A Mirror of the Perfection (The Sabatier Edition, 1928) - 282 

lord for the love of the Lord God." Immediately his heart sweetened, and, moved by this kindness, he forgave his lord's wrongs.

33
HOW HE SENT A CLOAK TO A POOR WOMAN
WHO, LIKE HIMSELF, SUFFERED FROM AN EYE ILLNESS

A poor woman from Machilone came to Rieti because of an illness of her eyes. When the doctor came to visit blessed Francis, he said to him: "Brother, a woman with eye trouble came to see me. But, she is so poor that I have to pay her expenses."

When blessed Francis heard this, moved immediately by piety for her, he called one of the brothers, who was his guardian, and said to him: "Brother Guardian, we have to give back what belongs to someone else." "And, what is that, brother?" he said. "That mantle," he replied, "which we accepted on loan from that poor and sick woman. We must give it back to her." "Do what you think best, brother," the guardian answered.

With joy, blessed Francis then called a spiritual man, who was close to him, and said: "Take this mantle and a dozen loaves of bread with you, and go to that poor woman suffering from eye disease whom the doctor, who is taking care of her, will point out to you. Say to her: 'The poor man to whom you lent this mantle thanks you for the loan of the mantle. Take what belongs to you.' "

He went then and told the woman everything as blessed Francis had told him. Thinking he was joking, she replied with fear and embarrassment: "Leave me in peace! I don't know what you are talking about!" He placed the mantle and the dozen loaves of bread in her hands. When the woman reflected that he had spoken the truth, she accepted everything with fear and reverence, rejoicing and praising the Lord. Then, fearful that he would take it back, she secretly got up during night and joyfully returned to her home.

Moreover, blessed Francis arranged with his guardian that he should give her food every day for as long as she stayed there.

We who were with blessed Francis bear witness that, sick or well, he displayed such charity and piety, not only to his brothers, but also toward other poor persons, whether healthy or sick. Thus, he deprived himself of the necessities of his body that the brothers procured for him with great labor and solicitude. At first coaxing us not to worry, with great inner and outer joy, he would give away to the poor things he had denied his own body, even though they were extremely necessary for him.

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Speculum Perfectionis, Fontes Franciscani, p. 1899-1902


« Ecce do tibi hunc mantellum, et precor te ut indulgeas domino tuo, amore Domini Dei ». 5Et statim dulcoratum est cor ejus, ac beneficio provocatus remisit injurias domino suo.

Qualiter misit mantellum mulieri pauperculae
quae patiebatur in oculis sicut ipse.
Caput 33.

1Quaedam mulier paupercula de Machilone venit Reate, propter infirmitatem oculorum; cum autem venisset medicus ad beatum Franciscum, dixit ei: « Frater, quaedam mulier, infirma oculis, venit ad me; quae tantum est pauper quod oportet me dare sibi expensas ».

2Quo audito, statim pietate motus est super eam, et advocans unum de fratribus qui erat ejus guardianus, dixit ei: « Frater guardiane, oportet nos reddere alienum ». - 3Qui ait: « Quid est istud alienum, frater? ». - At ille dixit: « Istum mantellum, quem accepimus mutuo ab illa muliere paupercula et infirma, oportet nos reddere sibi ». - Et ait illi guardianus ejus: « Frater, quod tibi melius videtur hoc facias ».

4Tunc beatus Franciscus cum hilaritate vocavit quemdam spiritualem hominem familiarem sibi, et dixit ei: « Tolle hunc mantellum et XII panes cum eo, et vade ad illam mulierem pauperculam infirmam oculis quam tibi ostendet medicus, 5et dic ei: « Pauper homo cui accommodasti hunc mantellum gratias tibi refert de mutuatione mantelli; tolle quod tuum est ».

6Ivit ergo ille et dixit mulieri omnia quae dixerat ei beatus Franciscus. Illa vero putans sibi illudi, cum timore et verecundia dixit ei: « Dimitte me in pace; nescio enim quid dicis ». 7Ille autem posuit mantellum et XII panes in manibus ejus. Ipsa vero considerans quod in veritate hoc diceret, cum timore et reverentia accepit ea, gaudens et laudans Dominum. 8Et timens ne sibi auferretur, surrexit nocte occulte, et ad domum suam cum laetitia est reversa.

Beatus autem Franciscus jam ordinaverat cum guardiano ut quotidie, dum ibi maneret, daret illi expensas.

9Unde nos qui fuimus cum eo testimonium perhibemus de ipso quod tantae caritatis erat et pietatis infirmis et sanis, non solum erga fratres suos sed etiam erga alios pauperes sanos et infirmos, 10quod necessaria sui corporis quae fratres aliquando cum magna sollicitudine et labore acquirebant, prius nobis blandiens, ne inde turbaremur, cum multa laetitia interiori et exteriori dabat ipsis pauperibus, subtrahendo ea sibi, etiam si ei valde necessaria erant.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 282