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St. Francis, Asceticism, and Mysticism with G.K. Chesterton

Join this course to discover G.K. Chesterton’s fascinating biography that offers a unique perspective on the life and teachings of St. Francis, one of the most beloved and admired saints of the Catholic Church.

Total classes: 6

Prerequisite: An interest in the writings and thoughts of G.K. Chesterton.

Suggested grade level: 9th to 12th grade

Suggested credit: 1/2 semester Literature or History.


The patron saint of animals, birds, and the environment, Francis of Assisi led the rediscovery of nature in the Christian West. This magnificent spiritual biography, St. Francis of Assisi, by the phenomenally popular G.K. Chesterton—a convert to Catholicism—chronicles the beloved saint’s calling, his extraordinary life, and his influence in the Church.
Francesco Bernardone started out as a colorful troubadour with a fondness for French poetry, extravagant with money . . . until the sight of a beggar seeking alms opened his eyes to a world beyond himself. The scene so moved him, he vowed to God that he would devote his life to the poor and embrace a life of simplicity.
This sense of humility and generosity continues to call to each of us today. With great affection, Chesterton explores the life and times of St. Francis—his joyous devotion, his sense of compassion and love for all creation, his visions and miracles, his stigmata, and his band of followers that became the Franciscan Order. Praising this great and original man who became one of the most popular figures in Christendom, the author calls him “a poet whose whole life was a poem.” Here is a stimulating read for Chesterton fans, Christian readers, and anyone looking for a burst of pure inspiration.


Class One: Introduction to St. Francis, Asceticism, and Mysticism
Classes Two through Six: We will read one to two chapters per week

Materials and Homework

Course Materials: St. Francis of Assisi by G. K. Chesterton. So that all students are on the same page as the instructor, purchase this edition: https://www.chesterton.org/shop/st-francis-of-assisi/.

Homework: Weekly reading and automated quizzes (for immediate feedback). Expect to spend approx. one to two hours outside of the classroom for homework each week. There will be two optional writing assignments of 500-600 words each for those who would like to go the extra mile.

Important Dates

Class dates: Thursdays, January 11 to February 22, 2024. (No class February 15)

Starting time: 4:00 PM Eastern (3:00 Central; 2:00 Mountain; 1:00 Pacific)

Duration per class: 55 minutes

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