The Life of Saint Francis by Thomas of Celano - 285 

With the sons carrying their father and the flock following the shepherd who was hastening to the Shepherd of them all, Ez 37:24 he arrived at the place where he first planted the religion and the Order of the consecrated virgins and Poor Ladies. They laid him out in the church of San Damiano, home to those daughters he gained for the Lord. The small window was opened, the one used by these servants of Christ at the appointed time 2 Sm 24:15 to receive the sacrament of the Lord’s body. The coffin was also opened: in it lay hidden the treasure of supercelestial powers; in it he who had carried many was now carried by a few.

The Lady Clare!
Clearly a woman of true brilliance and holiness, the first mother of all the others,
the first plant of that holy Order:
she comes with her daughters to see the father
who would never again
speak to them or return to them,
as he was quickly going away.
117 They looked upon him,
groaning and weeping with great anguish of heart. Ps 38:9 [Vulgate, Ps 37:9]

“Father, O father, what shall we do?” they began to cry out. Jos 3:3 “Why are you abandoning us poor women? We are forsaken! To whom are you entrusting us?a Why didn’t you send us ahead of you in joy to the place you are going, instead of leaving us behind in sorrow? What would you have us do, enclosed in this cell, without your usual visits? All consolation 2 Cor 1:5 ebbs away along with you, just as no solace remains for us who are buried to the world! Who will comfort us in so great a poverty, poverty of merit as much as of goods?

O father of the poor! Jb 29:16 O lover of poverty! Who will help us in temptation? You, who experienced so many temptations! You, who were such a careful judge of temptations! Who will comfort us in the midst of distress? You, who were so often our help in times of distress! Ps 46:2 [Vulgate, Ps 45:2] What bitter separation, what painful absence!

“O death, dreadful death! You are killing thousands of his sons and daughters by taking away their father! Our poor efforts bore fruit through him, and you rush to tear him far from us, beyond recall!”

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Vita Prima, Fontes Franciscani, p. 395-397


4Cumque portantibus filiis patrem, et grege sequente pastorem ad Pastorem omnium e properantem, perventum esset ad locum in quo religionem et ordinem sacrarum virginum et Dominarum pauperum ipse primo plantavit, deponentibus eum in ecclesia Sancti Damiani, in qua dictae filiae suae quas Domino acquisierat morabantur, aperta est fenestra parvula per quam ancillae Christi constituto tempore communicare solent Dominici corporis sacramento. 5Aperta est et arca in qua supercaelestium virtutum thesaurus latebat, in qua portabatur a paucis qui multos portare solebat.

6Et ecce domina Clara,
quae vere meritorum sanctitate clara erat, aliarum mater prima,
quia prima planta huius sancti ordinis fuit,
venit cum reliquis filiabus ad videndum patrem
non
loquentem eis,
nec reversurum ad eas,
alibi properantem.
117 1Et ingeminatis suspiriis,
cum magno cordis gemitu et lacrimis multis respicientes eum,

suppressa voce clamare coeperunt: « Pater, pater, quid faciemus? Cur nos miseras deseris? aut cui sic desolatas relinquis?2Cur nos quo vadis non praemisisti gaudentes, quas sic hic dimittis dolentes? Quid praecipis nos facturas in isto carcere sic reclusas, quas numquam, ut soles, disponis ulterius visitare?3Tecum nostra consolatio i tota recedit, et simile solatium non remanet saeculo tumulatis! Quis in paupertate tanta non minus meritorum quam rerum solatiabitur nobis?

4O pauperum pater, paupertatis amator! Quis in tentatione succurret, o innumeras tentationes expertus, tentationum examinator cautus?5Quis in tribulatione consolabitur tribulatas, adiutor in tribulationibus, quae invenerunt nos nimis ?6O amarissima separatio, o inimica absentatio!

O nimis horrenda mors, quae milia filiorum et filiarum tanto patre orbata trucidas, cum irrevocabiliter elongare festines illum per quem studia nostra, si qua sunt, maxime floruerunt! ».

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 285