A Mirror of the Perfection (The Sabatier Edition, 1928) - 286 


Another time while he was staying at Saint Mary of the Portiuncula, a poor old woman who had two sons in religion, came to that place seeking some alms of blessed Francis.

Blessed Francis immediately said to Brother Peter of Catanio, who was the general minister at the time: “Have we anything to give our mother?” For he used to say that the mother of any brother was his own and that of all the brothers. Brother Peter told him: “We do not have anything in the house that we can give her, especially since she wants such alms as would nourish her body. In the church we only have one New Testament for reading the lessons at matins.” At that time, the brothers did not have breviaries and not many psal- ters.

Blessed Francis responded: “Give our mother the New Testament, so she can sell it for her needs. I firmly believe that the Lord and the Blessed Virgin will be pleased more by giving it to her than if you read in it.” And so he gave it to her. For it can be said and written about him what was read about Job: Mercy grew up with me and it came out with me from my mother’s womb. Jb 31:18

For us, who were with him, it would be very difficult to write or recount not only what we learned from others about his charity and piety toward the brothers and the other poor, but also what we saw with our own eyes. 1 Jn 1:1




Speculum Perfectionis, Fontes Franciscani, p. 1907-1909

De testamento novo quod fecit dari mulieri pauperi matri duorum fratrum. Caput 38.

1Alio tempore, dum maneret apud Sanctam Mariam de Portiuncula, quaedam mulier vetula et paupercula quae habebat duos filios in religione, venit ad locum, quaerens eleemosynam a beato Francisco.

2Statim beatus Franciscus dixit fratri Petro Cathanii qui erat tunc generalis minister: « Possumusne habere aliquid quod demus illi matri nostrae? ». 3Dicebat enim matrem alicujus fratris esse matrem suam et omnium fratrum . 4Respondit ei frater Petrus: « In domo nihil est quod possimus ei dare, quia vellet talem eleemosynam quod inde posset sustentari corpus ejus. In ecclesia autem habemus solummodo unum testamentum novum in quo legimus lectiones ad matutinum ». 5Nam, illo tempore, fratres non habebant breviaria nec multa psalteria.

6Dixit ergo illi beatus Franciscus: « Da matri nostrae novum testamentum ut vendat illud pro sua necessitate. Credo enim firmiter quod plus placebit Domino et beatae Virgini quam si in ipso legeremus ». Et sic dedit illi. 7Nam illud potest dici et scribi de ipso quod legitur de beato Job: Ab utero matris meae egressa est et crevit mecum miseratio a.

8Unde nobis qui cum ipso fuimus b, non solum ea quae de caritate et pietate ejus circa fratres et alios pauperes ab aliis intelleximus, sed et quae oculis nostris vidimus c, longum esset et valde difficile scribere vel narrare.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 286