The Legend of the Three Companions (1241-1247) - 408 

The Legend of the Three Companions

The following passage seems to come from the witness of Saint Clare herself since it is similar to her Testament 12-14. When both testimonies are put together, it appears that Saint Francis was more certain at that early period of helping to establish a monastery of women than a religious order of men.

24While he was working steadily at restoring the church, he wanted to have a lamp burning continually in the church, so he went through the city begging for oil. But when he was approaching a certain house, he saw a group of men gathered for a game. Ashamed to beg in front of them, he backed away. Mulling it over, he accused himself of having sinned. Hurrying back to the place where they were playing, he told everyone standing around his fault, that he was ashamed to beg because of them. And, in fervor of spirit, he entered that house and, for the love of God, begged in French for oil for the lamps of that church.

While laboring with others in that work, he used to cry to passers-by in a loud voice, filled with joy, saying in French: "Come and help me in the work of the church of San Damiano which, in the future, will be a monastery of ladies through whose fame and life our heavenly Father will be glorified throughout the church."a

See how, filled with the spirit of prophecy, he truly foretold the future! For this is that sacred place where the glorious religion and most excellent Order of Poor Ladies and sacred virgins had its happy beginning about six years after the conversion of blessed Francis and through the same blessed Francis. Their wondrous life and renowned practices were fully approved by the Lord Pope Gregory IX, of holy memory, at that time the




Clare of Assisi: Early Documents, p. 408