The Treatise on the Miracles of Saint Francis - 412 

gave you the purity of the air. You neither sow nor reap Lk 12:4, He nevertheless governs you without your least care." At these words, the birds gestured a great deal, in their own way. They stretched their necks, spread their wings, opened their beaks and looked at him. They did not leave the place until, having made the sign of the cross, he blessed them and gave them permission. On returning to the brothers he began to accuse himself of negligence because he had not preached to the birds before. From that day on, he carefully exhorted birds and beasts and even insensible creatures to praise and love the Creator.

21Once he went to a village called Alviano to preach. The people gathered and he called for silence. But some swallows nesting there were shrieking so much that he could not be heard at all. In the hearing of all, he spoke to them: "My sister swallows, now it is time Tb 12:20 for me also to speak, since you have already said enough. Hear the word of God and stay quiet until the word of the Lord is completed. " As if capable of reason, they immediately fell silent, and did not leave from that place until the whole sermon was over. All who saw this were filled with amazement and gave glory to God.

22In the city of Parma there was a scholar who was so annoyed by the inconsiderate chattering of a swallow that he could not stay in the place he needed for meditation. Rather provoked, he began to say, "This swallow was one of those we read about,a who once would not allow Saint Francis to preach until he imposed silence on them." And turning to the swallow he said, "In the name of Saint Francis I command you to let me catch you." Without hesitation the bird flew to his hands. The surprised scholar gave it back its original freedom, and never again heard its chattering.

23Heading to the hermitage of Greccio, blessed Francis was crossing the lake of Rieti in a small boat. A fisherman offered him a little water-bird so he might rejoice in the Lord over it. The blessed Father received it gladly, and with open hands, gently invited it to fly away freely. But the bird did not want to leave: instead it settled down in his hands as in a nest, and the saint, his eyes lifted up to heaven, remained in prayer. Returning to himself as if after a long stay in another place, he sweetly told the little bird to return to its original freedom. And so the bird, having received permission with a blessing, flew away expressing its joy with the movement of its body.




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 412