"My task . . . is to rely as much as possible on both written and visual sources, although I obviously must consider the discoveries and insights of modern scholarship, in order to present Francis of Assisi as a major figure in the mystical tradition. This means I will not be much concerned with Francis as the founder of a religious order. I will not present a detailed biography, although the first chapter provides a general overview in order to make the more detailed discussions of his spirituality more intelligible. Rather than attempt to discuss all texts by and about Francis of a mystical nature, I shall instead focus on six elements of his life and spirituality--his conversion; his relationship to the created world; the creation of the Christmas crib at Greccio; the role of learning; the relationship between the active and contemplative life; and his stigmatization at LaVerna in 1224, two years before his death. I believe that a detailed discussion and analysis of these aspects of Francis's life will best introduce the reader to Francis of Assisi."
--from the Introduction