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Following Francis: The Franciscan Way for Everyone [Paperback]

By Susan Pitchford (Author)
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Item description for Following Francis: The Franciscan Way for Everyone by Susan Pitchford...

Organized around the Rule of St. Francis, this book is a wonderful resource for private devotion or group study as it shows readers what it means to live out the Christian life with a Franciscan accent.

Publishers Description
In a little town in Italy, nearly eight hundred years ago, Francis of Assisi renounced everything he owned to follow Christ with passionate and single-minded abandon. Even today, centuries later, this simple saint draws people around the world to his story of living in humility, love, and joy. Here in Following Francis, Susan Pitchford tells her own story of the Franciscan life, as a member of the Third Order, founded by Francis himself so that people from all walks of life can follow the saint's ideal, without leaving their homes or occupations. Pitchford learned that the Franciscan tradition isn't the exclusive possession of monks cloistered in a monastery, but a spiritual path for ordinary people living in the twenty-first century. Organized around the Rule of St. Francis, this book - a wonderful resource for private devotion or group study - shows readers what it means to live out the Christian life with a Franciscan accent.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Morehouse Publishing
Pages   189
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.32" Width: 6.66" Height: 0.55"
Weight:   0.5 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jun 1, 2006
ISBN  0819222356  
ISBN13  9780819222350  

Availability  0 units.

More About Susan Pitchford

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Susan Pitchford, a senior lecturer in sociology at the University of Washington in Seattle, is a professed member of the Third Order of the Society of St. Francis.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Catholicism > Saints
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > General
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Worship & Devotion > Devotionals
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity
6Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Spirituality > Devotionals
7Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Spirituality > General

Christian Product Categories
Books > Church & Ministry > Church Life > Protestant Denominations

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Reviews - What do customers think about Following Francis: The Franciscan Way for Everyone?

Inside Franciscan Spirituality  Jan 26, 2007
Susan Pitchford's new book is written with love and insight. I liked it for two main reasons:

1. It reminded me of my own journey as a novice in the Third Order of the Society of Saint Francis 25 years ago towards a fuller realisation of my vocation as a Franciscan.

2. Pitchford's struggles with aspects of our life like simplicity and chastity inspired me to go deeper into those areas in my life to make it conform a little more to what a Franciscan might be.

Novices will appreciate the way some of the jargon of the Third Order has been demystified by showing how words like "Rule", "Joy" and "Obedience" are concepts that can reinvigorate Christian living.

The chapter on prayer as desire and fulfilment shows a second great influence on Susan Pitchford's life: Teresa of Avila. In his 2006 encyclical Deus Caritas Est, Pope Benedict XVI approves the idea that eros is a characteristic of God. God's desire for us - as Pitchford shows by reference to Teresa as well as Francis - is the basis of the life of prayer. Thomas Keating's phrase `exuberant mysticism' describes Franciscan prayer well.

Following Francis is funny. It frequently made me chuckle out loud. Wry and humorous observations, say of birds from a window, are exemplars of how following Francis is fun.

Susan Pitchford knows the cost of being a Franciscan, having, for example, foregone tenure as a professor. Such decisions are painful and difficult, not the least because colleagues either can't understand or are threatened by these decisions.

These personal examples give the book its strength. For many of us in the US and Australia, the challenge of being a tertiary is complicated by our middle class lives. In our wealthy countries, it can be counter-productive to give away all our money and possessions. We are held by so many safety nets - most of which we middle-class folk make good use of - that trying to stand aside from our wealth might simply make us dependent not on God, but inappropriately on other people.

I struggle with these issues, and I was very encouraged by Pitchford's struggles with them.

And I enjoyed going `Franciscan road trips' to Ghana and Cambridge in England. Pitchford shows imaginative ways in which we can bridge the great divide between us and the poverty in this world.

With its easy to read style and helpful exercises at the end of each chapter, this book is clearly aimed at Third Order members starting out, but would be equally helpful to anyone considering how Franciscan spirituality could refresh their Christian life.

Tertiaries and others who have been on the Franciscan journey for some more years can continue to gain from insights into Retreats as yihud, into the power of the Profession vows and their renewal each year, and so on.

I read many good books about the life of Francis, some excellent books about the ideal of Franciscan spirituality and the story of the Franciscan family. But this book is about being a Franciscan, in particular about being a Third Order Franciscan. It's an insider's book, and as such will be helpful for many.
With humility, love, and joy, the way.  Jan 5, 2007
Pitchford is a senior lecturer in sociology at the University of Washington. This is a personal story of how she came to discover the teachings of Francis of Assisi: through the beginnings and personal experiences; some warming, some saddening. Her thoughts always go back to Francis. Susan follows him in heart, but not to an extreme in action. The journey ends (and begins) with baptism into the third order of the society of Saint Francis.

Well written and playful. Each chapter ends with questions for reflection, further steps and a prayer. "This is a book about being part of a community": Living this life without removing ourselves from the world; following Jesus, with Francis as our guide; with humility, love, and joy, the way. These are words to live by.

I know little of him; I now know a little more. Francis was considered a radical extremist, even in his day. To live only a fraction of his life will add a deeper spiritual growth. The book caused me to stop and think. What shocked me was his view on academics and literature--that it leads to straying from the word and self righteousness. The irony of course, it would leave this book in question. I probably won't be joining up any time soon, but I hope some Francis wears off on me. It's not easy, but it's simple.

"Your going to need a bigger God"

Wish you well

By a Franciscan.  Nov 5, 2006
This reviews Franciscan principles and how to apply them to everyday life.
St. Francis and his passion for God  Oct 26, 2006
Susan Pitchford invites us along on her journey to become a professed member of The Third Order of the Society of Saint Francis (TSSF)and her efforts to follow a centuries-old Rule of Life. There are some fascinating side trips, too, past a mystery bird and into the slave forts of Ghana. While Susan's book is especially instructive for someone who wants to join a lay religious order, she speaks to anyone seeking a deeper relationship with God. Exploring each of the nine components of the TSSF Rule of Life, she is both serious and funny; and deeply passionate. Using Francis as her personal guide, she serves as a contemporary guide to the rest of us, encouraging us to explore the ideas of true humility, love, penitence, self-denial, simplicity and joy. She has successfully put into human words the wonder, the mystery, the passion of the Eucharist and of prayer; and the challenges. Along with the story of her personal encounter with the Rule, Susan shares with the reader her favorite stories about Francis and his life and ministry. Some of the stories may be familiar to the reader but many are both new and delightful. Some tell of the pain and sacrifices Francis made in order to serve The One he loved more than life. According to Susan, what most drew her to Francis was his passion. "...he'd [Francis] had that one good look at Jesus that leaves you weak in the knees, and ready to leave anything and everything behind to follow him." (p. 5). What makes this book worth reading is Susan's deep passion; her passion for Francis, her passion for creation, but mostly her passion for God. Every word of this work will draw you in deeper, make you want more.
Very highly recommended reading  Oct 7, 2006
Very highly recommended reading for students of St. Francis of Assisi, "Following Francis: The Franciscan Way for Everyone" by Susan Pitchford (a Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Washington in Seattle) provides a superbly organized and presented introduction to Franciscan spirituality as experienced by lay people who are part of the Franciscan 'Third Order'. Nine spiritual disciplines comprise the Third Order rule. "Following Francis" devotes chapters on all nine disciplines, plus additional chapters dedicated to central Franciscan themes such as humility, love, and joy. Providing readers with practical guidelines drawn from the life of St. Francis and from third-order Franciscans, "Following Francis" invites Christian readers to participate in the passion and joy that so characterized the manner and example in which Francis of Assisi followed the teachings and example of Jesus.

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