A Life of Saint Francis by an Anonymous Monk of a German Monastery - 866 

of the Passion and trial he should follow Christ to glory, as it is written, that Christ had to suffer and thus enter into His glory, although this revelation seems rather to presage another mystery to be fulfilled in him a little later.

XXVII: The Vision of the Seraph

78 Two years prior to the time that he returned his soul to heaven, the blessed man was staying at the hermitage which is called La Verna. While he was giving himself there to the contemplation of heavenly things, he saw in a vision a man of God above him, glittering with remarkable beauty and whose hands were extended and feet joined, affixed to a cross. He also had six wings in the manner Isaiah describes the Seraphim: two were over his head, two covered his feet and body, and two were stretched out to the side for flight. When the servant and friend of the Most High saw these things, he was filled with great awe and joy, both because of the beauty of this vision and also because of the kind and gracious look that he was observed by him. Yet the bitterness of the seraph's suffering afflicted him thoroughly with sorrow.

The Appearance of the Stigmata

79 And so while Saint Francis was thinking and wondering what this vision could mean, the marks of Christ's Passion began gradually to be formed in his hands and feet and side, just as a little while earlier it had been shown to him in that vision. Nails formed out of his own flesh appeared in his hands and feet, so that the heads of the nails protruded on the inside of the hands and on the top of the feet, and the points were on the opposite sides. They seemed to be like iron, black, and hardened like cartilage, and if they were pressed on one side, they responded on the other side. Yet they adhered within the skin and could not be extracted. His right side, pierced as if with a lance, was marked with a thin scar which, often opened, discharged blood, so that his tunic and undergarments were sprinkled with his holy blood.

80 Nor was this, as certain ill-disposed people were misrepresenting, the corruption of a scab. But with the rest of the flesh together with the skin in a healthy condition, those marks of the nails and the wound in his side were wonderfully and very expressively shown. And he bore these in his body up to his death. And although this servant and friend of God saw himself adorned beyond the glory of all others by such pearls, still he did not seek to make himself




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 866