The Life of Saint Francis by Julian of Speyer - 413 

he was still alive, compelled him and by arguments persuaded him to permit himself to be treated medically, fearing lest through negligence he might lose his eyesight completely. The holy man was obedient to him as though to a father and from that time on he allowed a number of medicines to be applied to his eyes, though, with the malady getting worse, they were of no help.

Finally, on the occasion of treating the above-mentioned malady, he was brought to Rieti, where the Lord Pope Honorius III was then staying, and there he was received with honor and devotion by the Roman Curia. The Lord Hugolino, then Bishop of Ostia, was present. He was more familiar to him than the rest, since the holy man had, with the approval of the same Lord Honorius, chosen him before all others as father and lord. Into his safekeeping Francis had entrusted himself, together with his whole Order, which he had subjected to the mandate of his obedience. Led by a prophetic spirit, he had not only predicted with words that Hugolino would become pope but also with his acts had prefigured it in many ways.a

66Hugolino, therefore, used to feel very keenly a wonderful affection for the holy man; he used to minister to this little poor man of Jesus Christ, as a servant would to a lord. Later Hugolino himself, when he had been promoted to the apostolic dignity, used to bear witness that he was never so perturbed but that every cloud of mind departed at only a glance or a word from the holy man of God, and immediately an agreeable serenity and sweet joy would reappear. As often as he saw him, he would show him reverence as if to an apostle of Christ. 1 Cor 1:1 2 Cor 1:1

And so Hugolino constantly advised blessed Francis to take care of himself; and the saint himself was humbly obedient to Hugolino in this regard, as in all other things. Therefore, his head was cauterized, his veins cut, and salves and plasters applied. Nothing improved his health at all: no, rather, the illness increased as the remedies were multiplied.

Truly, he bore up under so many troubles of the body in all patience and thanksgiving; he made little of his body’s members and directed all his attention to God with his spirit comforted. And, so that he could more freely direct his attention to interior consolation, the four brothers, men of virtue, 1 Mc 5:50 appointed to watch over him, most solicitously devoted themselves not only to provide for his every bodily necessity, but also to preserve the peacefulness of his soul.




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

quem veluti loco matris elegerat et adhuc vivens gregi suo pastorem praefecerat, compulit eum et rationibus induxit, ut sibi mederi permitteret, timens ne forte per incuriam penitus oculorum lumen amitteret. 5Cui vir sanctus humiliter obtemperans tamquam patri, plura suis ex tunc oculis medicamina patiebatur apponi, quamvis ingravescente malo, nullius essent remedii.

6Tandem Reatam curandae iam dictae infirmitatis occasione perductus est, ubi, et domino Honorio papa tertio moram tunc temporis faciente, honorifice a curia Romana devoteque susceptus est. 7Familiarius tamen ei prae caeteris dominus Hugo, tunc Ostiensis episcopus, affuit, quem vir sanctus eodem domino annuente Honorio, in patrem ac dominum prae cunctis elegerat, cuius se cum universo Ordine suo tutelae commiserat, necnon et obedientiae mandato subiecerat, 8sed et eumdem, prophetico spiritu ductus, apostolico honori provisum fore non solum verbis praedixerat, sed et factis multimode praesignarat.

66 1Hic igitur erga virum sanctum mirando dilectionis affectu flagrabat; hic pauperculo Iesu Christi, tamquam famulus domino, ministrabat. 2Contestabatur idem ipse postmodum ad apostolicam dignitatem provectus, se numquam in tanta perturbatione fuisse, quin omne mentis nubilum in solo viri Dei intuitu vel affatu discederet, subitaque serenitatis suavitas et iucunditatis dulcedo rediret. 3Unde et quoties ipsum videbat, ei tamquam Christi apostolo reverentiam exhibebat.

4Hic itaque beatum Franciscum, ut curam sui gereret, instanter admonuit; cui et ipse sanctus in hoc humiliter, sicut et in aliis omnibus, obedivit. 5Factis igitur cocturis in capite, venis incisis, collyriis et emplastris adhibitis, nihil penitus ad sanitatem profecit; quin potius ipsum malum medicaminibus multiplicatis accrevit.

6Ipse vero tot incommoda corporis in omni patientia et gratiarum actione sustinuit; despectisque corporalium membrorum molestiis, totam ad Deum intentionem, spiritu confortato, direxit. 7Et ut internae consolationi liberius posset intendere, quatuor fratrum, virorum virtutis, deputabatur custodiae, qui et omni sollicitudine insistebant ipsius non solum necessitudini corporis procurandae, verum etiam quietudini spiritus observandae.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 413