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Franciscan Book Reviews   

Franciscan Solitude
by Raischl, Cirino: The Franciscan Institute, 1995

"The anthology gathers into one place and one language twenty-seven essays from Italian, German, Latin, and English sources. This is a large task of editing and translating, and the editors have done a fine job of making this tradition accessible to an English-speaking audience.

The book's five chapters help to locate the Franciscan solitude tradition in its context. The pre-Franciscan experience of solitude is traced first, beginning with the New Testament accounts of Jesus in solitary places, moving through the desert hermits of early monasticism, and into the lay and women's eremitical movements in the centuries just before Francis and Clare. "Ideals of the Women's Hermitage Movement" by Edith Pásztor is especially important for casting light on the traditions contemporary with the growth of the Poor Clares. The work of Benedikt Mertens, OFM, on solitude and hermitages in the life of Francis (Chapter 2) helps to illuminate an aspect of Francis' "evangelical life.”

The heart of the book is Chapter 3 on the "Rule for Hermitages" with a critical edition of the text and commentaries. These pages make available Kajetan Esser's Latin and German work on the text. The editors have chosen to show the ongoing vitality of the Franciscan Tradition of the hermitage from the thirteenth to the twentieth centuries. "

William J. Short OFM

 

The truly stimulating collection of essays, Franciscan Solitude
. . .probes the wealth of the contemplative tradition that has always marked the Franciscan movement in its most vital periods.

 Dominic Monti OFM
in The Cord, Vol. 49,
No. 1, 1999, p. 35.