A Collection of Sayings of the Companions of Blessed Francis - 110 

case, the entire collection may well have been intended as meditative documents aimed at helping the Lesser Brothers in their observance of their life. Sophronius Clasen maintains that this "Avignon Compilation" can be dated to the 1330's,9 while Jacques Cambell attempts to be more precise at dating it at 1343.10 While she does not attempt to date this collection, Rosalind B. Brooke maintains that it is early and observes that it appears in other early manuscripts.11

Moreover, the compiler states that:

. . . the General Minister had [these] read at table, with myself several times being the reader, while he was present for the benefit of himself and the brothers at Avignon to show that it was true, useful, authentic, and good.12

This statement caused others to view the seven stories differently. François Van Ortroy observed that they could be found in Angelo Clareno's Exposition on the Rule and speculated that they may well have been his creation.13 Somewhat akin to Van Ortroy's judgment is that of John R.H. Moorman who maintains that the seven stories formed part of an earlier commentary on the Rule that was table reading for the friars at Avignon.14 Raffaele Pazzelli distinguishes between the Legenda antiqua [Ancient Legend] and the Legenda vetus [Old Legend] and sees them as independent works.15 In his study of the Avignon Compilation, Duncan Nimmo reflects on the difficulties of these statements and the puzzles they continue to present. Nevertheless, Nimmo concludes that the dissemination of these documents was quite extensive.16

The author of these seven incidents is unknown. The presence of Leo in two of the incidents, of Bernard in one, and of "a theologian from Germany," more than likely Caesar of Speyer, in another, suggests their influence. The points on which they touch are certainly the sensitive ones that occur repeatedly in later texts: the practice of poverty, the role of learning, the pursuit of primitive observance, and the place of Our Lady of the Portiuncula. There is also a foreboding of the future tribulations or trials that would afflict the Order. Nevertheless, the acrimony or intransigence of the later texts is missing, supporting the positions of Sabatier and Brooke that these were stories written at an early date, cherished, and distributed by those who were not pleased with the Order's direction.

The Words of Brother Conrad of Offida

The second collection comes from those Zelanti of the Province of the Marches, who gathered around Conrad of Offida (c. 1237-1306). Hugolino de Montegiorgio describes Conrad in The Deeds of Saint Francis and His Companions as "a remarkable zealot of the evangelical Rule of our blessed Father, Saint Francis . . . a man of such religious life and such merit before God, that both in life and in death the Lord Jesus Christ honored him in many ways." While many aspects of Conrad's life drew the Zelanti to him, his personal dealings




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 110