Francis Receives the Stigmata

THE son of Pietro Bernardone, a rich cloth merchant of Assisi, and his wife, Pica, Francis assisted his father in his business until he reached the age of twenty.  Gallant, high spirited, and generous, he lived as a youth the life usual for one of his station.  In 1202, during a border dispute between Perugia and Assisi, he was taken prisoner and held captive for some months.  After his release he returned to Assisi, but, becoming dissatisfied with his worldly life during a serious illness, after much inner conflict determined to devote himself to prayer and the service of the poor.  On a pilgrimage to Rome he was moved by compassion for the beggars before St. Peter’s and, exchanging his clothes with one of them, spent a day himself begging for alms.  This experience of being penniless deeply affected him; he discovered both the joys and the hardships of poverty; and on his return to Assisi, after being disowned by his father, devoted himself to ministering to lepers and employing his time in repairing the ruined church of  S. Damiano.  One morning c. 1208, while worshipping in the church of the Portiuncula some two miles below Assisi, he heard the Lord’s words read, bidding His disciples to leave all (Mt. 10. 7–19), and at once understood them as a personal call.  He discarded staff and went girded with a shoes, put on a long dark garment girded with a cord and set out to save souls.  Before long he gathered round him a little band of like-minded followers.

    Francis now drew up a simple rule of life for himself and his associates (‘Regula Primitiva’), based on sayings from the Gospels, and on a visit to Rome in 1209–10 secured approval for it from Innocent III.  On his return he spent some time at Rivo Torto in the neighbourhood of Assisi, and from now on his associates, who took the name of  ‘friars minor’ (fratres minores), rapidly increased and went on ever wider missions.  In 1212 his ideals were accepted by St. Clare (q.v.), a noble lady of Assisi, who founded a similar society for women centered at the church of  S. Damiano.  In 1214 Francis made his way through the S. of France and Spain with a view to converting the Moors, but illness prevented his reaching Africa.  It was the tradition that after his return to Assisi in 1216 Honorius III granted him the ‘Portiuncula Indulgence’. At the Chapter at Assisi at Pentecost, 1217, the Order was organized by provinces, with ministers appointed to supervise them.  In 1219 he made a preaching tour with eleven companions to Eastern Europe and Egypt; he was present at the siege and capture of Damietta (Nov. 1219).

    During this absence in the East, Francis’s personal relation to the Order underwent a great change.  Its direction passed into the hands of other friars (Elias of Cortona; Petrus Cataneo, d. 1221) and Francis, realizing that he lacked the qualities for supervising and administering what had now become a vast enterprise, never sought to resume the leadership.  In 1221 he founded his Tertiaries, i.e. a band of those living in the world who wished to adopt his ideals as far as was compatible with a normal mode of life.  A more definite and settled rule for the friars (the ‘Regula Prima’) was drawn up in 1221, and after further revision received formal authorization by Honorius III on 29 Nov. 1223 (the ‘Regula Bullata’).  In his later years Francis became a close friend of Cardinal Ugolino of Ostia, whom he first met at Florence in 1217, and this friendship served his Order well when in 1227 the Cardinal became Pope as Gregory IX.

    In Sept. 1224 Francis received on Mt. Alvernia, a retreat in the Apennines which had been granted to him and his followers by the Lord of Chiusi, the gift of the Stigmata.  He died in the chapel of the Portiuncula on 3 Oct. 1226.  On 16 July 1228, less than two years later, he was canonized by Gregory IX.  Feast day, 4 Oct. (Commemoration of the Stigmata, 17 Sept.).

    Francis’s generosity, his simple and unaffected faith, his passionate devotion to God and man, his love of nature and his deep humility have made him one of the most cherished saints in modern times.  The revival of interest in him among the more educated owes much to the study of P. Sabatier, the Calvinist pastor at Strassburg, who combined original research into the early Franciscan documents with warm sympathy for and a fascinating presentation of his ideals.

 Canticle of the Sun





MOST high, all-powerful, all good, Lord!

Altissimu, omnipotente, bonsignore,

  All praise is yours,

  tue sono le laude

  all glory, all honor

  la gloria et l'honore

  And all blessing.

  et omne benedictione.



To you alone, Most High, do they belong.

Ad te solo, Altissimo, se Konfano

  No mortal lips are worthy

  et nullu homo enne dignu

  To pronounce your name.

  te mentovare.





All praise be yours, my Lord, through all that you have made,

Laudato sie, mi signore, cum tucte le tue creature,

  And first my lord Brother Sun,

  spetialmente messer lo frate sole,

  Who brings the day; and light you give to us through him.

  loquale iorni et allumini noi per lui.



How beautiful is he, how radiant in all his splendor!

Et ellu e bellu eradiante cum grande splendore:

  Of you, Most High, he bears the likeness.

  de te, Altissimo, porta significatione.





All praise be yours, my Lord, through Sister Moon and Stars;

Laudato si, mi signore, per sora luna ele stelle:

  In the heavens you have made them, bright

  in celu lai formate clarite

  And precious and fair.

  et pretiose et belle.





All praise be yours, my Lord, through Brothers Wind

Laudate si, mi signore, per frate vento,

  and Air, And fair and stormy,

  et per aere et nubilo

all the weather's moods,

  et sereno et omne tempo

  By which you cherish all

  per loquale a le tue creature

that you have made.

  dai sustentamento.





All praise be yours, my Lord, through Sister Water,

Laudato si, mi signore, per sor aqua,

  So useful, lowly,

  laquale e multo utile et humile

precious, and pure.

  et pretiosa et casta.





All praise be yours, my Lord, through Brother Fire,

Laudato si, mi signore, per frate focu,

  Through whom you brighten up the night.

  per loquale ennalumini la nocte:

  How beautiful he is, how joyful

  et ellu ebello et iocundo

Full of power and strength.

  et robustoso et forte.





All praise be yours, my Lord, through Sister Earth, our mother,

Laudato si, mi signore, per sora nostra matre terra,

  Who feeds us in her sovereignty and produces

  laquale ne sustenta et governa,

  Various fruits

  et produce diverse fructi

       and colored flowers and herbs.

  con coloriti flori et herba.



All praise be yours, my Lord, through those who grant pardon

Laudato si, mi signore, per quelli ke perdonano

  For love of you;

  per lo tuo amore

through those who endure Sickness

  et sostengo infirmitate

  and trial.

  et tribulatione.



Happy those who endure in peace,

Beate quelli kel susterranno in pace,

  By you, Most High

  ka da te, Altissimo,

, they will be crowned.

  sirano incoronati.





All praise be yours, my Lord, through Sister Death,

Laudato si, mi signore, per sora nostra

  From whose embrace

  morte corporale,

    no mortal

  da laquale nullu homo

      can escape.

  vivente po skappare.



Woe to those who

Guai acqueli ke morrano

die in mortal sin!

  ne le peccata mortali!



Happy those She finds

Beati quelli ke trovarane

doing your will!

  le tue santissime voluntati,

  The second death

  ka la morte secunda

can do no harm to them.

  nol fara' male.



Praise and bless my Lord,

Laudate et benedicite, mi signore,

and give him thanks,  And serve him.

  et rengratiate et servite lo

with great humility

  cum grande humilitate.




Rule of Francis (3rd Rule)





Regula Bullata
[Approved Rule] of 1223








CHAPTER 1.  In the name of the Lord, herein follows the [way of] life of the Little Brothers In nomine domini incipit vita minorum fratrum.



THIS is the rule and way of living of the Little Brothers: namely to observe the holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, living in obedience, without personal possessions, and in chastity. Brother Francis promises obedience and reverence to our lord pope Honorius, and to his successors who canonically enter upon their office, and to the Roman Church. And the other brothers shall be bound to obey brother Francis and his successors.

Regula et vita minorum fratrum haec est scilicet domini nostri Iesu Christi sanctum evangelium observare vivendo in obedientia sine proprio et in castitate.   Frater Franciscus promittit obedientiam et reverentiam domino papae Honorio ac successoribus eius canonice intrantibus et ecclesiae Romanae.   Et alii fratres teneantur fratri Francisco et eius successoribus obedire.  



CHAPTER 2.  Concerning those who wish to adopt this life, and how they are to be received. De his qui volunt vitam istam accipere et qualiter recipi debeant.



If any persons shall wish to adopt this form of living, and shall come to our brothers, they shall send them to their provincial ministers; to whom alone, and to no others, permission is given to receive brothers. But the ministers shall diligently examine them in the matter of the catholic faith and the ecclesiastical sacraments.

Si qui voluerint hanc vitam accipere et venerint ad fratres nostros mittant eos ad suos ministros provinciales quibus solummodo et non aliis recipiendi fratres licentia concedatur.   Ministri vero diligenter examinent eos de fide catholica et ecclesiasticis sacramentis.

And if they believe all these, and are willing to faithfully confess them and observe them steadfastly to the end; and if they have no wives, or if they have them and the wives have already entered a monastery, or if they shall have given them permission to do so—they themselves having already taken a vow of continence by the authority of the bishop of the diocese, and their wives being of such age that no suspicion can arise in connection with them:—the ministers shall say unto them the word of the holy Gospel, to the effect that they shall go and sell all that they have and strive to give it to the poor.

Et si haec omnia credant et velint ea fideliter confiteri et usque in finem firmiter observare et uxores non habent vel si habent et iam monasterium intraverint uxores vel licentiam eis dederint auctoritate dioecesani episcopi voto continentiae iam emisso et illius sint aetatis uxores quod non possit de eis oriri suspicio dicant illis verbum sancti evangelii quod vadant et vendant omnia sua et ea studeant pauperibus erogare. 

But if they shall not be able to do this, their good will is enough. And the brothers and their ministers shall be on their guard and not concern themselves for their temporal goods; so that they may freely do with those goods exactly as God inspires them. But if advice is required, the ministers shall have permission to send them to some God-fearing men by whose counsel they shall dispense their goods to the poor.

Quod si facere non potuerint sufficit eis bona voluntas.  Et caveant fratres et eorum ministri ne solliciti sint de rebus suis temporalibus ut libere faciant de rebus suis quidquid dominus inspiraverit eis.  Si tamen consilium requiratur licentiam habeant ministri mittendi eos ad aliquos deum timentes quorum consilio bona sua pauperibus erogentur. 

Afterwards there shall be granted to them the garments of probation: namely two gowns without cowls and a belt, and hose and a cape down to the belt; unless to these same ministers something else may at some time seem to be preferable in the sight of God. But, when the year of probation is over, they shall be received into obedience; promising always to observe that manner of living, and this Rule. And, according to the mandate of the lord pope, they shall never be allowed to break these bonds. For according to the holy Gospel, no one putting his hand to the plough and looking back is fit for the kingdom of God. And those who have now promised obedience shall have one gown with a cowl, and another, if they wish it, without a cowl. And those who are compelled by necessity, may wear shoes. And all the brothers shall wear humble garments, and may repair them with sack cloth and other remnants, with the benediction of God. And I warn and exhort them lest they despise or judge men whom they shall see clad in soft garments and in colors, using delicate food and drink; but each one shall the rather judge and despise himself.

Postea concedant eis pannos probationis videlicet duas tunicas sine caputio et cingulum et braccas et caparonem usque ad cingulum nisi eisdem ministris aliud secundum deum aliquando videatur.  Finito vero anno probationis recipiantur ad obedientiam promittentes vitam istam semper et regulam observare.  Et nullo modo licebit eis de ista religione exire iuxta mandatum domini papae quia secundum sanctum evangelium nemo mittens manum ad aratrum et aspiciens retro aptus est regno dei.  Et illi qui iam promiserunt obedientiam habeant unam tunicam cum caputio et aliam sine caputio qui voluerint habere.  Et qui necessitate coguntur possint portare calceamenta.  Et fratres omnes vestimentis vilibus induantur et possint ea repeciare de saccis et aliis peciis cum benedictione dei.Quos moneo et exhortor ne despiciant neque iudicent homines quos vident mollibus vestimentis et coloratis indutos uti cibis et potibus delicatis sed magis unusquisque iudicet et despiciat semetipsum.



CHAPTER 3.  Concerning the divine office and fasting; and how the brothers should move through the world. De divino officio et ieiunio et quomodo fratres debeant ire per mundum. 



The clerical brothers shall perform the divine service according to the order of the holy Roman Church; excepting the psalter, of which they may have breviaries. But the lay brothers shall say twenty four Paternosters at matins, five at the Lauds, seven each at Prime, Terce, Sext, and None, twelve at vespers, seven at the Compline; and they shall pray for the dead.

Clerici faciant divinum officium secundum ordinem sanctae Romanae ecclesiae excepto psalterio ex quo habere poterunt breviaria.  Laici vero dicant viginti quatuor Pater noster pro matutino pro laude quinque pro prima tertia sexta nona pro qualibet istarum septem pro vesperis autem duodecim pro completorio septem et orent pro defunctis.

And they shall fast from the feast of All Saints to the Nativity of the Lord; but as to the holy season of Lent, which begins from the Epiphany of the Lord and continues forty days, which the Lord consecrated with his holy fast—those who fast during it shall be blessed of the Lord, and those who .do not wish to fast shall not be bound to do so; but otherwise they shall fast until the Resurrection of the Lord. But at other times the brothers shall not be bound to fast save on the sixth day (Friday); but in time of manifest necessity the brothers shall not be bound to fast with their bodies. But I advise, warn and exhort my brothers in the Lord Jesus Christ, that, when they go into the world, they shall not quarrel, nor contend with words, nor judge others. But they shall be gentle, peaceable and modest, merciful and humble, honestly speaking with all, as is becoming. And they ought not to ride unless they are compelled by manifest necessity or by infirmity. Into whatever house they enter they shall first say: peace be to this house. And according to the holy Gospel it is lawful for them. to eat of all the dishes which are placed before them.

Et ieiunent a festo omnium sanctorum usque ad nativitatem domini.  Sanctam vero quadragesimam quae incipit ab epiphania usque ad continuos quadraginta dies quam dominus suo sancto ieiunio consecravit qui voluntarie eam ieiunant benedicti sint a domino et qui nolunt non sint adstricti.  Sed aliam usque ad resurrectionem domini ieiunent.  Aliis autem temporibus non teneantur nisi sexta feria ieiunare.  Tempore vero manifestae necessitatis non teneantur fratres ieiunio corporali.  Consulo vero moneo et exhortor fratres meos in domino Iesu Christo ut quando vadunt per mundum non litigent neque contendant verbis nec alios iudicent sed sint mites pacifici et modesti mansueti et humiles honeste loquentes omnibus sicut decet.Et non debeant equitare nisi manifesta necessitate vel infirmitate cogantur.  In quamcumque domum intraverint primum dicant: Pax huic domui.  Et secundum sanctum evangelium de omnibus cibis qui apponuntur eis liceat manducare. 



CHAPTER 4.  That the brothers should not accept money. Quod fratres non recipiant pecuniam. 



I firmly command all the brothers by no means to receive coin or money, of themselves or through an intervening person. But for the needs of the sick and for clothing the other brothers, the ministers alone and the guardians shall provide through spiritual friends, as it may seem to them that necessity demands, according to time, place and cold temperature. This one thing being always regarded, that, as has been said, they receive neither coin. nor money.

Praecipio firmiter fratribus universis ut nullo modo denarios vel pecuniam recipiant per se vel per interpositam personam.  Tamen pro necessitatibus infirmorum et aliis fratribus induendis per amicos spirituales ministri tantum et custodes sollicitam curam gerant secundum loca et tempora et frigidas regiones sicut necessitati viderint expedire eo semper salvo ut sicut dictum est denarios vel pecuniam non recipiant. 



CHAPTER 5.  On [their] manner of working. De modo laborandi. 



Those brothers to whom God has given the ability to labour, shall labour faithfully and devoutly ; in such sway that idleness, the enemy of the soul, being excluded, they may not extinguish the spirit of holy prayer and devotion ; to which other temporal things should be subservient. As a reward, moreover, for their labour, they may receive for themselves and their brothers the necessaries of life, but not coin or money; and this humbly, as becomes the servants of God and the followers of most holy poverty.

Fratres illi quibus gratiam dedit dominus laborandi laborent fideliter et devote ita quod excluso otio animae inimico sanctae orationis et devotionis spiritum non exstinguant cui debent cetera temporalia deservire. De mercede vero laboris pro se et suis fratribus corporis necessaria recipiant praeter denarios vel pecuniam et hoc humiliter sicut decet servos dei et paupertatis sanctissimae sectatores. 

6. That the brothers should appropriate nothing for themselves; and on how alms should be begged; and concerning sick brothers.

Quod nihil approprient sibi fratres et de eleemosyna petenda et de fratribus infirmis.



CHAPTER 6.    



The brothers shall appropriate nothing to themselves, neither a house, nor a place, nor anything; but as pilgrims and strangers in this world, in poverty and humility serving God, they shall confidently go seeking for alms. Nor need they be ashamed, for the Lord made Himself poor for us in this world. This is that height of most lofty poverty, which has constituted you my most beloved brothers heirs and kings of the kingdom of Heaven, has made you poor in possessions, has exalted you in virtues. This be your portion, which leads on to the land of the living. Adhering to it absolutely, most beloved brothers, you will wish to have for ever in Heaven nothing else than the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. And wherever the brothers are and shall meet, they shall show themselves as of one household ; and the one shall safely manifest to the other his necessity. For if a mother loves and nourishes her son in the flesh, how much more zealously should one love and nourish one’s spiritual brother r1 And if any of them fall into sickness, the other brothers ought to serve him, as they would wish themselves to be served.

Fratres nihil sibi approprient nec domum nec locum nec aliquam rem.  Et tamquam peregrini et advenae in hoc saeculo in paupertate et humilitate domino famulantes vadant pro eleemosyna confidenter nec oportet eos verecundari quia dominus pro nobis se fecit pauperem in hoc mundo.  Haec est illa celsitudo altissimae paupertatis quae vos carissimos fratres meos heredes et reges regni caelorum instituit pauperes rebus fecit virtutibus sublimavit.  Haec sit portio vestra quae perducit in terram viventium.  Cui dilectissimi fratres totaliter inhaerentes nihil aliud pro nomine domini nostri Iesu Christi in perpetuum sub caelo habere velitis.  Et ubicumque sunt et se invenerint fratres ostendant se domesticos invicem inter se.  Et secure manifestet unus alteri necessitatem suam quia si mater nutrit et diligit filium suum carnalem quanto diligentius debet quis diligere et nutrire fratrem suum spiritualem?  Et si quis eorum in infirmitate ceciderit alii fratres debent ei servire sicut vellent sibi serviri.

7. On the penances of the brothers who sin

De poenitentia fratribus peccantibus imponenda. 



CHAPTER 7.    



But if any of the brothers at the instigation of the enemy shall mortally sin: for those sins concerning which it has been ordained among the brothers that recourse must be had to the provincial ministers, the aforesaid brothers shall be bound to have recourse to them, as quickly as they can, without delay. But those ministers, if they are priests, shall with mercy enjoin penance upon them. But if they are not priests, they shall cause it to be enjoined upon them through others, priests of the order; according as it seems to them to be most expedient in the sight of God. And they ought to be on their guard lest they grow angry and be disturbed on account of the sin of any one; for wrath and indignation impede love in themselves and in others.

Si qui fratrum instigante inimico mortaliter peccaverint pro illis peccatis de quibus ordinatum fuerit inter fratres ut recurratur ad solos ministros provinciales teneantur praedicti fratres ad eos recurrere quam citius poterint sine mora.Ipsi vero ministri si presbyteri sunt cum misericordia iniungant illis poenitentiam si vero presbyteri non sunt iniungi faciant per alios sacerdotes ordinis sicut eis secundum deum melius videbitur expedire.  Et cavere debent ne irascantur et conturbentur propter peccatum alicuius quia ira et conturbatio in se et in aliis impediunt caritatem. 

8. On the election of the general minister of this brotherhood; and on the chapter at Pentecost.

De electione generalis ministri huius fraternitatis et de capitulo Pentecostes. 



CHAPTER 8.    



All the brothers shall be bound always to have one of the brothers of that order as general minister and servant of the whole fraternity, and shall be firmly bound to obey him. When he dies, the election of a successor shall be made by the provincial ministers and guardians, in the chapter held at Pentecost: in which the provincial ministers are bound always to come together in whatever place shall be designated by the general minister. And this, once in three years; or at another greater or lesser interval, according as shall be ordained by the aforesaid minister. And if, at any time, it shall be apparent to the whole body of the provincial ministers and guardians that the aforesaid minister does not suffice for the service and common utility of the brothers : the aforesaid! brothers to whom the right of election has been given shall be bound, in the name of God, to elect another as their guardian. But after the chapter held at Pentecost the ministers and the guardians can, if they wish it and it seems expedient for them, in that same year call together, once, their brothers, in their districts, to a chapter.

Universi fratres unum de fratribus istius religionis teneantur semper habere generalem ministrum et servum totius fraternitatis et ei teneantur firmiter obedire.  Quo decedente electio successoris fiat a ministris provincialibus et custodibus in capitulo Pentecostes in quo provinciales ministri teneantur semper insimul convenire ubicumque a generali ministro fuerit constitutum et hoc semel in tribus annis vel ad alium terminum maiorem vel minorem sicut a praedicto ministro fuerit ordinatum.  Et si aliquo tempore appareret universitati ministrorum provincialium et custodum praedictum ministrum non esse sufficientem ad servitium et communem utilitatem fratrum teneantur praedicti fratres quibus electio data est in nomine domini alium sibi eligere in custodem.  Post capitulum vero Pentecostes ministri et custodes possint singuli si voluerint et eis expedire videbitur eodem anno in suis custodiis semel fratres suos ad capitulum convocare.

9. On preachers.

De praedicatoribus. 



CHAPTER 9.    



The brothers may not preach in the bishopric of any bishop if they have been forbidden to by him. And no one of the brothers shall dare to preach at all to the people, unless he have been examined and approved by the general minister of this fraternity, and the office of preacher have been conceded to him. I also exhort those same brothers that, in the preaching which they do, their expressions shall be chaste and chosen, to the utility and edification of the people; announcing to them vices and virtues, punishment and glory, with briefness of discourse ; for the words were brief which the Lord spoke upon earth.

Fratres non praedicent in episcopatu alicuius episcopi cum ab eo illis fuerit contradictum.  Et nullus fratrum populo penitus audeat praedicare nisi a ministro generali huius fraternitatis fuerit examinatus et approbatus et ab eo officium sibi praedicationis concessum.Moneo quoque et exhortor eosdem fratres ut in praedicatione quam faciunt sint examinata et casta eorum eloquia ad utilitatem et aedificationem populi annuntiando eis vitia et virtutes poenam et gloriam cum brevitate sermonis quia verbum abbreviatum fecit dominus super terram.



CHAPTER 10.  On the admonition and correction of the brethren. De admonitione et correctione fratrum. 



The brothers who are the ministers and servants of the other brothers shall visit and admonish their brothers and humbly and lovingly correct them; not teaching them anything which is against their soul and against our Rule. But the brothers who are subjected to them shall remember that, before God, they have discarded their own wills. Wherefore I firmly command them that they obey their ministers in all things which they have promised God to observe, and which are not contrary to their souls and to our Rule. And wherever there are brothers who know and recognize that they can not spiritually observe the Rule, they may and should have recourse to their ministers. But the ministers shall receive them lovingly and kindly, and shall exercise such familiarity towards them, that they may speak and act towards them as masters to their servants; for so it ought to be, that the ministers should be the servants of all the brothers.

Fratres qui sunt ministri et servi aliorum fratrum visitent et moneant fratres suos et humiliter et caritative corrigant eos non praecipientes eis aliquid quod sit contra animam suam et regulam nostram.  Fratres vero qui sunt subditi recordentur quod propter deum abnegaverunt proprias voluntates.  Unde firmiter praecipio eis ut obediant suis ministris in omnibus quae promiserunt domino observare et non sunt contraria animae et regulae nostrae.  Et ubicumque sunt fratres qui scirent et cognoscerent se non posse regulam spiritualiter observare ad suos ministros debeant et possint recurrere.  Ministri vero caritative et benigne eos recipiant et tantam familiaritatem habeant circa ipsos ut dicere possint eis et facere sicut domini servis suis nam ita debet esse quod ministri sint servi omnium fratrum. 

I warn and exhort, moreover, in Christ Jesus the Lord, that the brothers be on their guard against all pride, vainglory, envy, avarice, care and anxiety for this world, detraction and murmuring. And they shall not take trouble to teach those ignorant of letters, but shall pay heed to this that they desire to have the spirit of God and its holy workings; that they pray always to God with a pure heart; that they have humility, patience, in persecution and infirmity; and that they love those who persecute, revile and attack us. For the Lord saith: “ Love your enemies, and pray for those that persecute you and speak evil against you; (Mat. 5:44) Blessed are they that suffer persecution for righteousness’ sake, for of such is the kingdom of Heaven; (Mat. 5:10) He that is steadfast unto the end shall be saved.” (Mat. 10:22).

Moneo vero et exhortor in domino Iesu Christo ut caveant fratres ab omni superbia vana gloria invidia avaritia cura et sollicitudine huius saeculi detractione et murmuratione.  Et non curent nescientes litteras litteras discere sed attendant quod super omnia desiderare debent habere Spiritum domini et sanctam eius operationem orare semper ad eum puro corde et habere humilitatem patientiam in persecutione et infirmitate et diligere eos qui nos persequuntur et reprehendunt et arguunt quia dicit dominus: diligite inimicos vestros et orate pro persequentibus et calumniantibus vos.  Beati qui persecutionem patiuntur propter iustitiam quoniam ipsorum est regnum caelorum.Qui autem perseveraverit usque in finem hic salvus erit. 



CHAPTER 11.  That the brothers should not enter the convents of nuns. Quod fratres non ingrediantur monasteria monacharum. 



I firmly command all the brothers not to have suspicious intercourse or to take counsel with women. And, with the exception of those to whom special permission has been given by the Apostolic Chair, let them not enter nunneries. Neither may they become fellow god-parents with men or women, lest from this cause a scandal may arise among the brothers or concerning brothers.

Praecipio firmiter fratribus universis ne habeant suspecta consortia vel consilia mulierum et ne ingrediantur monasteria monacharum praeter illos quibus a sede apostolica concessa est licentia specialis.  Nec fiant compatres virorum vel mulierum nec hac occasione inter fratres vel de fratribus scandalum oriatur. 



CHAPTER 12.  Concerning those who go to the Saracens and other unbelievers. De euntibus inter Saracenos et alios infideles. 



Whoever of the brothers by divine inspiration may wish to go among the Saracens and other unbelievers, shall seek permission to do so from their provincial ministers. But to none shall the ministers give permission to go, save to those whom they shall see to be fit for the mission.

Quicumque fratrum divina inspiratione voluerint ire inter Saracenos et alios infideles petant inde licentiam a suis ministris provincialibus.  Ministri vero nullis eundi licentiam tribuant nisi eis quos viderint esse idoneos ad mittendum. 

Furthermore, through their obedience I enjoin on the ministers that they demand from the lord pope one of the cardinals of the holy Roman Church, who shall be the governor, corrector and protector of that fraternity, so that, always subjected and lying at the feet of that same holy Church, steadfast in the catholic faith, we may observe poverty and humility, and the holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ; as we have firmly promised.

Ad haec per obedientiam iniungo ministris ut petant a domino papa unum de sanctae Romanae ecclesiae cardinalibus qui sit gubernator protector et corrector istius fraternitatis ut semper subditi et subiecti pedibus eiusdem sanctae ecclesiae stabiles in fide catholica paupertatem et humilitatem et sanctum evangelium domini nostri Iesu Christi quod firmiter promisimus observemus. 

Nulli ergo omnino hominum liceat hanc paginam nostrae confirmationis infringere vel ei ausu temerario contraire.  Si quis autem hoc attentare praesumpserit indignationem omnipotentis dei et beatorum Petri et Pauli apostolorum eius se noverit incursurum.Datum Laterani tertio kalendas decembris pontificatus nostri anno octavo.






Franciscus Assisiensis
- Testamentum







This is how the Lord gave me, brother Francis, the power to do penance. When I was in sin the sight of lepers was too bitter for me. And the Lord himself led me among them, and I pitied and helped them. And when I left them I discovered that what had seemed bitter to m e was changed into sweetness in my soul and body. And shortly afterward I rose and left the world.

Dominus ita dedit mihi fratri Francisco incipere faciendi poenitentiam quia cum essem in peccatis nimis mihi videbatur amarum videre leprosos.  Et ipse dominus conduxit me inter illos et feci misericordiam cum illis. Et 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. 

And the Lord gave me such faith in churches that I prayed simply, saying, “I adore you, Lord Jesus Christ, with all your churches throughout the world, and we bless you because you redeemed the world through your holy cross. Later God gave me and still gives me such faith in priests who live according to the form of the Holy Roman Church that even if they persecuted me I would still run back to them, because of their posit ion. And if I had all the wisdom of Solomon and came upon some poor little priests in their parishes, I would preach there only if they wished me to do so. And I want to fear, love and honor these and all others as my lords. And I do not even want to think about there being any sin in them, because I see the son of God in them and they are my lords. And I do this because in this world I physically see the most high Son of God only in his most holy body and blood, which they receive and they alone administer to others. And I want this holy mystery to be honored above all things, venerated, and kept in costly containers. Whenever I find his holy names or words in improper places I pick them up and ask that they be collected and stored in a proper place. And we ought to honor and venerate all theologians and those who administer the holy divine word, for they administer to us spirit and life.

Et dominus dedit mihi talem fidem in ecclesiis ut ita simpliciter orarem et dicerem: Adoramus te domine Iesu Christe et ad omnes ecclesias tuas quae sunt in toto mundo et benedicimus tibi quia per sanctam crucem tuam redemisti mundum. Postea dominus dedit mihi et dat tantam fidem in sacerdotibus qui vivunt secundum formam sanctae ecclesiae Romanae propter ordinem ipsorum quod si facerent mihi persecutionem volo recurrere ad ipsos. Et si haberem tantam sapientiam quantam Salomon habuit et invenirem pauperculos sacerdotes huius saeculi in parochiis quibus morantur nolo praedicare ultra voluntatem ipsorum. Et ipsos et omnes alios volo timere amare et honorare sicut meos dominos. Et nolo in ipsis considerare peccatum quia filium dei discerno in ipsis et domini mei sunt. Et propter hoc facio quia nihil video corporaliter in hoc saeculo de ipso altissimo filio dei nisi sanctissimum corpus et sanctissimum sanguinem suum quod ipsi recipiunt et ipsi soli aliis ministrant. Et haec sanctissima mysteria super omnia volo honorari venerari et in locis pretiosis collocari.Sanctissima nomina et verba eius scripta ubicumque invenero in locis illicitis volo colligere et rogo quod colligantur et in loco honesto collocentur. Et omnes theologos et qui ministrant sanctissima verba divina debemus honorare et venerari sicut qui ministrant nobis spiritum et vitam. 

And when God gave me brothers, no one showed me what I should do, but the Most high revealed to me that I should live according to the form of the holy gospel. I had it written in few words and simply, and the lord pope confirmed it for me. And those who came to receive life gave all that they had to the poor and were content with one tunic patched inside and out, with a cord and trousers. And we did not wish to have more.

Et postquam dominus dedit mihi de fratribus nemo ostendebat mihi quid deberem facere sed ipse altissimus revelavit mihi quod deberem vivere secundum formam sancti evangelii. Et ego paucis verbis et simpliciter feci scribi et dominus papa confirmavit mihi. Et illi qui veniebant ad recipiendam vitam omnia quae habere poterant dabant pauperibus et erant contenti tunica una intus et foris repeciata cum cingulo et braccis. Et nolebamus plus habere. 

We who were clerics said the office life other clerics, and the laymen said the “Our Father,” and we gladly stayed in churches. And we were ignorant and subject to all. And I worked with my hands, and want to do so still. And I definitely want all the other brothers to work at some honest job. Those who don’t know how should learn, not because they want to receive wages but as an example and to avoid idleness. And when our wages are withheld from us, let us return to the Lord’s table, begging alms from door to door. The Lord revealed what greeting we should use: “The Lord give you peace.”

Officium dicebamus clerici secundum alios clericos laici dicebant: Pater noster; et satis libenter manebamus in ecclesiis. Et eramus idiotae et subditi omnibus. Et ego manibus meis laborabam et volo laborare et omnes alii fratres firmiter volo quod laborent de laboritio quod pertinet ad honestatem. Qui nesciunt discant non propter cupiditatem recipiendi pretium laboris sed propter exemplum et ad repellendam otiositatem.Et quando non daretur nobis pretium laboris recurramus ad mensam domini petendo eleemosynam ostiatim. Salutationem mihi dominus revelavit ut diceremus: dominus det tibi pacem. 

The brothers must be careful not to accept any churches, poor dwellings, or anything else constructed for them unless these buildings reflect the holy poverty promised by us in the rule. We should always live in these places as strangers and pilgrims. I firmly command all the brothers, by the obedience they owe me, that wherever they are they should not dare to ask either directly or through an intermediary for any letter from the Roman court to secure a church or any other place, to protect their preaching, or to prevent persecution of their bodies; but wherever they are not received, they should flee into another land and do penance with God’s blessing.

Caveant sibi fratres ut ecclesias habitacula paupercula et omnia quae pro ipsis construuntur penitus non recipiant nisi essent sicut decet sanctam paupertatem quam in regula promisimus semper ibi hospitantes sicut advenae et peregrini. Praecipio firmiter per obedientiam fratribus universis quod ubicumque sunt non audeant petere aliquam litteram in curia Romana per se neque per interpositam personam neque pro ecclesia neque pro alio loco neque sub specie praedicationis neque pro persecutione suorum corporum sed ubicumque non fuerint recepti fugiant in aliam terram ad faciendam poenitentiam cum benedictione dei. 

And I firmly wish to obey the minister general of this brotherhood, and any other guardian the minister should want to give me. And I want to be such a captive in his hands that I cannot go anywhere or do anything without his desire and command, because he is my lord. And although I am simple and ill, I always want to have a cleric who can perform the office for me, as the rule states. And all the other brothers are thus bound to obey their guardians and perform the office according to the rule. And whenever some are found who do not wish to perform the office according to the rule and want to change it, or who are not Catholic in their beliefs, then all the brothers wherever they may be are bound by obedience to turn such people over to the custodian nearest the place where they found them. The custodian in turn is bound by obedience to guard him strongly life a man in chains, day and night, so that he cannot possibly escape from his hands until he personally places him in the hands of his minister. And the minister is bound by obedience to place him in the care of brothers who will guard him night and day like a man in chains until they turn him over to our lord bishop of Ostia, who is the lord protector and corrector of the whole brotherhood.

Et firmiter volo obedire ministro generali huius fraternitatis et alio guardiano quem sibi placuerit mihi dare. Et ita volo esse captus in manibus suis ut non possim ire vel facere ultra obedientiam et voluntatem suam quia dominus meus est. Et quamvis sim simplex et infirmus tamen semper volo habere clericum qui mihi faciat officium sicut in regula continetur. Et omnes alii fratres teneantur ita obedire guardianis suis et facere officium secundum regulam. Et qui inventi essent quod non facerent officium secundum regulam et vellent alio modo variare aut non essent catholici omnes fratres ubicumque sunt per obedientiam teneantur quod ubicumque invenerint aliquem ipsorum proximiori custodi illius loci ubi ipsum invenerint debeant repraesentare. Et custos firmiter teneatur per obedientiam ipsum fortiter custodire sicuti hominem in vinculis die noctu que ita quod non possit eripi de manibus suis donec propria sua persona ipsum repraesentet in manibus sui ministri.Et minister firmiter teneatur per obedientiam mittendi ipsum per tales fratres quod die noctu que custodiant ipsum sicuti hominem in vinculis donec repraesentent ipsum coram domino Ostiensi qui est dominus protector et corrector totius fraternitatis. 

And the brothers must not say, “This is another rule,” for it is a recollection, admonition, exhortation and my testament which I, poor brother Francis, make for you my brothers, so that we may observe the rule we have promised to God in a more Catholic manner. And the general minister and all other ministers and custodians are bound by obedience not to add or subtract from these words. And they must always have this writing with them in addition to the rule. And in all chapter meetings held by them, when they read the rule, they must also read these words.

Et non dicant fratres: haec est alia regula; quia haec est recordatio admonitio exhortatio et meum testamentum quod ego frater Franciscus parvulus facio vobis fratribus meis benedictis propter hoc ut regulam quam domino promisimus melius catholice observemus. Et generalis minister et omnes alii ministri et custodes per obedientiam teneantur in istis verbis non addere vel minuere. Et semper hoc scriptum habeant se cum iuxta regulam. Et in omnibus capitulis quae faciunt quando legunt regulam legant et ista verba. 

And I firmly forbid m y brothers, both clerics and laymen, to place glosses on the rule or say, “This is what it means.” But just as the Lord gave me the power to compose and write both the rule and these words simply and purely, so you must understand them simply and without gloss and observe them by holy act ion until the end.

Et omnibus fratribus meis clericis et laicis praecipio firmiter per obedientiam ut non mittant glossas in regula neque in istis verbis dicendo: ita volunt intelligi. Sed sicut dedit mihi dominus simpliciter et pure dicere et scribere regulam et ista verba ita simpliciter et sine glossa intelligatis et cum sancta operatione observetis usque in finem. 

And whoever observes them will be filled in heaven with a blessing of the most high Father and on earth he will be filled with the blessing of his beloved Son, with the Holy . Spirit the Comforter and all the powers of heaven and all the saints. And, I brother Francis, your servant insofar as I can be, internally and externally confirm for you this holy blessing.

Et quicumque haec observaverit in caelo repleatur benedictione altissimi patris et in terra repleatur benedictione dilecti filii sui cum sanctissimo Spiritu Paraclito et omnibus virtutibus caelorum et omnibus sanctis. Et ego frater Franciscus parvulus vester servus quantumcumque possum confirmo vobis intus et foris istam sanctissimam benedictionem.


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