The Life of Saint Francis by Julian of Speyer - 373 

contain himself, even against his will, he spoke publicly of certain things. He refused to go to Apulia, but promised that he would do grand things in his own native land. He answered all those who wondered and inquired whether he wished to marry that he would take a wife of great wisdom, and even greater nobility, altogether more lovable and beautiful than they had ever seen.a

6Now confirmed with a divine mission, the man of God did not fail to fulfill the pious desire of his mind. Instead, when the right time presented itself, he rose with joy and confidently strengthened himself with the sign of the cross; taking expensive cloth with him to sell, he went to a nearby city which is called Foligno. Having sold in Foligno everything he had with him, including the horse he had been riding, he returned to Assisi laden with money. Then, suddenly fervent for the work of God, he decided to give it to the respectful uses of the poor and the grateful discharge of other needs. But the money itself so vexed his heart, which he was striving to free of such cares, that he hastened to unload it as quickly as he could, just as he would a load of sand.

He came upon a church near Assisi, which had once been built in honor of Saint Damian, but which was now close to ruin because of its advanced age. Pitying its poverty right away, he entered it reverently. Inside, he came upon a certain poor priest to whom he first showed reverence by kissing his hands, and then offered the money to repair the walls of the church. The priest, however, seeing this man he knew to be completely given over to the world just a little while before, was much amazed by this deed. And, thinking that he was being ridiculed, he refused to accept the money. Scarcely believing Francis’s purpose even when he explained it to him more fully, the priest finally consented to his incessant request to stay with him. Still, he absolutely refused to receive the money out of fear of Francis’s parents. When he saw that it was refused, that true despiser of money scorned it as if it were dust by tossing it onto a window ledge.b

7And so Francis’s father, not knowing what had happened to him, did not stop being deeply upset until, after a long search, he learned that




Iuliani de Spira Officium Sancti Francisci, Fontes Franciscani, p.

2Tantoque deinceps perfusus est gaudio, ut, iam se continere non valens, quaedam etiam nolens in publicum verbotenus depromeret: ire quidem in Apuliam recusaret, sed grandia se facturum in propriae nationis terra pronutteret. 3Mirantibus igitur cunctis et sciscitantibus an ducere vellet uxorem, sponsam se ducturum respondit plus sapientem, plus nobilem, plus omnibus, quam umquam viderint, amabilem et decoram.

6 1Iam vir divino munere confirmatus pium mentis desiderium complere non distulit; 2sed facultate se temporis offerente, laetus exsurgens confidenter se crucis signo munivit, assumptisque secum pannis venalibus pretiosis, ad vicinam, quae Fulgineum dicitur, civitatem perrexit. 3Quibus ibidem cum equo cui insederat, venditis, onustus pecunia repedavit; cum statim in opere Dei fervens, piis illam pauperum usibus, piis aliarum necessitatum obsequiis mancipare disposuit. 4Iam tam graviter ipsa pecunia cor, a curis liberum esse procurans, offendit, quod et eius, quam velut arenam reputabat, gravamen non sustinens, quantocius illam deponere festinavit.

5Invenit itaque prope Assisium quamdam ecclesiam, olim in honore sancti Damiani constructam, sed iam ruinae prae nimia vetustate propinquam. 6Cuius ipse continuo necessitatem commiserans, reverenter introivit in illam. 7Ubi invento quodam. paupere presbytero, primum illi reverentiam, manibus deosculatis, exhibuit; deinde pecuniam pro resarciendis ecclesiae parietibus obtulit. 8Videns autem sacerdos virum, quem totaliter paulo ante saeculo deditum noverat, vehementer in facto illius obstupuit; et ab eo sibi illudi existimans, pecuniam non recepit. 9Denique propositum suum plenius exponenti vix credens, ad ultimum ut secum morari posset instanter roganti consensit, pecuniam tamen metu parentum illius omnino recipere renuit. 10Quam ut refutari verus ille pecuniarum contemptor aspexit, in quadam fenestra deiectam veluti pulverem vilipendit.

7 1Igitur pater illius, quidnam de ipso factum esset ignorans, quam plurimum sollicitus esse non destitit, donec ei tandem post longam inquisitionem innotuit,

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 373