The Legend of the Three Companions - 73 

man, begging him to take it for the love of God. He would even purchase furnishings for adorning churches, and would secretly send them to poor priests.

9When his father was away and he was at home alone with his mother, although only two of them took their meals, he filled the table with loaves of bread as if he were preparing for an entire family. When his mother asked why he put so much food on the table, he answered that it would be given as alms for the poor, since he had resolved to give to anyone begging alms for God's sake. Because his mother loved him more than the other children, she tolerated him in such matters, noticing the things he did and admiring in his heart many more.

For he was so accustomed to setting his heart on joining his companions when they called him, and was so captivated by their company, that he would frequently leave the table even if he had eaten only a little. In this way he would upset his parents by his thoughtless flight. Now, however, his whole heart was intent on seeing the poor, listening to them, and giving them alms.

10He was so changed by divine grace that, although he was still in secular attire, he yearned to be in another city where, as someone unknown, he would take off his own clothes and, in exchange, put on the rags of a poor man. And he would try begging alms for the love of God.

At this time he happened to go to Rome on pilgrimage. As he was entering the church of Saint Peter,a he noticed the meager offerings made by some, and said to himself: "Since the Prince of the Apostles should be greatly honored, why do they make such meager offerings in the church where his body rests?" With great enthusiasm, he took a handful of coins from his money pouch, and threw them through a grating of the altar, making such a loud noise that all the bystanders were astonished at his generosity.

As he was leaving and passed the doors of the church, where there were many poor people begging alms, he secretly exchanged clothes with one of those poor people and put them on. Standing on the steps of the church with the other poor, he begged for alms in French, because he would speak French spontaneously, although he did not do so correctly.b




Legenda Trium Sociorum, Fontes Franciscani, p. 1381-1382

illuc pauperem secreto mittebat ut eam sibi tolleret propter Deum. 8Emebat etiam utensilia ad ecclesiarum ornatum pertinentia et ea sacerdotibus pauperibus secretius transmittebat.

9 1Cum vero patre suo absente remanebat in domo, etiam si solus cum matre in domo comederet, implebat mensam panibus ac si pro tota familia praepararet. 2Unde cum interrogaretur a matre cur tot panes in mensa poneret, respondit se hoc facere pro eleemosynis dandis pauperibus, eo quod proposuerat omni petenti pro Deo eleemosynam elargiri. 3Mater autem quia eum prae ceteris filiis diligebat, ipsum tolerabat in talibus, observans quae ab illo fiebant multumque super his in corde suo admirans.

4Sicut enim solebat cor apponere ad eundum post socios cum vocabatur ab eis, et in tantum erat illorum societate illectus ut multotiens a mensa surgeret etiam si parum comedisset relinquens in afflictione parentes propter sic inordinatum recessum, 5ita nunc cor suum totum erat intentum ut pauperes videret vel audiret quibus eleemosynas largiretur.

10 1Divina igitur gratia sic mutatus, licet adhuc esset in saeculari habitu, cupiebat esse in aliqua civitate ubi tanquam incognitus proprios pannos exueret et alicuius pauperis indumenta mutuo accepta indueret, probaretque amore Dei eleemosynas postulare.

2Factum est autem ut tunc temporis Romam, causa peregrinationis, accederet. 3Et ingrediens ecclesiam Sancti Petri, consideravit oblationes quorumdam quod essent modicae et ait intra se: « Cum princeps apostolorum sit magnifice honorandus, cur isti tam parvas oblationes faciunt in ecclesia ubi corpus eius quiescit? ». 4Sicque cum magno fervore manum ad bursam posuit et plenam denariis traxit eosque per fenestram altaris proiciens, tantum sonum fecit quod de tam magnifica oblatione omnes adstantes plurimum sunt mirati.

5Exiens autem ante fores ecclesiae ubi multi pauperes aderant ad eleemosynas petendas, mutuo accepit secreto panniculos cuiusdam pauperculi hominis et suos deponens illos induit. 6Atque stans in gradibus ecclesiae cum aliis pauperibus eleemosynam gallice postulabat, quia libenter lingua gallica loquebatur licet ea recte loqui nesciret.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 73