The Remembrance of the Desire of a Soul - 260 

Chapter XVI

23 As the holy father advanced in virtue and merit of life
his large crop of children
increased everywhere in number and grace.
With an amazing abundance of fruit,
their branches extended to the farthest ends of the earth.

But he often worried about those new plants, Ps 144:12 [Vulgate, Ps 143:12] how they could be cared for and helped to grow, tied together in a bond of unity. Eph 4:3 He saw that many people howled like wolves at that little flock. Those grown old in wickedness would take every opportunity to hurt it just because it was new. He could foresee that even his sons might do things opposed to holy peace and unity. He feared that some might turn into rebels, as often happens among the chosen, puffed up by their self-importance, ready for battle and prone to scandals.

24 Mulling over these things, the man of God saw this vision. As he slept one night, he saw a small black hen, similar to a common dove, with feathered legs and feet. She had countless chicks, and they kept running around her frantically, but she could not gather all of them under her wings. The man of God woke up, remembering his concerns, interpreted his own vision. “I am the hen,” he said, “small in size and dark by nature, whose innocence of life should serve dove-like simplicity, which is as rare in this world as it is swift in flight to heaven. The chicks are the brothers, multiplied in number and grace. The strength of Francis is not enough to defend them from human plotting and contradicting tongues.

“Therefore, I will go and entrust them to the holy Roman Church. The evil-minded will be struck down by the rod of her power. The sons of God will enjoy complete freedom, which will help to increase eternal salvation everywhere. From now on, let the children acknowledge their mother’s sweet favor, and always follow her holy footprints with special devotion. With her protection, nothing evil will happen to the Order, and no son of Belial will trample the vineyard of the Lord unpunished. She, that holy one, will emulate the glory of our poverty and will prevent the praises of humility from being obscured by




Vita Secunda Sancti Francisci, Fontes Franciscani, p. 464-465

Caput XVI
De providentia futurorum
et qualiter religionem commisit Romanae Ecclesiae,
et quadam visione.

23 1Vitae meritis continue pater sanctus ac virtute proficiens, cum natorum soboles multiplici ubique iam numero dilataretur et gratia, extenderetque usque ad fines orbis palmites fructuum fertilitate mirificos, coepit saepius meditari sollicitus, qualiter illorum novella plantatio servari posset et crescere unitatis vinculo colligata. 2Videbat tunc contra pusillum gregem luporum more saevire quamplures, et de sola novitate dierum malorum inveteratos sumere occasionem nocendi. 3Praevidebat quaedam inter ipsos filios accidere posse sanctae paci et unitati contraria, et, sicut saepe accidit in electis, rebelles futuros quosdam suae carnis sensu inflatos et spiritu paratos ad iurgia et pronos ad scandala dubitabat.

24 1Cumque vir Dei haec et similia saepius animo volveret, nocte quadam, deditus somno, visionem hanc videt. Inspicit gallinam parvam et nigram, columbae domesticae similem, crura tota pennata habentem cum pedibus. 3Haec pullos habebat innumeros, qui gallinam rotantes instanter, sub alas eius omnes congregari nequibant. 4Surgit a somno vir Dei, ad cor meditata reducit, efficitur ipse suae visionis interpres. 5 « Gallina », inquit, « haec sum ego, statura pusillus nigerque natura, cui columbina per innocentiam vitae debet famulari simplicitas, quae sicut aevo rarissima, sic expedite volat ad caelum. 6Pulli sunt fratres numero multiplicati et gratia, quos a conturbatione hominum et a contradictione linguarum defendere Francisci virtus non sufficit ».

7« Vadam igitur et eos sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae commendabo, cuius potentiae virga percellantur malevoli, et filii Dei in aeternae salutis augmentum ubique plena gaudeant libertate. 8Recognoscent ex hoc filii dulcia beneficia matris, et speciali devotione semper ipsius reverenda vestigia complectentur. 9Non erit ipsa protegente, in ordine malus occursus, nec filius Belial per vineam Domini transibit impunis. 10Paupertatis nostrae ipsa sancta aemulabitur gloriam, et humilitatis praeconia per superbiae nubilum obfuscari non sinet.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 260