Who was Saint Francis? Today he is most often a sweet ceramic statue in a garden, a sentimentalized romantic figure. But A Gathering of Larks
, containing forty personal letters from Abigail Carroll to Francis, reveals him to be a complex man who lived a fascinating life of radical faith.
These letters—part devotion, part historical biography, part contemporary engagement, and part inspiration—reveal Carroll's curiosity and wonder about Francis. She celebrates his whimsical idealism and impetuousness, explores his spirituality and commitment to poverty, and sometimes even questions him. She also uses Francis as a sounding board for larger questions about the world—and, through her own experience, explores how brokenness makes experiencing redemption possible.
As beautiful as it is insightful, alight with a pilgrim's growing sense of discovery, A Gathering of Larks
has both range and depth that will uplift readers and challenge them to better understand this singular saint and how he might speak to and shape their way of living in today's world.
— author of Falling Upward and Immortal Diamond
"Witty, compassionate, and rich, these lyrical letters to Saint Francis court wonder, inviting the reader on a pilgrimage to the heart."
Daniel P. Horan
— author of God Is Not Fair, and Other Reasons for Gratitude
"The poetry of these letters will speak to the hearts of all those inspired by the life and model of Francis of Assisi. Perfect for meditation and prayer, Abigail Carroll's reflections offer a creative approach to spiritual renewal in our otherwise busy, technological, loud world."
— author of The Year of Small Things
"More than just a fresh glimpse of an exceptional saint whose humanity and complexity Carroll delightfully renders. This is also the welcome debut of an exceptional poet, whose deep humility and adroitness with poetic form are rare qualities she shares with Francis himself. Earthy, honest, a pure delight."
— author of A Book of Uncommon Prayer
"A most refreshing, eloquent, wonderfully unassuming, gentle inquiry into the actual Saint Francis, and the song of his awed life in Carroll's awed life, and the humility and wonder of that mysterious man as lodestar, compass point, companion along the spiritual road. Compulsively readable and re-readable."