The Treatise on the Miracles of Saint Francis - 436 

Chapter XI

88In Romaniaa it happened that a Greek servant of a certain lord was falsely accused of theft. His lord ordered him to be shut in a narrow prison and heavily chained; after final sentencing he was to have a foot cut off. The wife of the lord was concerned to free the innocent man, but her husband remained firm and rejected her request. The lady turned humbly to Saint Francis and, by a vow, commended the innocent man to his compassion. Quickly the helper of the afflicted was present. He took the imprisoned man by the hand, loosened his chains, broke open the jail, and led the innocent man out. "I am the one to whom your mistress devoutly commended you," he said. The man shook with fear as he wandered at the edge of a precipice, looking for a way to descend from the very high cliff. Suddenly he found himself on level ground without knowing how.

He returned to his lady and told her his miraculous story. She immediately made a wax image because of her vow, and hung it before the saint's picture for all to see. The unjust man was upset, and when he struck his wife with his hand he fell gravely ill. He was not able to heal until he had confessed his fault and rendered sincere praise to the Saint of God, Francis.

89In Massa San Pietro a poor fellow owed a certain knight a sum of money. Since he had no means of paying the debt, the knight had him confined as a debtor. He humbly asked for mercy and, interjecting prayers, requested a deferral for love of Saint Francis. He thought the knight respected this famous saint. The knight haughtily scorned his prayers; he stupidly mocked the love of the saint as something stupid. He obstinately replied, "I will lock you up in such a place and put you in such a prison that neither Francis nor anyone else will be able to help you." And he attempted to do what he said. He found a dark prison and threw the chained man into it.

A short time later Saint Francis arrived and broke open the prison; he shattered the man's leg-irons and led him to his own home unharmed. Afterward the man brought his chains to the church of blessed Francis in Assisi. In them he had experienced the mercy of the father; now they would become a demonstration of his marvelous power. Thus the strength of Francis plundered the proud knight and delivered from evil the captive who had made himself his subject.




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 436