The Life of Blessed Francis - 546 

7 At the same time, another good man entered the religion, bringing the number of the man of God's blessed offspring to seven. Then the pious father called all his sons to himself and, as he told them many things about the kingdom of God, contempt for the world, the denial of their own wills, and the chastising of their bodies, he revealed his proposal to send them to the four corners of the world.

For the poor and sterile simplicity of our holy father
had already brought seven to birth
and now he wished to bring to birth in Christ the Lord
all the faithful of the world called to cries of penance.

"Go," the gentle father said to his sons, "while you are announcing peace to the people, preach repentance for the forgiveness of sins. Be patient in trials, watchful in prayer, strenuous in work, moderate in speech, reserved in manner, and grateful for favors, for because of all these things an eternal kingdom is being prepared for you." As they humbly prostrated themselves on the ground before God's servant, they accepted the command of obedience with a spirit of joy. Then he spoke to each one individually: "Cast your care upon the Lord, and he will sustain you. Ps 55:23 [Vulgate, Ps 54:23] " He was accustomed to saying this phrase whenever he sent a brother under obedience.

Knowing he should give himself as an example to others, he too then set out with one companion for one part of the world that he might first practice rather than preach. The remaining six he sent to three other parts of the world, thus forming the pattern of a cross.

After a short time had passed,
the kind father,
longing for the presence of his dear children,
since he could not bring them together as one by himself,
prayed that this be done by the One
who gathers the dispersed of Israel.
So it happened that,

after a short time,
without any human summons,
they all came together according to his desire,
quite unexpectedly and much to their amazement,
through the working of divine kindness.
During those days four upright men joined them,
increasing their number to twelve.




Legenda Maior, Fontes Franciscani, p. 798-799

7 1Eodem quoque tempore quodam alio bono viro religionem intrante, ad septenarium numerum viri Dei soboles benedicta pervenit. 2Tunc pius pater omnes ad se filios convocavit et plura eis de regno Dei, de contemptu mundi, de abnegatione propriae voluntatis corporisque castigatione pronuntians, propositum suum de mittendo illos in quatuor partes orbis aperuit.

3Iam enim sterilis et paupercula simplicitas sancti patris
pepererat septem
et desiderabat universitatem fidelium,
ad poenitentiae lamenta vocatam, Christo Domino parturire.

4« Ite », inquit dulcis pater ad filios, « annuntiantes hominibus pacem, praedicate poenitentiam in remissionem peccatorum. 5Estote in tribulationibus patientes, in orationibus vigiles, in laboribus strenui, in sermonibus modesti, in moribus graves et in beneficiis grati, quia pro his omnibus regnum vobis praeparatur aeternum ». 6At illi coram servo Dei humiliter se prosternentes in terram, cum gaudio spiritus suscipiebant obedientiae sanctae mandatum. 7Ipse vero dicebat unicuique singillatim: « Iacta cogitatum tuum in Domino, et ipse te enutriet ». 8Hoc verbum dicere solitus erat, quotiescumque fratrem aliquem ad obedientiam dirigebat.

9Tunc et ipse, sciens se datum aliis in exemplum, ut prius faceret, quam doceret, cum uno sociorum versus unam orbis partem perrexit, reliquis sex ad modum crucis tribus aliis mundi partibus deputatis.

10Modico autem elapso post tempore,
benignus pater
carae prolis exoptans praesentiam,
cum in unum eos per se convocare non posset,
per eum
orabat hoc fieri,
qui d1Spersiones congregat Israelis.
11Sicque factum est,
ut absque
humana vocatione
omnes ex insperato post modicum temporis iuxta eius desiderium,
divina operante clementia,
non sine ipsorum admiratione pariter convenirent.
12Illis quoque diebus quatuor sibi adhaerentibus viris honestis,
ad duodenarium numerum excreverunt.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 546