St. Francis and His Tunic

Kenneth Baxter Wolf

in The Poverty of Riches

Published in print March 2003 | ISBN: 9780195158083
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199834877 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Historical Theology

 St. Francis and His Tunic

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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

Chapter.  1551 words. 

Subjects: Christianity

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