In the spring of 2008, Jon Sweeney set out to discover at first-hand two of the finest examples of medieval faith, the Abbey of Mont St Michel, on the Normandy coast, and the soaring Chartres Cathedral in the fields of the Loire Valley one hour south of Paris.
Stepping outside the bounds of the cerebral armchair journey, Jon Sweeney uncovers what once drove men to construct enormous abbeys and cathedrals with gargoyles, rounded arches, rose windows, dark recesses and flying buttresses. In the modern imagination, these structures tell a series of fictions about the meaning of life; but this is an anachronism that would have made no sense to their medieval creators. Instead, Sweeney offers a series of reflections on seven words of Gothic spirituality , space, sanctuary, stone, light, darkness, gargoyles, and flight , and shows how they point to essential ways of being Christian today.
Jon M. Sweeney
Jon M. Sweeney is an independent scholar and one of religion’s most respected writers. His work has been hailed by everyone from PBS and James Martin, S.J., to Fox News and Dan Savage. He’s been interviewed on CBS Saturday Morning, Fox News, CBS-TV Chicago, Religion and Ethics Newsweekly, and on the popular program Chicago Tonight. Several of his books have become Book-of-the-Month Club and Quality Paperback Book Club selections. His popular medieval history, The Pope Who Quit, was published by Image/Random House and optioned by HBO. It was a selection of the History Book Club and received a starred review in Booklist. His book, When Saint Francis Saved the Church, received a 2015 award for excellence in history from the Catholic Press Association. His other works include Inventing Hell, The Complete Francis of Assisi, and The St. Francis Prayer Book. Sweeney writes regularly for America and The Tablet, and is also the editorial director at Franciscan Media. He is married, the father of three, and lives in Vermont.