The Life of Saint Francis by Thomas of Celano - 195 

Eventually he arrived at a cloister of monks, where he spent several days covered with only a cheap shirt, serving as a scullery boy in the kitchen.a He wanted to be fed at least some soup. No mercy was shown him and he was not even able to get some old clothes. Not moved by anger but forced by necessity, he moved on to the city of Gubbio, where he obtained a cheap tunic from an old friend. Shortly afterward, when the fame of the man of God had grown far and wide and his name was spread among the people, the prior of that monastery, when he recalled the event and understood what had been done to the man of God, came to him and, out of reverence for the Savior, begged forgiveness for himself and his monks.

17 Then the holy lover of profound humility moved to the lepers and stayed with them.b For God's sake he served all of them with great love. He washed all the filth from them, and even cleaned out the pus of their sores, just as he said in his Testament: "When I was in sin, it seemed too bitter for me to see lepers, and the Lord led me among them and I showed mercy to them." For he used to say that the sight of lepers was so bitter to him that in the days of his vanity when he saw their houses even two miles away, he would cover his nose with his hands.

When he started thinking of holy and useful matters with the grace and strength of the Most High Lk 1:35, while still in the clothes of the world, he met a leper one day. Made stronger than himself, he came up and kissed him. Mk 14:45 c He then began to consider himself less and less, until by the mercy of the Redeemer, he came to complete victory over himself.

While staying in the world and following its ways, he was also a helper of the poor. He extended a hand of mercy to those who had nothing and he poured out compassion for the afflicted. One day, contrary to his custom (since he was very polite), he rebuked a poor person seeking alms from him, and he was immediately led to penance. Mt 27:3 He began to say to himself Lk 7:49 that to refuse what was asked by someone begging in the name of such a great King would be both a shame and a disgrace.




Vita Prima, Fontes Franciscani, p. 290-291

5Tandem ad quoddam Claustrum monachorum veniens, per plures dies in sola vili camisia, quasi garcio in coquina exsistens, cupiebat vel de brodio saturari.6Verum cum, omni miseratione subtracta, nullum posset vel vetustum acquirere indumentum, non motus ira sed necessitate coactus, inde progrediens devenit ad Eugubii civitatem, ubi a quodam olim amico eius sibi tuniculam acquisivit. —7Post haec autem, modico tempore iam elapso, cum viri Dei ubique fama crebresceret et nomen eius divulgaretur in populis, prior monasterii supradicti, quod factum fuerat in virum Dei recolens et intelligens, venit ad eum, et ob reverentiam Salvatoris ab eo suppliciter pro se suisque veniam postulavit.

171Deinde vero totius humilitatis sanctus amator se transtulit ad leprosos, eratque cum eis, diligentissime serviens omnibus propter Deum, et lavans putredinem omnem ab eis, ulcerum etiam saniem extergebat, sicut ipse in Testamento suo loquitur dicens:2« Quia cum essem in peccatis, nimis amarum mihi videbatur videre leprosos, et Dominus conduxit me inter illos, et feci misericordiam cum illis ». —3In tantum namque, ut dicebat, aliquando amara ei leprosorum visio exsistebat ut, cum tempore vanitatis suae per duo fere milliaria eminus ipsorum domos respiceret, nares suas propriis manibus obturaret.

4Sed, cum iam gratia et virtute Altissimi, sancta et utilia inciperet cogitare, in saeculari adhuc habitu constitutus leprosum unum obvium habuit die quadam, et semetipso fortior effectus accessit, et osculatus est eum. —5Exinde quoque coepit seipsum magis ac magis contemnere, quousque misericordia Redemptoris ad perfectam suimet vietoriam perveniret. —

6Aliorum quoque pauperum, in saeculo manens et adhuc saeculum sequens, erat adiutor, non habentibus porrigens misericordiae manum, et afflictis gerens compassionis affectum. — 7Nam cum die una, praeter morem suum, quia curialissimus erat, cuidam pauperi postulanti ab eo eleemosynam exprobrasset, statim poenitentia ductus e , coepit dicere intra se, magni vituperii fore magnique dedecoris petenti pro nomine tanti Regis subtrahere postulata.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 195