Biographies of St. Francis will only take you so far. Its impossible to truly understand him without reading his writings. Sweeney has compiled all of the ones that we are most certain come from Francis himself, including his first Rule of life, the Rule he wrote for the Third Order, letters to friends, letters to people in power, messages to all Franciscans, songs, praises, canticles, and his final spiritual Testament. An introduction and explanatory notes throughout the book help to put the writings into historical and theological context.
Jon M. Sweeney is the author of several books including Strange Heaven: The Virgin Mary as Woman, Mother, Disciple, and Advocate (September 2006); and Born Again and Again: Surprising Benefits of a Fundamentalist Childhoodwhich was named one of the "Best Books of 2005" by Spirituality & Health magazine and with an Award of Merit in the Spirituality category by Christianity Today. He has also written The St. Francis Prayer Book; The Lure of Saints; Praying with Our Handswhich was featured on PBS's "Religion & Ethics Newsweekly" and is the editor of Paul Sabatier's classic biography of St. Francis, The Road to Assisi, which was a selection of the History Book Club, Crossings Book Club, Literary Guild, and Book-of-the-Month Club. Jon was the co-founder and editor-in-chief of SkyLight Paths Publishing, a multifaith trade book publisher in Vermont, until he joined Paraclete Press in Massachusetts as their associate publisher. He writes an occasional column for the website, www.explorefaith.org, and his articles have been published in a variety of magazines including Catholic Digest, The Lutheran, The Merton Seasonal, and Spirituality & Health. He is a frequent guest speaker to groups of all denominational backgrounds on the subjects of understanding the Virgin Mary, Christian fundamentalism, St. Francis of Assisi, and appreciating the Catholic imagination. He was the featured speaker at The National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. on St. Francis's feast day in 2004. Jon lives in Vermont with his two teenage children.