The Life of Saint Francis by Thomas of Celano - 201 

Chapter IX
HOW, WHEN HE HAD CHANGED HIS HABIT, HE REBUILT THE CHURCH OF SAINT MARY OF THE PORTIUNCULA, AND HOW, WHEN HE HAD HEARD THE GOSPEL AND LEFT BEHIND EVERYTHING, HE DESIGNED AND MADE THE HABIT WORN BY THE BROTHERS

21 Meanwhile, the holy man of God, having changed his habit and rebuilt that church, moved to another place near the city of Assisi, where he began to rebuild a certain church that had fallen into ruin and was almost destroyed. After a good beginning he did not stop until he had brought all to completion.a

From there he moved to another place, which is called the "Portiuncula," where there stood a church of the Blessed Virgin Mother of God built in ancient times. At that time it was deserted and no one was taking care of it.b When the holy man of God saw it so ruined, he was moved by piety because he had a warm devotion to the Mother of all good and he began to stay there continually.c The restoration of that church took place in the third year of his conversion. At this time he wore a sort of hermit's habit with a leather belt. He carried a staff in his hand and wore shoes.

22 One day the gospel was being read in that church about how the Lord sent out his disciples to preach. The holy man of God, who was attending there, in order to understand better the words of the gospel, humbly begged the priest after celebrating the solemnities of the Mass to explain the gospel to him. The priest explained it all to him thoroughly line by line. When he heard that Christ's disciples should notpossess gold or silver or money, or carry on their journey a wallet or a sack, nor bread nor a staff, nor to have shoes nor two tunics, but that they should preach the kingdom of God and penance, the holy man, Francis, immediately exulted in the spirit of God. Lk 1:47 d "This is what I

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Vita Prima, Fontes Franciscani, p. 295-297


Caput IX — Quomodo, mutato habitu, refecit ecclesiam Sanctae Mariae in Portiuncula et audito Evangelio, relictis omnibus, habitum quem fratres habent adinvenit et fecit.

21 1Interea sanctus Dei, mutato habitu et praedicta ecclesia reparata, migravit ad locum alium iuxta civitatem Assisii, in quo ecclesiam quamdam dirutam et propemodum eversam reaedificare incipiens, a bono principio non destitit quousque ad perfectum adduceret universa.

2Inde vero ad alium se transtulit locum, qui Portiuncula nuncupatur, in quo ecclesia Beatae Virginis matris Dei antiquitus constructa exstiterat, sed deserta tunc a nemine curabatur.3Quam cum sanctus Dei cerneret sic destructam, pietate commotus, quia devotione fervebat erga totius bonitatis Matrem, coepit ibidem assiduus commorari. —4Factum est autem, cum iam dictam ecclesiam reparasset, conversionis eius annus tertius agebatur.5Quo in tempore quasi eremiticum ferens habitum, accinctus corrigia et baculum manu gestans, calceatis pedibus incedebat.

22 1Sed cum die quadam Evangelium, qualiter Dominus miserit discipulos suos ad praedicandum, in eadem ecclesia legeretur, et sanctus Dei assistens ibidem utcumque verba evangelica intellexisset, celebratis missarum solemniis, a sacerdote sibi exponi Evangelium suppliciter postulavit. —2Qui cum ei cuncta per ordinem a enarrasset, audiens sanctus Franciscus Christi discipulos non debere aurum sive argentum seu pecuniam possidere, non peram, non sacculum, non panem, non virgam in via portare, non calceamenta, non duas tunica habere, sed regnum Dei et poenitentiam praedicare, continuo exsultans in spiritu Dei: 3« Hoc est, inquit, quod volo,

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 201

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