Miscellaneous Franciscan Sources - 795 

Not long afterwards, Brother Ambrose of the Cistercian Order died. He was a [papal] penitentiary to whom Cardinal Ugolino had entrusted the above-mentioned monasteries, with the exception of the monastery of Saint Clare.a Then Brother Philip the Tall saw to it that these monasteries were entrusted to him and that he was granted authorization by the Supreme Pontiff to appoint Lesser Brothers for their service as he saw fit.b When the blessed Francis learned of this, he was very upset and cursed Philip as a destroyer of his Order. Indeed, Brother Stephen said that he had heard Saint Francis pronounce these words: "Until now the ulcer has been confined to the flesh and so there remained a hope for a cure; but now it has penetrated to the bone and it will surely be incurable."

One time Brother Stephen went to one of these monasteries of Cloistered Ladies by order of the said Brother Philip. A while later, when he was on a journey with blessed Francis from Bevagna to some other town, he asked his forgiveness for having gone to serve that monastery at Brother Philip's beckoning. Then the saint scolded him harshly and commanded him, as a penance, to plunge fully clothed into the river that ran along the side of the road. Now this was during the month of December. And so, soaking wet and shivering with cold, he accompanied the blessed Francis for two good miles until they reached the brothers' place.

5 Another time Brother Stephen said that he was staying in a hermitage for a few months with Blessed Francis and some other brothers. While he was there, he did the cooking and took care of the kitchen.c By Francis's orders the others devoted themselves to silence and prayer until Brother Stephen gave the signal for dinner by banging on a pan.d Now it was Saint Francis's custom to come out of his cell at the hour of terce. If he didn't see the fire lit yet in the kitchen, he would pick some greens with his own hands, saying quietly to Brother Stephen, "Go now, and cook up these greens, and it will go well with the brothers." Now many times, if he had also cooked some eggs or cheese that had been offered to the brothers, Blessed Francis would be totally happy, eating with the others and

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Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 795