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Book Review

The Franciscan Association of Great Britain

Editors: Damian Kirkpatrick SSF, Fr Philip Doherty OFM Conv, Sr Sheelagh O'Flynn FMDM

Joy in all Things

A Franciscan Companion

ISBN 1 85311 409 X

Canterbury Press, Norwich, 2002, 12.99

(price at publication of review)


Reviewed January 2004; © Copyright, The Society of Saint Francis, 2003

All Franciscans in these islands, indeed, in the English-speaking world, owe an immense debt of gratitude to the editors and publishers of this compendium and companion.  It stands as a monument to the spirit of Francis and Clare which at the dawn of the third millennium CE provides a bond which unites Franciscans across the boundaries of nation, denomination and gender.  Make no mistake, this book is an achievement.

The nature of the Franciscan heritage makes the editors' task a difficult one.  How can the charism be organised?  Our editors were not daunted, and have boldly drawn a map whose areas have been filled in by 18 Franciscan women and men, some Roman Catholic, some Anglican, some with no formal affiliation within the Franciscan movement.

Inevitably, the quality of the writing is not uniform; we will all find gems, we will all find points to question, we will all have regrets. This reviewer was especially delighted by the previously unpublished 'Story of Francis' from the pen of the late Bishop John V. Taylor, and by Martin Shaw's pilgrimage in Assisi.  Other readers will find their own favourites.

A disappointment - on page 72 there is a passing reference to the Will (Testament) of Francis.  This document was intended to be read with the Rule at chapters, and to be understood, with the Rule, 'plainly and simply'.  The Testament, composed by Francis without the assistance of canon lawyers, is crucial to the understanding of his mind and heart - yet, the text is missing from this otherwise splendid book.

Never mind - it will surely be there in the second edition.  We must all make sure that a second edition is soon needed!

Anselm SSF



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