The Testament - 124 

The Testament

Those “who were with him,” the brothers who write in The Assisi Compilation, tell of a number of documents or “testaments” which Francis dictated as his health deteriorated and death drew near: that of Siena in which he outlined the basic principles of his Gospel vision, that concerning the Portiuncula in which he asked his brothers to care for this special symbol of their life, and another in which he provided guidelines for building new dwellings.b This document, which has come to be known as “The Testament,” has remained a primary expression of Francis’s profound wisdom and vision. While popular tradition maintains that it was written at the Portiuncula while he was dying, the document’s different styles of writing suggest that it was written at different moments of those final days and was prompted by different questions swirling around his simple Gospel vision.

1The Lord gave me, Brother Francis, thus to begin doing penance in this way: for when I was in sin, it seemed too bitter for me to see lepers. 2And the Lord Himself led me among them and I showed mercy to them. Sir 35:4 c 3And when I left them, what had seemed bitter to me was turned into sweetness of soul and body. And afterwards I delayed a little and left the world.

4And the Lord gave me such faith in churches that I would pray with simplicity in this way and say: 5“We adore You, Lord Jesus Christ, in all Your churches ...




Testamentum, Fontes Franciscani, p. 227


1Dominus ita dedit mihi fratri Francisco incipere faciendi poenitentiam: quia cum essem in peccatis nimis mihi videbatur amarum videre leprosos. 2Et ipse Dominus conduxit me inter illos et feci misericordiam cum illis. 3Et recedente me ab ipsis, id quod videbatur mihi amarum, conversum fuit mihi in dulcedinem animi et corporis; et postea parum steti et exivi de saeculo.

4Et Dominus dedit mihi talem fidem in ecclesiis, ut ita simpliciter orarem et dicerem: 5Adoramus te, Domine Jesu Christe, et ad omnes ecclesias tuas,

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 124