The Assisi Compilation - 154 


Seeing that the Lord willed to increase the number of brothers, blessed Francis told them: "My dearest brothers and sons, I see that the Lord wants us to increase. Therefore, it seems good and religious to me to obtain from the bishop, or the canons of San Rufino, or from the abbot of the monastery of Saint Benedict, some small and poor little church where the brothers can say their Hours and only have next to it a small and poor little house built of mud and branches where they can sleep and care for their needs. This place is not suitable, and this house is too small for the brothers to stay in, since it pleases the Lord to increase them, especially because here we do not have a church where the brothers can say their Hours. And, should any brother die, it would not be proper to bury him here or in a church of the secular clergy." This speech pleased the other brothers.

So blessed Francis got up and went to the bishop of Assisi. The same speech he made to the brothers he made to the bishop. "Brother," the bishop answered him, "I do not have any church that I can give you." Then he went to the canons of San Rufino and said the same thing to them. But they gave him the same answer as the bishop. He went, therefore, to the monastery of Saint Benedict on Mount Subasio, and made the same speech to the abbot he had made to the bishop and the canons, informing him also of how the bishop and the canons had responded. The abbot was moved to piety and took counsel with his brothers about this.

As it was the will of God, they granted blessed Francis and his brothers the church of Saint Mary of the Portiuncula as the poorest little church they had. In fact, it was also the poorest little church in the area around the city of Assisi, something blessed Francis had desired for a long time.

"Brother, we have granted your request," the abbot told blessed Francis. "But, if the Lord increases your congregation, we want this place to be the head of all your places." And this speech pleased blessed Francis and his brothers.

Blessed Francis was overjoyed at the place granted to the brothers, especially because of the name of this church of the Mother of Christ, and because it was such a poor little church, and because of the surname it had, for it was surnamed: "of the Portiuncula." This name foreshadowed that it was to be the mother and head of the poor Lesser Brothers. It was called "Portiuncula" after the neighbor




Compilatio Assisiensis, Fontes Franciscani, p. 1532-1534


1Videns beatus Franciscus quod numerum fratrum Dominus vellet multiplicare, dixit ad eos: « Carissimi fratres et filioli mei, video quod Dominus vult nos multiplicare; 2unde michi videtur bonum et religiosum acquirere ab episcopo vel canonicis Sancti Ruphini aut ab abbate monasterii Sancti Benedicti aliquam parvam et pauperculam ecclesiam ubi fratres valeant dicere horas suas, 3et solummodo habere iuxta eam aliquam parvam et pauperculam domum ex luto et vigminibus constructam, ubi fratres possint quiescere et operari suas necessitates: 4quoniam locus iste non est honestus et hec domus est fratribus ad manendum valde parva, ex quo Domino placet illos multiplicare, et maxime quia non habemus hic ecclesiam ubi fratres dicere possint horas suas, 5et si aliquis moreretur, non esset honestum ipsum hic sepeliri nec in ecclesia clericorum secularium ». 6Et placuit sermo ceteris fratribus.

7Surrexit ergo beatus Franciscus et ivit ad episcopum Assisii et eadem verba que coram fratribus proposuerat, proposuit coram episcopo. 8Cui episcopus respondit dicens: « Frater, non habeo aliquam ecclesiam quam vobis dare valeam ». 9Ille ivit ad canonicos Sancti Ruphini et similia verba eis dixit; illi vero sicut episcopus responderunt. 10Ivit ergo ad monasterium Sancti Benedicti de monte Subasio et coram abbate illa eadem verba, sicut coram episcopo et canonicis, proposuit: insuper qualiter episcopus et canonici sibi responderunt. 11Abbas vero pietate motus, habito consilio de hoc cum fratribus suis,

et sicut de voluntate Domini fuit, concesserunt beato Francisco et fratribus suis ecclesiam sancte Marie de Portiuncula pro magis paupercula ecclesia quam haberent; 12erat et magis paupercula quam aliqua esset in circuitu civitatis Assisii; quod diu desideraverat beatus Franciscus.

13Et dixit abbas beato Francisco: « Frater, quod petisti exaudivimus; sed volumus quod si Dominus congregationem vestram multiplicaverit, iste locus sit caput omnium vestrum». 14Et placuit sermo beato Francisco et ceteris fratribus suis.

15Et gavisus est inde plurimum beatus Franciscus de loco fratribus concesso et maxime propter nomen ecclesie Matris Christi et quod ita paupercula ecclesia erat et de cognomine quod habebat: 16cognominabatur enim de Portiuncula, in quo prefigurabatur quod futura esset mater et caput pauperum Minorum fratrum. 17Unde Portiuncula dicta est propter illam contratam ubi constructa est illa ecclesia,

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 154