The Assisi Compilation - 128 

any thought entered his mind for which his conscience reproached him, he immediately confessed it and then said his penance.

After his death, his flesh became white and soft and he seemed to be smiling, so that he appeared more handsome after death than before. Whoever gazed on him experienced more delight in seeing him this way than when he was alive, because he looked like a saint who was smiling.

[13]
[BEFORE DYING HE SENDS A LETTER TO LADY CLARE,
PROMISING THAT SHE WILL SEE HIM AGAIN]

During the week in which blessed Francis died, Lady Clare was seriously ill. She was the first plant of the Order of Sisters, the abbess of the Poor Sisters of the monastery of San Damiano in Assisi, who emulated Saint Francis in observing always the poverty of the Son of God.a She feared that she would die before blessed Francis. She wept in bitterness of spirit and could not be comforted, because she would not be able before her death to see her only father after God, that is, blessed Francis, her comforter both internally and externally, and her first founder in God's grace.b

She sent word of this to blessed Francis through one of the brothers. Blessed Francis heard this and was moved to piety,c since he loved her and her sisters with fatherly affection because of their holy manner of living, and especially because, a few years after he began to have brothers, she was converted to the Lord through his advice, working with the Lord. Her conversion not only greatly edified the religion of the brothers, but also the entire Church of God. Blessed Francis considered that what she desired, that is, to see him, could not be done then since they were both seriously ill. To console her, he wrote his blessing in a letter and also absolved her from any failings, if she had any, regarding his commands and wishes or the com-

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Compilatio Assisiensis, Fontes Franciscani, p. 1489-1491


26Et quando occurrebat illi aliquid in mente, unde reprehenderet eum conscientia, statim confitebatur et dicebat inde suam culpam.

27Post mortem factus est albus et caro sua mollis, et quasi ridere videbatur; unde pulchrior post mortem quam antea videbatur 28et qui intuebantur ipsum delectabantur ipsum magis respicere, quam dum viveret, quoniam videbatur tamquam sanctus qui rideret.

[13]

1In fila hebdomanda qua [migravit] beatus Franciscus, domina Clara, Ordinis sororum prima plantula, abbatissa sororum pauperum monasterii Sancti Damiani de Assisio, emulatrix sancti Francisci in conservando semper paupertatem Filii Dei, cum esset tunc valde infirma et timeret mori, antequam beatus Franciscus, plorabat amaro animo a et consolari non poterat 2quia ante obitum suum videre non valebat unicum patrem suum post Deum, videlicet beatum Franciscum, consolatorem utriusque hominis ac etiam primum fundatorem suum in gratia Dei.

3Et ideo per quemdam fratrem beato Francisco significavit. 4Beatus Franciscus hoc audiens, cum diligeret eam ac eius sorores paternali affectione propter earum sanctam conversationem, motus est ad pietatem, maxime quia post paucos annos, ex quo cepit habere fratres, Domino cooperante, suis monitis conversa fuit ad Dominum; 5de cuius conversione non solum Religioni fratrum hedificatio magna fuit, sed etiam universali ecclesie Dei. 6Sed considerans beatus Franciscus, quoniam quod desiderabat, videlicet ipsum videre, tunc fieri non posset, quoniam uterque graviter infirmabatur, ad consolandum ipsam scripsit ei per litteram suam benedictionem, 7ac etiam absolvit ipsam ab omni defectu, si quem habuisset, in eius mandatis et voluntatibus et mandatis et voluntatibus Filii Dei.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 128

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