The Life of Blessed Francis - 636 

8Although he tried his best to hide the treasure found in the field, Mt 13:44 he could not prevent at least some from seeing the stigmata in his hands and feet, although he always kept his hands covered and from that time on always wore shoes.

A number of the brothers saw them while he was still alive. Although they were men of outstanding holiness and so completely trustworthy, nevertheless to remove all doubt they confirmed under oath, touching the most sacred Gospels, that this was so and that they had seen it.

Also some of the cardinals saw them because of their close friendship with the holy man; and they inserted praises of the sacred stigmata in the hymns, antiphons, and sequences which they composed in his honor, and thus by their words and writings gave testimony to the truth.a

Even the Supreme Pontiff Lord Alexander,b in a sermon preached to the people at which many of the brothers and I myself were present, affirmed that he had seen the sacred stigmata with his own eyes while the saint was still alive.

More than fifty brothers with the virgin Clare, who was most devoted to God, and her sisters, as well as innumerable laymen, saw them after his death. Many of them kissed the stigmata out of devotion and touched them with their own hands to strengthen their testimony, as we will describe in the proper place.

But the wound in his side he so cautiously concealed that as long as he was alive no one could see it except by stealth. One brother who used to zealously take care of him induced him with a pious care to take off his tunic to shake it out. Watching closely, he saw the wound, and he even quickly touched it with three of his fingers determining the size of the wound by both sight and touch. The brother who was his vicar at that time also managed to see it by similar care. A brother who was a companion of his, a man of marvelous simplicity, when he was one day rubbing his shoulders that were weak from illness, put his hand under his hood and accidentally touched the sacred wound, causing him great pain. As a result, from that time on, he always wore underclothes made so that they would reach

 Previous

Next 

 

Legenda Maior, Fontes Franciscani, p. 895-896


8 1Ipse vero, licet thesaurum inventum in agro multa diligentia studeret abscondere, latere tamen non potuit, quin aliqui stigmata manuum viderent ac pedum, quamquam manus quasi semper portaret contectas et pedibus ex tunc incederet calceatis.

2Viderunt enim, dum viveret, fratres plurimi, qui licet essent propter sanctitatem praecipuam viri per omnia fide digni, tamen ad omne dubium amovendum, sic esse ac se vidisse, tactis sacrosanctis, iuramento firmarunt.

3Viderunt etiam ex familiaritate, quam cum viro sancto habebant, aliqui cardinales, laudes sacrorum stigmatum prosis et hymnis ac antiphonis, quas ad ipsius ediderunt honorem, veraciter inserentes, qui tam verbo quam scripto perhibuerunt testimonium veritati.

4Summus etiam Pontifex dominus Alexander, cum populo praedicaret coram multis fratribus et me ipso, affirmavit, se, dum Sanctus viveret, stigmata illa sacra suis oculis conspexisse.

5Viderunt in morte plus quam quinquaginta fratres virgoque Deo devotissima Clara cum ceteris Sororibus suis et saeculares innumeri, ex quibus quemadmodum suo loco dicetur, quam plurimi et osculati sunt ex devotionis affectu et contrectaverunt manibus ad testimonii firmitatem.

6Vulnus autem lateris tam sollicite occultavit, ut illud nemo posset nisi furtim contueri, dum viveret: 7Unus etenim frater, qui ei sedule ministrare solitus erat, cum pia eum cautela, ut ad excutiendum extraheret tunicam, induxisset, attente respiciens vidit plagam, cui etiam tres veloci contactu digitos applicans, tam visu quam tactu vulneris quantitatem agnovit. 8Consimili cautela vidit etiam frater ille, qui tunc temporis erat Vicarius eius. 9Frater vero socius mirandae simplicitatis, dum infirmitatis causa languentes scapulas contrectaret, manu per caputium missa et casualiter vulneri sacro illapsa, magnum ei dolorem inflixit. 10Proinde portabat ex tunc femoralia ita facta, ut usque ad ascellas pertingerent ad vulnus lateris contegendum.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 636