The Legend of the Three Companions - 104 

to blessed Francis, commended the life and accomplishments of the saint and his brothers to the other cardinals. Their minds were moved to love the man of God with his brothers, so that each one of them wanted to have brothers in his own household, not for any service they might provide, but because of their holiness and the dedication with which they burned for them.

After the Lord Cardinal John of Saint Paul had died, the Lord inspired one of the cardinals, Hugolino, at that time the bishop of Ostia, to cherish, protect, and support Francis and his brothers. With burning intensity, he held them in awe as if he were the father of them all. What is more, more than the love of a carnal father reaching out naturally to his own sons, the love of this man overflowed spiritually on the man of God and his brothers, loving and supporting them in the Lord.

The man of God heard of this man's glorious reputation, for among the cardinals he was famous, and with his brothers approached him. Receiving them with joy, he told them: "I am offering you myself for advice, assistance and protection, ready to give myself according to your good pleasure. I only ask that, for God's sake, you have me remembered in your prayers."

Then blessed Francis, thanking God, told that lord cardinal: "My lord, I gladly want to have you as the father and protector of our religion, and I want all my brothers to have you always remembered in their prayers." Then blessed Francis asked him to be present at the chapter of the brothers at Pentecost. He immediately agreed graciously, and, from then on, was present every year at their chapter.

When he came to the chapter, all the brothers who had gathered at the chapter would go in procession to meet him. As they were approaching, he would dismount from his horse and go on foot with them to the church of Saint Mary. Afterward he preached to them and celebrated Mass, during which the man of God, Francis, would chant the Gospel.

Chapter XVI
THE ELECTION OF THE FIRST MINISTERS
AND HOW THEY WERE SENT THROUGHOUT THE WORLD

62Eleven years after the founding of the religion when the brothers had increased in number and merit, ministers were chosen and sent with some of the brothers throughout nearly the entire world in which the Catholic faith was practiced and observed. They were received in some of the provinces, but were not permitted to build

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Legenda Trium Sociorum, Fontes Franciscani, p. 1433-1435


qui beato Francisco consilium et protectionem saepius impendebat, vitam et actus ipsius sancti ac fratrum suorum omnibus aliis cardinalibus commendabat. 2Quorum mentes sunt commotae ad diligendum virum Dei cum fratribus suis, intantum quod unusquisque eorum desiderabat habere in curia de ipsis fratribus, non pro aliquo servitio recipiendo ab ipsis, sed propter sanctitatem fratrum et devotionem qua fervebant ad eos.

3Defuncto vero domino Iohanne de Sancto Paulo, inspiravit Dominus uni ex cardinalibus, nomine Hugolino, tunc Ostiensi episcopo, ut beatum Franciscum et fratres eius intime diligeret, protegeret et foveret. 4Qui revera ferventissime se habuit circa eos ac si esset omnium pater, immo plus quam patris carnalis dilectio ad carnales filios naturaliter se extendat, amor huiusmodi spiritualiter efferbuit ad virum Dei cum suis fratribus diligendum in Domino et fovendum.

5Cuius famam gloriosam vir Dei audiens, quia famosus erat inter ceteros cardinales, accessit ad eum cum fratribus suis. 6Ille autem cum gaudio suscipiens ipsos ait eis: « Offero meipsum vobis auxilium et consilium, atque protectionem paratus impendere secundum vestrum beneplacitum, et volo quod propter Deum me recommendatum in vestris orationibus habeatis ».

7Tunc beatus Franciscus, gratias Deo agens, dixit eidem domino cardinali: « Libenter volo, domine, vos habere in patrem et protectorem nostrae religionis, et volo quod omnes fratres habeant vos semper in suis orationibus recommendatum ». 8Postea rogavit eum beatus Franciscus ut in Pentecoste dignaretur fratrum capitulo interesse. 9Qui statim benigne assensit, atque ex tunc interfuit eorum capitulo omni anno.

10Quando vero ad capitulum veniebat, exibant processionaliter obviam ei omnes fratres in capitulo congregati. 11Ille autem, venientibus fratribus, descendebat de equo et ibat pedes cum eis usque ad ecclesiam Sanctae Mariae. 12Eisque postea faciebat sermonem et celebrabat missam in qua vir Dei Franciscus evangelium decantabat.

Caput XVI
De electione primorum ministrorum
et qualiter fuerunt missi per mundum.

62 1Expletis itaque undecim annis ab inceptione religionis et multiplicatis numero et merito fratribus, electi fuerunt ministri et missi cum aliquot fratribus quasi per universas mundi provincias in quibus fides catholica colitur et servatur. 2Qui recipiebantur in quibusdam provinciis sed non permittebantur habitacula construere,

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 104

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