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The Poverty of RichesSt. Francis of Assisi Reconsidered$
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Kenneth Baxter Wolf

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780195158083

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0195158083.001.0001

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St. Francis and His Tunic

St. Francis and His Tunic

(p.16) 2 St. Francis and His Tunic
The Poverty of Riches

Kenneth Baxter Wolf (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Francis's choice of clothing after his conversion illustrates the extent to which he constructed his own poverty. Though he was content early on simply wearing whatever poor clothes he could find, ultimately he decided, inspired by his reading of Christ's instructions to the apostles, to design his own “voluntary poverty” costume: a tunic that was designed to be deliberately unattractive, uncomfortable, and cross‐shaped. By doing this, Francis distinguished himself not only from the apostles but also from normal poor people who, we imagine, would have engaged in this kind of deliberate “downsizing” of their wardrobe only if their goal was to attract more sympathy from potential almsgivers.

Keywords:   almsgivers, apostles, clothing, conversion, poverty, tunic

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