The Sun and Moon over Assisi: A Personal Encounter With Francis and Clare

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( 14 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780867163933: The Sun and Moon over Assisi: A Personal Encounter With Francis and Clare
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I found the story of Francis life to be extremely interesting. He inflamed my imagination. Writing about him, in truth, was a way for me to get to know him better. I didn't realize it, but it was also a way for me to get to know God better.... Francis became my guide, showing
me the way. (from a Pilgrimage Diary)

The Sun and Moon Over Assisi reveals how the lives of the two medieval saints from Assisi--Francis and Clare--helped to transform the life of a thoroughly modern cynic from Los Angeles, California. The major events
of the lives of the two saints are unfolded here in a series of vivid and
engaging stories. Alongside the history of Francis and Clare, another
story unfolds: the story of the spiritual transformation of the author, Hollywood filmmaker and television producer Gerard Straub, illustrating how Francis and Clare still speak to the present-day, secularized person. The author takes the reader with him, in a series of pilgrimage diaries and reflections, to the beautiful Italian sites important to the two saints. With Straub, we traverse the charming Umbrian hill towns, including Assisi, tour its churches and examine the art of Giotto found there. The Sun and Moon Over Assisi tells of an interior pilgrimage that will inspire the modern reader.

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Review:

The unlikely pilgrim in this highly recommended story is Gerard Thomas Straub, a former television producer who worked on popular soap operas such as "General Hospital" and "The Doctors." Raised as a Catholic, Straub fell into a bout of atheism after a disillusioning stint working for one of television's leading Christian evangelists. Nonetheless, Straub was blessed (or is it cursed?) with a seeker's soul and a novelist's imagination. He couldn't stay away from the quest for spiritual understanding. The upshot is a story within a story: the story of two saints from Assisi, Francis and Clare, as well as the story of how a disillusioned man finds himself in the Umbrian hills of Italy, completely entranced by these two legendary Italians.

If you enter this book as you would a meditation, you'll be fine. If you're looking for a light, straightforward narrative, move on. One must be willing to stop fidgeting and let go of expectations of how a memoir or a biography of a saint should read. Instead, this is a wandering and unfolding book that reveals deeper layers with every turn of page. Not only does it unveil the stories of Francis and Clare, it also reveals the classic human quest, where we face our most vulnerable spiritual questions and fears. Billed as an introduction to Franciscan scholarship, this is really more beautiful and ambitious. Consider it a primer on the art of Christian pilgrimage. --Gail Hudson

About the Author:

GERARD THOMAS STRAUB is the author of the critically acclaimed The Sun and Moon Over Assisi: A Personal Encounter with Francis and Clare (St. Anthony Messenger Press), a book of reflections on the two saints of Assisi that earned the 2001 Catholic Press Association first place award for Spirituality Hardcover books and was named one of Spirituality & Health magazine s Best Spiritual Books of 2001. Mr. Straub is also the author of Dear Kate, a novel, and Salvation for Sale, a nonfictional look at the world of televangelism.

Mr. Straub has had a long and distinguished career as a television producer and director. He produced, wrote and directed We Have a Table for Four Ready, a documentary film on the St. Francis Inn, a soup kitchen in the slums of Philadelphia operated by Franciscan friars, and Room Enough for Joy, a documentary film that tells the story of L Arche community in Tacoma, Washington. Mr. Straub also directed Glidepath to Recovery, a documentary film that showcases the work of a diocesan priest in Albany, New York, who works with drug addicts and ex-convicts. The three films have aired on many PBS stations. Mr. Straub has also produced numerous television shows for CBS, NBC and ABC, including the wildly popular soap opera General Hospital.

Mr. Straub annually teaches a month-long course on film writing and directing at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. He is a member of the Board of Directors of Bread for the World, a Washington, D.C.-based Christian organization that lobbies Congress on behalf of the rights of the poor. He founded and is president of the San Damiano Foundation that provides funds to communicate through films the spirituality of Saints Francis and Clare of Assisi. Mr. Straub is a Secular Franciscan and lives in North Hollywood, California, with his wife and two dogs.

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