The Joyful Beggar

Written by Louis de Wohl
Review by Anne Marie Gazzolo

The story of Giovanni Francis Bernardone begins with the tale of Roger de Vandria, who is seeking money to press his claim in restoring the Sicilian castle lost to his family.  He agrees to join the army of Assisi against their enemy in Perguia and meets Francis, son of a wealthy merchant, who has dreams of achieving military glory.  Thus begins the intertwining of the lives of the two young men.

After recovering from a great sickness, Francis receives his call from God to repair His church.  Francis takes this literally and restores three churches that had been falling into ruin.  He gradually distances himself from his pleasure-loving friends and his former way of life, instead joyfully taking ‘My Lady Poverty’ as his bride and establishing the order of the Friar Minor.

Louis de Wohl brings Francis’ many victories and agonies into brilliant, living detail. I highly recommend any and all of de Wohl’s powerful books about the saints, many of which are available through Ignatius Press (