The Deeds of Blessed Francis & His Companions (1328-1337) - 507 

Saint Francis used to say this about him: while still living, Brother Rufino had been canonized in heaven by the Lord Jesus Christ; and that he had no hesitation about calling him—in his absence—"Saint Rufino," while he was still living on earth.

To the praise of our Lord Jesus Christ.


1 Because of his constant dedication to contemplation Brother Rufino was so absorbed into God that, rendered almost senseless, as it were, he very rarely spoke. Moreover, he was not gifted with the grace of disseminating the word for he did not have the courage or ability to speak. However, one day Saint Francis ordered Brother Rufino to go to Assisi and preach to the people whatever the Most High would inspire him. But Brother Rufino replied: "Reverend Father, spare me. Don't send me to do this because, as you well know, I don't have a gift for words, and I'm also simple, unlettered and ignorant."b Saint Francis said: "Because you did not obey me immediately, I therefore command you under obedience that you go to Assisi naked except for your trousers, and enter some church and, naked as you are, you will preach to the people."

5 As a truly obedient man, he immediately went to Assisi naked, and after making his reverence in a certain church he got up to preach. Children and adults began to laugh, and say: "Look, these men are doing so much penance that they're going crazy!" In the meantime, however, Saint Francis, considering the prompt obedience of Brother Rufino and his own harsh command, began to rebuke himself very harshly, saying: "You! Son of Pietro Bernardone, vile little man, since when do you command Brother Rufino, one of the most noble citizens of Assisi, to go naked to preach to the people? By God! I'll make you feel yourself what you command someone else!" Saying this, in fervor of spirit he stripped off his tunic and went into Assisi naked, taking with him Brother Leo who, with great discernment, carried his tunic and that of Brother Rufino.

8 When the Assisians saw him naked, they ridiculed him as a fool, thinking that both he and Brother Rufino had gone insane from




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 507