Miscellaneous Franciscan Sources - 793 

tury,a offers a number of lively details, especially concerning Francis's relation to women's monasteries, not transmitted in other sources.


1 Brother Thomas of Pavia, provincial minister of Tuscany, said that a certain brother, Stephen by name,b a man of such simplicity and purity of heart that one could hardly imagine his saying anything untrue, told him several things which I have written down here.

In the early days of the Order, this Brother Stephen said, when Saint Francis received those coming to live in the Order, it was his custom to clothe them with the habit and cord and then entrust them to some monastery or church, because the brothers as yet had no place of their own to live.c He would command such brothers to devotedly serve God and the church in which he had placed them, performing the tasks assigned to them, so as not to eat the bread of idleness.

And so it happened that he received this Brother Stephen into the Order and assigned him with a companion to some monastery. Two years later Saint Francis returned to the monastery to learn about the said brother. He wanted to know if he had remained there, and made a diligent investigation among the monks about his behavior with them. And since everyone there gave such laudatory testimony about that brother's life, Francis took him along with him, and for many years he was his special companion.

2 One day just the two of them arrived at the home of a noble lady, and with great devotion she offered the blessed Francis some cloth, colored in such a manner that it was good enough to make a priest's chasuble. Accepting it, he went to a monastery to seek hospitality from the monks. While the blessed Francis was enjoying some friendly conversation there with the abbot, a certain lay brother, who had been bedridden for a long time with some illness, began to howl and moan horribly, cursing everyone who lived in the monastery because hardly any of them came to see him while he was enduring such suffering. Blessed Francis, taking along his companion,

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Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 793