Franciscan Footprints: Following Christ in the ways of Francis and Clare

Franciscan Footprints: Following Christ in the ways of Francis and Clare

Author : Helen Julian
£8.99

Enrich your Christian journey through the wisdom of Franciscan spirituality

There are many ways of following Christ – each footprint is unique. One of these, the Franciscan spiritual journey, has been tried and tested over the centuries, and the experiences of St Francis and St Clare and all those who have been inspired by their lives still resonate with us. Helen Julian CSF explores the distinctive features of their spirituality and shows how these practices can be applied to, and become part of, our daily lives.

Through stories of care for creation, social justice, mission, preaching, contemplative spirituality and simple living, discover your own pathway today.


Also available on Kindle

Buy on Kindle
Title Franciscan Footprints: Following Christ in the ways of Francis and Clare
Author Helen Julian
Description

There are many ways of following Christ – each footprint is unique. One of these, the Franciscan spiritual journey, has been tried and tested over the centuries, and the experiences of St Francis and St Clare and all those who have been inspired by their lives still resonate with us. Helen Julian CSF explores the distinctive features of their spirituality and shows how these practices can be applied to, and become part of, our daily lives.

Through stories of care for creation, social justice, mission, preaching, contemplative spirituality and simple living, discover your own pathway today.

Details
  • Product code: 9780857468116
  • Published: 17 April 2020
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 144
  • Dimensions: 130mm wide and 198mm high

There are many ways of following Christ – each footprint is unique. One of these, the Franciscan spiritual journey, has been tried and tested over the centuries, and the experiences of St Francis and St Clare and all those who have been inspired by their lives still resonate with us. Helen Julian CSF explores the distinctive features of their spirituality and shows how these practices can be applied to, and become part of, our daily lives.

Through stories of care for creation, social justice, mission, preaching, contemplative spirituality and simple living, discover your own pathway today.

Helen Julian CSF is an Anglican Franciscan sister and a priest, currently serving her community as Minister General. She has written three books for BRF and is a contributor to BRF’s New Daylight Bible reading notes and 'Fellowship' Holy Habits Bible Reflections and Group Studies.

To read Helen Julian's blog about the writing of this book click here.

 

Reform July-August 2020. Review by Diana Paulding

This book charts the development and flourishing of the Franciscan tradition, from the 13th-century lives of Francis and Clare of Assisi to the modern-day Anglican Franciscan community.

Employing an unusual but effective style, Helen Julian focuses on individuals who have embodied the teachings of Francis and Clare throughout the centuries, and those who have lived out lives devoted to Christ within the Franciscan tradition. These individuals are numerous and diverse.

Through biographies of each of their lives, Helen Julian seeks to illuminate the ways in which we too can live Christ-centric lives with the devotion and humility that the first founders modelled. Richly researched, Franciscan Footprints contains dozens of brief biographies, grouped by the subjects’ defining characteristics, be that writers or mystics, martyrs or preachers.

The great strength of this structure is that it allows the reader to view the tradition from many angles, rather than simply as a timeline of significant members. Nonetheless, Helen Julian also manages to cover the range of eras and cultures that the Franciscan tradition has spanned, taking us to medieval Italy, Reformation Europe, the seminaries of 20th-century China, among Peruvian guerrilla organisations, and to the Twin Towers on 9/11.

In many ways, Franciscan Footprints is a who’s who of the Franciscan tradition, although the brevity of each biography means that it only provides introductory information about each person. Reflective questions at the end of each chapter encourage the reader to consider how these disciples’ lives can inform and inspire their own. The common themes of service to others, humble lives, and devotion to God can provide inspiration for us all, regardless of our own religious tradition. The 17th century ‘flying friar’, however, may be best read as a good story about levitation rather than inspiration for our own preaching!

Diana Paulding is an Old Testament graduate based in Norfolk

 

 

Review  by Ted Witham TSSF, on the website of the Third Order, Society of St Francis Australia, May 2020

Franciscan Footprints, like much of Franciscan spirituality, is deceptively simple. In this helpful and engaging book, Sister Helen Julian, Minister General of the Anglican Community of St Francis, tells the story of about 100 Franciscans over the last 800 years – from Saints Francis and Clare in the 12th Century to Padre Pio and Algy Robertson SSF in the 20th Century.

The stories of mainly individuals and some organisations are presented in nine thematic chapters. The first two chapters tell the stories of the original founders, the two Assisi saints, Francis and Clare, and the founders of the Anglican Franciscans, including Sister Rosina Mary CSF, who founded the Community of Saint Francis in 1905.

The titles of further chapters, ‘Thinkers and Writers’, ‘Mystics and Spiritual Writers’, ‘Social Care, Social Justice’, ‘Martyrs’, ‘Missionaries and Preachers’, ‘Pastors’ and ‘Simply Living’, display the breadth of the Franciscan way of life. Placing each of her characters into these themes allows Sister Helen to ‘follow the followers’ and explore the many paths along which Franciscans follow Jesus. 

The Franciscan intellectual tradition is represented strongly by the 13th Century Bonaventure and the 21st Century Sister Ilia Delio.

Many of these Franciscans are new to me. Felix of Cantalice (born 1515) was a ploughman who became a lay Franciscan friar. He begged for the friars in Rome for many years, and was known as Brother Deo Gratias, because he exclaimed, ‘Thanks be to God’ (Deo Gratias) for every gift. He sang simple songs in the street and was beloved of children and the poor. His story is told under ‘Simply Living’: his life was seemingly uneventful, but by faithfully being who he was attracted many.

It was good to see the United Nations NGO Franciscans International in its context as an expression of the Franciscan family’s social care and social justice.

I commend Franciscan Footprints warmly. It is a good book to share within the Franciscan family and beyond.

At his death, Saint Francis said, ‘I have done what is mine to do. May Christ teach you what is yours.’ Helen Julian’s book will help both long-term Franciscans and the curious to learn what Christ is teaching them what their life might be. The characters in her book have made their Franciscan footprints. Readers will find much in this book to help them make their own Franciscan Footprints.

Reviewed by Ted Witham TSSF


Review by Richard Frost, BRF author and blogger, May 2020

‘Shortly before his death, Francis looked at the brothers gathered around him. ‘I have done what is mine,’ he said. ‘May Christ teach you what is yours.’ So begins Helen Julian’s excellent book about the gift left for us by Francis and Clare of Assisi and many who have made their own footprints for people to follow: ‘The gift is the inspiration of their lives and writings, and the fellowship of their prayers,’ she writes.

After outlining the origins and development of Franciscan religious communities, Helen Julian tells the stories of many significant individuals from the time of Francis and Clare right through to the present day. She introduces the readers to some of who come from the author’s own Anglican Franciscan community as well as historical figures, some canonised and others who are simply saints. ‘You could think of it as arriving at a party: I’m standing next to you and telling you about the people gathered in the room. Then you can decide who you’d like to get to know better,’ she writes.

Helen Julian covers first, second and third order Franciscan writers and thinkers, mystics and spiritual writers, social care and justice influencers, martyrs and pastors and those who the author describes as ‘witnessing by simply living’.

In many respects, Franciscan Footprints is a book of stories and despite their variety and often inspirational nature, for this reviewer there were too many of them. But it’s not a book that needs to be read in one sitting nor in the order in which the chapters are presented. Each chapter ends with a thought-provoking suggestion for reflection which with careful selection could be used for small group discussion.

In writing about the 13th century Scottish Franciscan, Duns Scotus, Helen Julian writes in a way that sums up the whole book: ‘You may feel out of depth in their ideas. But I encourage you to at least paddle in the shallows of their thoughts: you may be surprised by what you discover.’

Coming in to the 21st century, here is a prayer by American friar Mychal Judge, who became the first officially recorded fatality in the Twins Towers attack on 11 September 2001 while helping others to escape:

Lord, take me where you want me to go;
Let me meet who you want me to meet;
Tell me what you want me to say;
And keep me out of your way. 

Richard Frost is the author of Life with St Benedict and writes a blog at workrestpray.com


Review of Franciscan Footprints by Rona Bure: Third Order, Society of St Francis, European Province website www.tssf.org.uk

This small book covers a great deal of ground – not only in time but in the grouping of the various men and women into Anglican founders, thinkers and writers, mystics and spiritual writers; social care, social justice, martyrs, missionaries and preachers, pastors and simply living. This enables the reader to realise the depth and scope of what these Franciscans did in their lives. Indeed Helen Julian CSF quotes from St Clare as follows:

‘She said that they had been called to be like mirrors, in which people could look and see Christ. A mirror doesn’t exist to be looked at for itself; its whole purpose is to reflect back accurately what is in front of it.’

This is a challenge for all Franciscans throughout time and today. Can we be a Mirror to the World? This is a question which many of the people in this book have tried to answer. You too can try and answer the questions posed at the end of every chapter. This could be a very useful exercise in exploring your interest in Francis and Clare. The very different themes of the chapters will resonate in different ways to you depending on your particular view. I see much debate ensuing.

I am not a theologian and read simply to learn and explore to develop my understanding of what it is to be a Franciscan. There were many names in this book with which I was not familiar with and it widened my perspective and put others into context. In this time when challenges abound this book reminds us how important it is to be servants of our communities in every way. However this is not an easy task and I was heartened with the honest comment that Helen Julian makes in the book in that she throws at us a perspective that says we can fail but demonstrates as one door closes another opens.

At the end of the Chapter on Pastors Helen Julian writes:

‘When that door opens and someone appears, I always send up a silent prayer, ‘Lord, let me listen with your ears and respond from your heart.’

There is no doubt that the Franciscans in this book did so. Can we follow in the Footsteps? Read the book and ponder…

Reviewed by Rona Bure