Ecumenical publisher Paraclete Press is ramping up its output of titles on Franciscan spirituality with San Damiano Books. The new imprint will exclusively publish books by both vowed Franciscans and laypeople on the teachings of Saint Francis of Assisi—who emphasized the goodness of God and creation—and one of his first followers, Saint Clare.

Paraclete’s editor-in-chief Jon Sweeney cited a need for the imprint due to today’s lack of Franciscan trade book publishers. San Damiano Books joins Franciscan Media as the only publishers dedicated solely to Franciscan works. “A generation ago, there were three, sometimes four, terrific Franciscan publishers of trade books. Today, we only have one,” he said. “At Paraclete, we've developed a passion for, and expertise in, Franciscan spirituality and history over the last decade.”

San Damiano Books, named after the church located just outside Assisi's city center where St. Francis heard God’s voice, will publish fiction and nonfiction books for children and adults. Paraclete, which publishes 35 books a year on average, projects its overall output to increase to 40 new titles a year with the new imprint. Changes to the staff are not expected, as Paraclete’s current editorial, marketing, and publicity teams are overseeing San Damiano Books.

The first book to be published under the imprint, St. Francis and the Animals: A Mother Bird’s Story by Phil Gallery, illustrated by Sibyl MacKenzie, is slated to go on sale on Sept. 4. Francis of Assisi In His Own Words: The Essential Writings, 2nd edition by Sweeney will follow on October 2, and up to six books are expected in 2019, including books by Wendy Murray and John Michael Talbot.