In this literary and historical detective story, Dr. Pieper explores the sources for our knowledge of St. Elizabeth’s life, and describes the discovery and reconstruction of a new Franciscan life of her from the end of the thirteenth century that contains lost portions of her canonization process. The book describes and discusses the new work, the Anonymous Franciscan, which gives many new details about Elizabeth’s life, relationship with the friars and her Franciscan vocation from the people who knew her.
The book also places this new life in the context of the other known sources, what they say about Elizabeth as a person, and how people of her time understood the penitent life as practiced in the nascent Franciscan Third Order.
The book is an updated and revised version of Dr. Pieper’s 2001 doctoral dissertation in history at Fordham University. The first printed edition was published in 2007.