Monday, November 9, 2015

Patricia Appelbaum

Patricia Appelbaum is the author of St. Francis of America: How a Thirteenth-Century Friar Became America's Most Popular Saint.

From her Q & A with Gina Mahalek at the University of North Carolina Press website:

Gina Mahalek: Why did you want to write about St. Francis?

Patricia Appelbaum: He is everywhere in American culture. People who are not otherwise interested in saints often know about St. Francis and admire him. You can buy a statue of him at Walmart or at a garden center. You can download songs about him from iTunes. Mainline Protestants, evangelicals, and Roman Catholics all sing hymns by or about him, and some Eastern Orthodox honor him. The Blessing of the Animals on St. Francis day is a public phenomenon in New York and has spread across the nation. We don’t see this kind of multidimensional popularity and creative expression with, let’s say, St. Thomas Aquinas or St. Catherine of Siena.

GM: Did Pope Francis have anything to do with this?

PA: I started the book before Pope Francis was elected, but I find him a very striking figure. A famous Roman Catholic theologian remarked that no previous pope has dared to take the name of Francis. The saint’s example is a very challenging one—a call to...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue