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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 Lady Poverty

St. Francis and Lady Poverty

Chapter:
(p.30) 4 St. Francis and Lady Poverty
Source:
The Poverty of Riches
Author(s):

Kenneth Baxter Wolf (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0195158083.003.0005

Francis's fascination with poverty as a spiritual discipline is nowhere better illustrated than in the allegory, the Sacred Commerce of St. Francis and Lady Poverty, which appears to have been written about a decade after the saint's death. In the Sacred Commerce, Francis is depicted as a suitor to Lady Poverty, the personification of the perfect poverty that Francis spent his life pursuing. Borrowing tropes from the biblical books of the Song of Songs, Proverbs, and Wisdom, as well as from chivalric romance, the author used the courtship of Francis and Lady Poverty as a way of underscoring the threats posed to religious orders like the Franciscans by the enticements of Lady Poverty's rival, Greed.

Keywords:   allegory, chivalric romance, Greed, Lady Poverty, Sacred Commerce of St. Francis and Lady Poverty, Song of Songs

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