Dominican Hagiography and Sermons - 787 

Blessed Dominic then carefully studied his companion in that vision, for he did not know him previously. The next day, however, encountering Francis in the church,a Dominic recognized him as the one he had seen during the night. He ran up and tenderly embraced him with a kiss, saying: "You are my comrade and will run together with me; let us stand together, and no adversary will prevail against us." He recounted to Francis his vision; and from that time on they became but one heart and one mind in God. They also enjoined their posterity to foster this fellowship for all time.

Stephen of Bourbon (1250-61)

Stephen, born in Belleville-sur-Saône (c. 1185-90), was a student at Paris (c. 1217-22), where he became acquainted with the newly-founded Order of Preachers, which was just becoming established there at the time. He was attached to the priory in Lyons in 1223, where he appears to have been based for the rest of his life. Stephen was a noted preacher and traveled widely; he was named to the office of inquisitor in 1235. He is best known for his vast collection of sermon aids, one of the first of its kind, the Tractatus de diversis materiis praedicabilis, which was still incomplete at the time of his death in 1261.b Arranged around the theme of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, Stephen's work featured many illustrative anecdotes or exampla, which preachers might find useful in composing their own sermons.c Several of his exampla concern St. Francis; the first of these is an account of Francis's showing reverence to a sinful priest.d

. . . I have heard that once, while Saint Francis was traveling through Lombardy, he entered into a church to pray, when a certain man ran up to him. Now this man, who was a Patarine or a Manichean,e was aware of the reputation for holiness that blessed Francis had among the people, and so he decided to take advantage of his visit to attract people to his own sect, subvert their faith, and bring the priestly office into contempt. For the parish priest there was notorious for his immoral life, it being known throughout the district that he kept a concubine. And so this man said to the saint: "Look, should we believe what a priest says and reverence the sacraments

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Fontes Franciscani, p.


Beauts igitur Dominicus in visione illa socium diligenter considerans, quem ante non noverat, in crastinum, cum eum in ecclesia reperisset, ex his, quae nocte viderat, recognovit et in oscula sancta ruens et sinceros amplexus dixit: "Tu es socius meus, tu curres pariter mecum; stemus simul, et nullus adversarius praevalebit." Visionem etiam praedictam narravit; et ex tunc facti sunt cor unum et anima una in Deo. Quod et in suis posteris mandaverunt in perpetuum observari.

Audivi, quod, cum beatus Francishus iret per Lumbardiam, quidam paccharius sive manichaeus, cum ingressus fuisset quandam ecelesiam ad orandum beatus Franciscus, videns famam sanctitatis, quam habebat in populo, occurrit ei et volens per eum populum sibi allicere et fidem subvertere et officium sacerdotale contemptibile reddere, cum parrochialis sacerdos esset infamis in parrochia de hoc, quod concubinam teneret, dixit dicto sancto: "Ecce, estne credendum dictis huius, et factis eius aliqua reverentia exhibenda,

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 787