The First Witness of Thomas of Celano (1228) - 401 

The Life of Saint Francis

Part II (116-117)

These passages, like so many others of the Life, reveal the influence of Sulpicius Severus's life of St. Martin of Tours on Thomas. At almost every turn in the world of medieval hagiography the figureof the ideal missionary and miracle-worker, Martin of Tours, appears.a A comparison of the texts, particularly the more simple description of the Poor Ladies' reverence for the remainsof Saint Francis presented by hiscompanions, shows how much Thomas borrowed from thissource. The first biographer, then, wassimply following the literary style of his time, which is not surprising since he was responding to a commission, given him by the Holy See. Nonetheless, thesepassages are among the most beautiful in the Lifeand show theauthor's masterful knowledgeand useof Scriptureas well as the testimonies of those present at this moving journey from Our Lady of the Portiuncula to the Church of San Giorgio in Assisi by way of San Damiano.

Chapter X
THE MOURNING OF THE LADIES AT SAN DAMIANO
AND HOW HE WAS BURIED WITH PRAISE AND GLORY

116His brothers and sons had assembled with the whole multitude of people Ez 27:33 from the neighboring cities, rejoicing to take part in such solemn rites. They spent that entire night of the holy father's death in the praises of God. Thesweet sound of jubilation and the brightness of the lights made it seem that angels were keeping vigil.

When daywas breaking, Jn 21:4 the multitude of the city of Assisi gathered Acts 2:6 with all the clergy. They lifted hissacred body from the place where he had died and carried it with great honor to the city, singing hymns and praises with trumpets blaring. Jos 6:20 They all took branches of olive and other trees Jn 12:13 Mt 21:8 and solemnly followed the funeral procession, bringing even more candles as they sang songs of praise in loud voices.

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Clare of Assisi: Early Documents, p. 401

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