Papal Documents - 780 

ity of the stigmata.a The fullest of these is the declaration, Benigna operatio, which was addressed to all the bishops of the church, obliges the faithful to believe in the truth of the stigmata; it is especially interesting for the Pope's own eye-witness testimony.b

. . . While he was still among the Church Militant and later when he was triumphant in the ranks of the saints, the divine power deigned to glorify Francis with many miracles. Pope Gregory, our predecessor of happy memory, caused these miracles to be subjected to the most careful investigation and to be shown as most evident by the most trustworthy documents, lest either evil, which is jealous of sanctity, pervert them, or the finger of oblivion, which quickly erases deeds, destroy them. By adding this same confessor's name to the catalogue of the saints, the Pontiff caused these miracles to be entrusted to everlasting memory for the glory of God, for a proof of faith, and for the salutary instruction of both those now living and of even those to come.

It would take too long to describe each single miracle or even to outline in a brief report the evident prodigies of divine power, which provided both in works of healing and in other remarkable evidence that this confessor holds a place of glory with the saints in heaven. Therefore, we wish at least to set before your eyes those gratifying insignia of the Lord's Passion which should be frequently recalled and greatly admired, and which the hand of divine operation impressed on the body of this saint while he was still alive. Eyes looking closely saw, and touching fingers became most sure, that in his hands and feet a truly formed likeness of nails grew out of the substance of his own flesh or was added from some newly created material. While he was still living, the Saint zealously hid these from the eyes of men whose praise he shunned.

After he had died, a wound in his side, which was not inflicted or made by man, was clearly seen in his body. It was something like the side of our Savior, which revealed in our Redeemer the mystery of the redemption and salvation of mankind. This wound had existed for a long time while he was still alive. It could not be hidden from certain brothers who were his close companions, because it exuded fluid.




Fontes Franciscani, p.

. . . multis cum Divina potentia adhuc militantem inter homines; & demum in Sanctorum agmine triumphantem dignata est clarificare miraculis; quae felicis record Gregorius Papa praedecessor noster, ne illa vel perverteret aemula sanctitatis iniquitas, vel oblivionis digitus, qui rebus gestis cito superducitur, abolesceret; solertissimis inquisitionibus indagata, & comperta fidelissimis documentis fecit ad laudem Dei, & augumentum Fidei, & instructionem salubrem tam praesentium, quam etiam futurorum monumentis perpetuis commendari, eumdem Confessorem Sanctorum catalogo adscribendo, sicut in plurimis locis liquido per ipsius praedictas litteras apparet harum seriem explicite continentes.

Porro quia longum esset, nedum exarare per singula, verum etiam succinta relatione perstringere clara virtutis divinae prodigia, quae tam in operationibus sanctitatis, quam etiam in aliis mirabilibus argumentis probaverunt eumdem Confessorem tenere cum Sanctis solium gloriae in excelsis; signanter vobis ante oculos proponere volumus recolenda frequentius, & vehementius admiranda illa saltem jucunda dominicae passionis insignia; quae in ejusdem Sancti corpore manus caelestis operationis impressit. Viderunt namque oculi fideliter intuentes, & certissimi palpantium digiti palpaverunt; quod in manibus ejus, & pedibus expressa undique similitudo clavorum de subjecto proprio carnis excrevit, vel de materia novae creationis accrevit, quae equidem idem Sanctus studiose ab oculis hominum, quorum refugiebat gloriam, dum viveret, abscondebat.

Inventa est patentius in ipsius Defuncti corpore non inflicta humanitus, nec facta plaga vulneris lateralis, quasi aliquid instar lateris Salvatoris, quod salvationis, redemptionis humanae in Redemptore Nostro protulit Sacramentum: quae quidem plaga, sicut quosdam ex Fratribus sibi familiariter adhaerentibus latere non potuit propter defluxum humoris; si diu antea viruerat in vivente. . .

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 780