Francis of Assisi is Catholicism's most popular saint. Tens of millions of spiritual seekers summon his name and example. But the real Francis-both his complicated personality and his complex theology-have been misunderstood for centuries. In 1228, Pope Gregory IX rushed to canize St. Francis only two years after his death. Soon thereafter, the Church eliminated significant aspects of his biography from the public record. For Francis's early life was defined by his profligacy shortly before dying, Francis himself warned his brothers: Don't be too quick to canize me. I am perfectly capable of fathering a child. In A Mended and Broken Heart , journalist Wendy Murray slices through the bowdlerized version of Francis's life promoted within the Catholic tradition and reveals instead a saint who was in every way also a real man. Murray stresses in particular the crucial but completely neglected role that Clare of Assisi played in Francis's life, both pre- and postconversion, and his theology. A profoundly humane portrait of a misunderstood saint, A Mended and Broken Heart makes a powerful case that St. Francis's life and thought make him a role model for religious seekers of every faith.
Wendy Murray holds an M.A. in theology from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. She has written numerous books on Christian topics, including The Beliefnet Guide to Evangelical Christianity. Formerly a senior writer for Christianity Today, she has also written extensively for Books & Culture, The Christian Century, and Beliefnet. She is the Founder of the Assisi Workshops, an organization dedicated to facilitating the ongoing exploration of the life of Saint Francis, the Umbrian tradition of pilgrimage, and the practice of visual and literary arts. An adjunct professor of writing in the communication arts department at Gordon College, she is also the founder of Ecco Qua Press, an independent publishing company.