Book Review: Saint Clare – beyond the legend

One thing that was lacking in my formation as a Secular Franciscan was learning anything about Saint Clare.  As the first woman Franciscan, certainly there are many ways in which she can inspire those who wish to follow in the footsteps of the saint.  But I hadn’t had much of an opportunity to learn about her life.

Author Marco Bartoli dissects the writings of early Franciscan biographer Thomas of Celano, who wrote a life of Clare as well as much about Francis and the Franciscan.  In Saint Clare – beyond the legend, Bartoli describes the differences in how Clare is depicted in various works by the same author.

This book is not a “birth to death” biography of Saint Clare, but instead a topical treatment of her life.  Some topics include Penitence, Conversion, War and Peace, and the Papacy.  This is a scholarly book; it demands attention and concentration (and sometimes a dictionary!)  It draws on history, both secular and sacred, as well as etymology and spirituality.

I’d recommend this book to readers who are interested in learning more about a fascinating Franciscan woman and who want to avoid “fluff” in favor of meatier reading.

This review was written as part of The Catholic Company product reviewer program. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Saint Clare – beyond the legend. I received a review copy of this book, but no other compensation, for the purposes of this review.

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