Hunting the Little Poor Man of Assisi: Or, Why after 100 Years of Research I Still Had to Write Yet Another Life of St. Francis of Assisi

When and Where

Thursday, September 15, 2022 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Online Event


Augustine Thompson, O.P.


Since the 1890s, Franciscan and non-Franciscan scholars have been searching for new sources for the life of St. Francis and subjecting them to intensive study and analysis. We now know more about the evidence for this beloved saint than ever before, but there was, until this biography, virtually no attempt to use all this information to reconstruct the “Historical Francis.” This lecture will explain the difficulties of interpreting this evidence and why those most involved in its study have avoided using it to create a new biography. It will then explain the speaker’s own approach and how it produced a very different picture of St. Francis from that popularly received.

In February 2022 Father Augustine Thompson was appointed Praeses (President / Director) of the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies at the University of Toronto.  He is currently on leave from the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology and the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California.  He is the author of Francis of Assisi: A New Biography (Cornell University Press, 2012).  He joined the Order of Preachers (the Dominicans) in 1977, and was ordained a priest in 1985.

Zoom link:

Co-sponsored by: the Dominican Institute of Toronto, the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, the University of Toronto Department of Italian Studies, and the Istituto Italiano di Cultura (Toronto).

Contact Information


Italian Studies