The Life of Blessed Francis - 540 

There was a man in the neighborhood of Spoleto whose mouth and cheek were being eaten away by a certain horrible disease. He could not be helped by any medical treatment and went on a pilgrimage to implore the intercession of the holy apostles. On his way back from visiting their shrines he happened to meet God's servant. When out of devotion he wanted to kiss his footprints, that humble man, refusing to allow it, kissed the mouth of the one who wished to kiss his feet. In his remarkable piety Francis, the servant of lepers, touched that horrible sore with his holy mouth, and suddenly every sign of the disease vanished and the sick man recovered the health he longed for. I do not know which of these we should admire more: the depth of his humility in such a kind kiss or his extraordinary power in such an amazing miracle.

7 Grounded now in the humility of Christ, Francis recalled to mind the obedience enjoined upon him from the cross, to repair the church of San Damiano. As a truly obedient man, he returned to Assisi to obey the divine command at least by begging. Putting aside all embarrassment out of love of the poor Crucified, he begged from those among whom he was accustomed to have plenty, and he loaded stones upon his frail body that was weakened by fasting. With God's help and the devoted assistance of the citizens, he completed repairs on that church.

After this work, to prevent his body from becoming sluggish with laziness, he set himself to repair a certain church of Blessed Peter a further distance from town, because of the special devotion which, in his pure and sincere faith, he bore to the prince of the apostles.

8 When he finally completed this church, he came to a place called the Portiuncula where there stood a church of the most Blessed Virgin Mother of God, built in ancient times but now deserted and no one was taking care of it. When the man of God saw it so abandoned, he began to stay there regularly in order to repair it, moved by the warm devotion he had toward the Lady of the world. Sensing that angels often visited there, according to the name of that church, which from ancient times was called Saint Mary of the Angels, he stayed there out of his reverence for the angels and his special love for the mother of Christ.

This place
the holy man loved more than other places in the world;
for here he began humbly,
here he progressed virtuously,

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Legenda Maior, Fontes Franciscani, p. 792-793


8Cum enim cuiusdam de comitatu Spoletano os pariter et maxillam morbus quidam horribilis depascendo corroderet, nec subveniri posset eidem aliquo medicinae remedio; 9contigit, ut propter Sanctorum exposcenda merita Apostolorum visitatis liminibus, de peregrinatione rediens, servo Dei occurreret; 10cumque prae devotione vellet ipsius osculari vestigia, vir humilis hoc non ferens, osculari volenti pedes osculum oris dedit. 11Dum autem leprosorum servus Franciscus mirabili pietate illam plagam horribilem ore sacro contingeret, omni fugato morbo, subito aeger ille sanitatem recuperavit optatam. 12Nescio, quod horum magis sit merito admirandum, an humilitatis profunditas in osculo tam benigno, an virtutis praeclaritas in miraculo tam stupendo.

7 1Fundatus iam in Christi humilitate Franciscus ad memoriam reducit obedientiam sibi e cruce iniunctam de Sancti Damiani ecclesia reparanda et tamquam verus obediens Assisium rediit, ut saltem mendicando voci divinae pareret. 2Depositaque omni verecundia propter amorem pauperis Crucifixi, mendicabat apud eos, inter quos abundare solebat, debile corpus, attritum ieiuniis oneribus lapidum supponendo.

3Praedicta igitur ecclesia, iuvante se Domino et devotione civium assistente, refecta, ne post laborem corpus torperet ignavia, transtulit se ad reparandam ecclesiam quamdam beati Petri longius a civitate distantem, ob devotionem specialem, quam ad Apostolorum principem sincerae fidei puritate gerebat.

8 1Hac tandem ecclesia consummata, pervenit ad locum qui Portiuncula dicitur, in quo ecclesia beatissimae Virginis, genitricis Dei, antiquitus fabricata exstiterat, sed deserta tunc a nemine curabatur. 2Quam cum vir Dei sic derelictam conspiceret, ob devotionem ferventem, quam habebat ad Dominam mundi, coepit illic assidue pro ipsius reparatione morari. 3Sentiens autem iuxta nomen ipsius ecclesiae, quo ab antiquo S. Maria de Angelis vocabatur, angelicarum ibi visitationum frequentiam, pedem fixit ibidem propter reverentiam Angelorum amoremque praecipuum Matris Christi.

4Hunc locum
vir sanctus amavit prae caeteris mundi locis;
hic etenim humiliter coepit,
hic virtuose profecit,

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 540

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