A Mirror of the Perfection (The Sabatier Edition, 1928) - 264 

"After receiving the bishop's blessing, let them go and have a big ditch dug around the land which they received for the building of a place. As a sign of holy poverty and humility, let them place a hedge, instead of a wall. Afterwards they may have poor huts made of mud and wood, and some little cells where the brothers can sometimes pray and work for greater benefit and also to avoid idleness.

"Let them also have small churches made. The brothers, however, must not have large churches built in order to preach to the people or for any other reason, for there is greater humility and better example when they go to other churches to preach.

"And if prelates and clerics, religious or secular,a should sometimes visit their places, their poor house, cells, and little churches, those living in that place will preach to them and, therefore, edify them more than any words."

He said: "The brothers often have large buildings made, breaking with our holy poverty, resulting in complaints, disgrace, and bad example to their neighbor. And when they abandon or destroy those places and buildings for better or healthier places, motivated by greed or covetousness, and build others that are large or imposing in order to have a better and more hallowed place, or to attract a greater influx of people, they cause those who gave alms for that place, as well as others who see or hear about this to be scandalized and greatly upset. It is, therefore, better that the brothers have small and poor places built, observing their profession, and giving their neighbor good example, rather than making things contrary to their profession and offering bad example to others. For, if the brothers leave their poor little places for the sake of a more decent place, there would be less scandal."


When blessed Francis decreed that the churches of the brothers should be small and that their houses should be built only of mud and wood, as a sign of holy poverty and humility, he wanted this to begin in the place of Saint Mary of the Portiuncula. Thus this would be a perpetual reminder to all the brothers, now and in the future,




Speculum Perfectionis, Fontes Franciscani, p. 1866-1868

16Deinde, accepta benedictione ab episcopo, vadant et faciant mitti magnam carbonariam in circuitu terrae quam pro loci aedificatione acceperunt, et ponant ibi bonam sepem pro muro in signum sanctae paupertatis et humilitatis. 17Postea faciant fieri domos pauperculas ex luto: et lignis et aliquas cellulas, in quibus fratres aliquando possint orare et laborare pro maiori honestate et vitanda otiositate.

18Ecclesias etiam parvas fieri faciant; non enim debent facere fieri magnas ecelesias causa praedicandi populo, nec alia occasione, quoniam major humilitas et melius exemplum est cum vadunt ad alias ecclesias ad praedicandum.

19Et si aliquando praelati et clerici, religiosi vel saeculares, ad loca ipsorum venerint, domus pauperculae, cellulae et ecclesiae parvulae eorum praedicabunt illis, et ipsi aedificabuntur plus de hujusmodi quam de verbis ».

20Et ait: « Multoties fratres faciunt fieri magna aedificia, rumpendo sanctam nostram paupertatem, in murmurationem et malum exemplum proximorum; 21et quandoque occasione melioris et sanctioris loci vel maioris concursus populi, propter cupiditatem et avaritiam dimittunt illa loca et aedificia vel destruunt ea et faciunt alia magna et excessiva; 22unde illi qui dederunt eleemosynas ibi et alii, hoc videntes, scandalizantur plurimum et turbantur. 23Quapropter melius est ut fratres faciant parva et paupercula aedificia, observando professionem suam et dando bonum exemplum proximis, quam faciant contra professionem suam, dando malum exemplum aliis. 24Nam si fratres aliquando dimitterent paupercula loca occasione honestioris loci minus scandalum inde esset ».

Quomodo fratres fuerunt sibi contrarii
in faciendo loca et aedificia paupercula maxime praelati et scientiati.
Caput 11.

1Cum beatus Franciscus constituissent ut ecclesiae fratrum essent parvae et domus eorum fierent solum ex lignis et luto, in signum sanctae paupertatis et humilitatis, 2volens hoc incipere reformari in loco Sanctae Mariae de Portiuncula, maxime de domibus constructis ex lignis et luto, ut hoc esset memoriale sempiternum omnibus fratribus praesentibus et futuris,

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 264