The Assisi Compilation - 184 

We who were with him saw and heard many other examples similar to these but we cannot tell them because it would take too long to write or recount them.

Blessed Francis's highest and principal concern was that he should not be a hypocrite before God. Although he needed special food for his body because of his infirmity, nevertheless, he thought that he must always offer good example to the brothers and to others, so that he might take away from them any reason for complaining and bad example. He preferred to endure bodily needs patiently and willingly, and he did endure them until the day of his death, rather than satisfy himself, even though he could have done so according to God and good example.


The Bishop of Ostia, who later became the apostolic bishop,a seeing how blessed Francis was always severe with his body, and especially because he was rapidly losing his eyesight because he refused to have himself treated, admonished him with great kindness and compassion. He told him: "Brother, you do not do well in not allowing yourself to be helped with your eye disease, for your health and your life are of great value not only to yourself but also to others. If you have compassion for your sick brothers, and have always been and still are merciful to them, you must not be cruel to yourself in such a serious and manifest need and illness. I therefore order you to allow yourself to be helped and treated."

Likewise, two years before his death, while he was already very sick, especially from the eye disease, he was staying at San Damiano in a little cell made of mats.

The general minister, seeing and considering how tormented he was with the eye disease, ordered him to let himself be treated and helped. He also told him that he wanted to be present when the doctor began the treatment, especially so that he could more effectively arrange for him to be cared for and comforted, since he was suffering a great deal from it. At that time it was very cold, and the weather was not conducive to treatment.




Compilatio Assisiensis, Fontes Franciscani, p. 1593-1596

3Et multa alia exempla hiis similia, que vidimus et audivimus nos qui fuimus cum ipso a, nec possemus dicere, quia longum esset scribere et enarrare.

4In hoc autem summum et precipuum studium habuit beatus Franciscus, ut non esset ipocrita coram Deo. 5Et licet suo corpori propter eius infirmitatem [esset] necessaria pitantia, tamen inde considerabat fratribus et aliis de se bonum exemplum semper exhibere, ut tolleret eis occasionem murmurandi et mali exempli, 6quod malebat patienter et libenter sustinere corporis necessitates et sustinuit usque ad diem mortis sue, quam sibi satisfacere, licet secundum Deum et bonum exemplum illud facere potuisset.


1Videns episcopus Hostiensis, iqui postea fuit apostolicus, quod beatus Franciscus ita fuisset et esset suo corpori semper austerus et maxime quia lumen oculorum amitti iam ceperat nolens inde facere se curari, admonuit ipsum, cum pietate multa et sui compassione dicens ad eum: 2 « Frater, non bene facis quod non facis te adiuvari de infirmitate oculorum, eo quod tibi et aliis valde est utilis sanitas et vita tua. 3Nam si fratribus tuis infirmis compateris et fuisti illis semper et es misericors, tibi in tam maxima et manifesta necessitate et infirmitate non deberes esse crudelis. 4Unde precipio tibi ut facias inde te adiuvari et curari ».

5Similiter duobus annis ante obitum suum, cum iam esset valde infirmus et specialiter de infirmitate oculorum, et moraretur in quadam cellula facta de storiis apud Sanctum Damianum,

considerans et videns generalis minister quod ita esset afflictus infirmitate oculorum, precepit ei, ut faceret et permitteret sibi se adiuvari et curari; 6immo dixit ei quod volebat interesse cum inciperet medicus eum curare, maxime ut securius faceret sibi mederi, et ad confortandum ipsum, quia valde inde a[f]fligebatur. 7Interim erat magnum frigus et non erat tempus congruum ad medendum.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 184