The Assisi Compilation - 193 

see me. But she is so poor that I have to help her for the love of God and give her expenses."

When blessed Francis heard this, moved by piety for her, he called one of the companions, who was his guardian, and said to him: "Brother Guardian, we have to give back what belongs to someone else." "And, what is that, brother?" he said. "That mantle," he replied, "which we received as a loan from that poor woman with eye trouble. We must give it back to her." "Do what you think best, brother," the guardian answered.

With joy, blessed Francis called a spiritual man, who was extremely close to him, and said to him: "Take this mantle and a dozen loaves of bread with you, and go to that poor and sick woman whom the doctor, who is taking care of her, will point out to you. Say to her: 'The poor man to whom you lent this mantle thanks you for the loan of the mantle which you made with him. Take what is yours.' "

He went then and told her everything as blessed Francis had told him. Thinking he was joking, she replied with fear and embarrassment: "Leave me in peace. I don't know what you are talking about!" He placed the mantle and the dozen loaves of bread in her hands. When the woman reflected that he had spoken the truth, she accepted everything with trembling and her heart filled with joy. Then, fearful that he would take it back, she secretly got up during the night and joyfully returned to her home.

Moreover, blessed Francis also told his guardian that every day, for the love of God, he should give her food for as long as she stayed there.

We who were with blessed Francis bear witness that, sick or well, he displayed such charity and piety, not only to his brothers, but also toward the poor, whether healthy or sick. Thus, he deprived himself of the necessities of his body that the brothers procured for him with great devotion and solicitude. At first coaxing us not to worry, with great inner and outer joy, he would then offer to others things he had denied his own body, even though they were extremely necessary for him.

And that is why the general minister and his guardian ordered him not to give his tunic to any brother without their permission. Because the brothers, out of the devotion they had for him, would occasionally ask him for his tunic, and he would immediately give it to them. Or he himself, if he saw a sickly or poorly clad brother, would at times cut his habit in half, giving one part to him and keeping the other for himself, for he wanted to have and to wear only one tunic.




Compilatio Assisiensis, Fontes Franciscani, p. 1611-1613

« Frater, quedam mulier infirma oculis venit ad me; sed tantum est paupercula quod ipsam oportet me adiuvari amore Dei et dari illi expensas ».

3Quo audito, beatus Franciscus pietate motus super eam a, advocans sibi unum de sociis qui erat eius guardianus, dixit ad eum: « Frater guardiane, oportet nos reddere alienum ». Qui dixit: « Quid est illud, frater? ». 4At ille: « Istum, inquit, mantellum quem accepimus mutuo ab illa muliere paupercula et infirma oculis oportet nos sibi reddere ». 5Dixit ad eum guardianus eius: « Frater, quod tibi melius inde videbitur, facias ».

6Beatus Franciscus cum hilaritate vocavit quendam spiritualem hominem qui erat ei nimis familiaris, et dixit ad eum: 7« Tolle hunc mantellum et .XII. panes cum eo, et vade, et dic taliter illi mulieri paupercule et infirme, quam tibi ostenderit medicus qui medetur ipsi: 8Pauper homo, cui accomandasti hunc mantellum, gratias tibi refert de mutuatione mantelli quam sibi fecisti ; tolle quod tuum est ».

9Ivit ergo ille et dixit illi omnia sicut sibi dixerat beatus Franciscus. 10Illa vero existimans sibi illudi, cum timore et verecundia dixit ad eum: « Dimitte me in pace, nescio enim quid dicis ». 11Ille vero posuit mantellum et .XII. pa[nes in ma]nibus eius. 12Mulier vero considerans quod in veritate diceret, cum tremore et exultatione cordis accipit illum, et [ti]mens ne sibi auferretur, surrexit de nocte occulte et reversa est gaudens in domum suam.

13Immo etiam dixerat beatus Franciscus guardiano suo ut cotidie, dum ibi maneret, daret illi expensas amore Dei.

14Unde nos qui fuimus cum e beato Francisco, testimonium perhibemus de ipso, quod erat tante caritatis et pietatis in sua sanitate [et infirmitate] non solum erga suos fratres, sed etiam erga pauperes sanos et infirmos; 15ut necessaria sui corporis, que fratres aliquando cum multa sollicitudine et devotione acquirebant, prius nobis blandiens ut non inde conturbaremur, cum multa letitia interiori et exteriori aliis exhiberet et suo corpori subtraheret, etiamsi sibi valde necessaria.

16Et propter hoc generalis minister et guardianus eius preceperant ei, ut nulli fratri suam tunicam daret sine eorum licentia; 17quoniam fratres propter devotionem quam habebant in ipso, aliquando petebant sibi et ipse statim dabat eis, 18vel ipsemet cum videret aliquem fratrem, infirmitium, vel male vestitum, aliquando dabat ei tunicam, aliquando dividebat eam et partem dabat partemque sibi retinebat, quoniam non portabat nec volebat habere nisi tunicam unam.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 193