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                                where there is doubt…

                                “ ’m sure you will be flooded by letters from pedants, so
                                     let me be the first,” wrote one subscriber upon receiving
                                the September 25 Commonweal. “The St. Francis pictured
                                on the cover is St. Francis Xavier, not St. Francis of Assisi.”
                                We weren’t exactly flooded, but we did hear from a few other
                                readers who were sure we’d gotten our Francises mixed up.
                                Not to worry!
                                   It’s true that the saint from Assisi is striking an unusually
                                forceful pose in the statue that graced our cover, which shows
                                him preaching, clutching a crucifix in one hand and gestur-
                                ing above his head with the other. It seemed a good image
                                to illustrate Paul Moses’s story of a little-known episode in
                                Francis’s life as a preacher of the gospel. It is reminiscent of
                                the typical representation of St. Francis Xavier, one of the
                                original followers of St. Ignatius. As a Jesuit, however, Francis
                                Xavier wears a cassock (sometimes covered by a surplice),
                                while our Francis—a wooden sculpture by Johann Baptist
                                Moroder, which you can see in the Ortisei parish church in
                                Tyrollean Italy—is dressed in the Franciscan habit, a robe with
                                a cincture of knotted rope. A close look at his hands reveals
                                the marks of the stigmata. But the surest giveaway that this
                                is indeed Francis of Assisi is the presence of a rabbit and a
                                bird near his feet (see photo)—a detail that didn’t make the
                                magazine cover. It is well known that the Jesuit suffered from
                                a lifelong fear of small animals.

                                an added dimension

                                T     homas Berry (1914–2009), the American cultural histo-
                                      rian and “eco-theologian” who relished exploring natural
                                boundaries and broadening religious understanding, died in
                                North Carolina in June. Last month, friends, scholars, and art-
                                ists honored him at a resounding celebratory memorial at the
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