The Treatise on the Miracles of Saint Francis - 411 

brothers and to collect some water used to bathe the hands or feet of blessed Francis, who was then staying there. On getting it, he was to sprinkle all the cattle with it. Rising early, anxious for his own benefit, he came to the place, and unknown to the saint, he pilfered some of the wash water with the help of some brothers. With it he sprinkled all the cattle as he had been commanded. From that moment, by the grace of God, the contagious pestilence ceased and never again returned to that region.

19In many places the fervent devotion of many people led them to offer bread and other food for Francis to bless. These they kept for a long time, preserved from spoiling by divine gift; when they were eaten bodily illnesses were healed. It has even been shown that such foods had the power to ward off violent thunderstorms and hailstorms.

Many claim that through the cord that he wore and patches from his clothes illnesses were put to flight, fevers ceased, and long-sought health returned.

On the day of the Lord's Nativity when he celebrated the memory of the manger of the Child of Bethlehem, he mystically repeated all the events that once surrounded the child Jesus. God manifested many wonders there. Among them, the hay taken from the manger was for many a health remedy, especially for women with difficulties in childbearing, and for all infected animals. After offering these samples concerning insensible creatures, let us include a few words about the obedience of sensible creatures.

Chapter IV

20Creatures themselves strove to repay Saint Francis for his love and to respond to his kindness with their gratitude.

One time as he was passing through the Spoleto valley, he came upon a place near Bevagna, in which a great multitude of birds of various kinds had assembled. When The holy one of God Lk 4:34 saw them, because of the outstanding love of the Creator with which he loved all creatures, he ran swiftly to the place. He greeted them in his usual way, as if they shared in reason. As the birds did not take flight, he went to them, going to and fro among them, touching their heads and bodies with his tunic. Meanwhile his joy and wonder increased as he carefully admonished them to listen to the Word of God: "My brother birds, you should greatly praise your Creator and love Him always. He clothed you with feathers and gave you wings for flying. Among all His creatures He made you free and




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 411