendship? Is their value in an intentional vow of poverty? Does placing absolute value on family ignore the words of Jesus Christ? A thought-provoking examination of what it truly meant for Francis and Clare to be followers of Jesus Christ, and what that means for followers of Christ today.
Solid book on the lives of these two saints  Aug 7, 2007
If you do a lot of reading of Catholic books you are sure to come across multiple readings of the life of St. Francis and sometimes St. Clare. Especially since after Jesus, St. Francis is the subject of the most books.

I found though that this book gave me a fresh look at the life of St. Francis and his friendship with St. Claire. Unfortunately there is very little historical information to go on concerning their friendship and what documents we have to go by concentrated on St. Francis. Regardless of these limitations gives you a good idea of how St. Francis inspired St. Clair and how her life really lived out his ideals.

The book is not a straight serial biographical account of these two saints but various chapters addresses various themes. Though you do end up with a very good look at their lives and the world they lived in. The historical context is very important when considering these two saints and it only makes them shine the brighter considering the problems and the corruption within the Church at the time. It is always a good reminder that the Church is always need renewal and that it is only the saints that can truly bring about that renewal. But more importantly that we all need to respond to the Gospel as fully as St. Francis and St. Claire did.

I liked the balanced way these saints were covered in that the author tried to stay within what we know historically about their lives and to discern from some of the source material of books written after St. Francis' death while also at the same time not taking to skeptical of attitude to some of the surviving stories. You get a very good idea of the struggles of the early Franciscans and the book also address the sad chapters in early Franciscan history of the "Spiritual Franciscans" and the aftermath of the order after first St. Francis dies and then much later St. Claire.

So if your looking for a solid book on the life of both St. Francis and St. Clair is can highly recommend this one.

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