The Miracles Shown after His Death - 668 

could inflict on him, and through torture to make him confess his crime. He was to be lead to punishment in the morning, but that night he was visited by the presence of Saint Francis. He was surrounded by an immense bright light, and he remained in its light until morning, filled with joy and great confidence, sure of being rescued. In the morning the executioners arrived, took him out of the cell, and suspended him from a revolving rack, weighing him down with weights of iron. Several times he was let down and raised up again, so that with one torment after another he would be forced more quickly to confess his crime. But the man's face seemed joyful in an innocent way, showing no sign of sorrow in his pain. Then a rather large fire was lit beneath the man, but not a hair of his head was harmed even though his head hung toward the ground. Finally, burning oil was poured over him, but by the power of the patron to whom he had entrusted his defense, he overcame all these things. Therefore he was set free, and went away unharmed.

Chapter VI
ON THOSE WHO WERE DELIVERED FROM THE DANGERS OF CHILDBIRTH

1A certain countess of Slavonia, illustrious in nobility and a friend of goodness, had an ardent devotion to Saint Francis and a sincere affection for the brothers. She suffered severe pains at the time of childbirth; she was so afflicted with pain that it appeared that the expected birth of the child would mean the demise of the mother. She seemed incapable of bringing the child into life unless she departed from life; and, by this effort, not to give birth but to perish. But the fame of blessed Francis, his glory and might, sustained her heart. Her faith aroused, her devotion kindled, she turned to the effective helper, the trusted friend, the comforter of those devoted to him, the refuge of the afflicted. "Saint Francis," she said, "all mybones cry out to your mercy, and I vow in spirit what I cannot say aloud." O the speed of mercy! The end of her speaking was the end of her suffering, and the end of her labor was the beginning of giving birth. Just as soon as the pains ceased, she safely gave birth to a child. Nor did she forget her vow or run away from her promise. She had a beautiful church built and, once it was built, donated it to the brothers in honor of the saint.

2A certain woman named Beatrice from the region of Rome was close to giving birth. For four days she had been carrying a dead fetus in her womb. She was much distressed and beset by deadly

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Legenda Maior, Fontes Franciscani, p. 938-939


qualiter criminis obiecti confessionem eliceret per tormenta qualibusque poenis confessum faceret interire, nocte illa, cum mane ad cruciatus deberet adduci, sancti Francisci praesentia exstitit visitatus et immenso luminis fulgore usque mane circumdatus repletusque gaudio et fiducia multa, securitatem evasionis accepit. 5Advenerunt mane tortores et eductum de carcere equuleo suspenderunt, aggravantes super eum multa pondera ferri. 6Depositus est pluries et iterum elevatus, ut, poena poenae succedente, citius ad confessionem criminis arceretur. 7Sed spiritu innocentiae laetabatur in vultu, nullam moestitiam praetendens in poenis. 8Deinde accensus est ignis sub ipso non modicus, nec propterea capillus est laesus, cum tamen capite dependeret ad terram. 9Tandem bulliente oleo superfusus, virtute patroni cui se commiserat defensandum, haec omnia superavit et sic dimissus liber, salvus abscessit.

VI
De liberatis a periculo partus.

1 1Comitissa quaedam in Sclavonia, sicut nobilitate illustris, sic et aemula probitatis, erga sanctum Franciscum devotione flagrabat, erga Fratres vero sedula pietate. 2Tempore partus duris pervasa doloribus, tanta fuit molestata angustia, ut prolis futurus ortus praesens videretur matris occasus. 3Non videbatur infantem eniti posse ad vitam, nisi exspiraret e vita, nec tali nisu parere, sed perire. 4Subvenit cordi eius sancti Francisci fama, virtus et gloria, excitatur fides, inflammatur devotio. 5Convertit se ad auxilium efficax, ad fidum amicum, ad devotorum solatium, refugium afflictorum : 6« Sancte Francisce », inquit, « pietati tuae supplicant omnia ossa mea, et mente voveo quod explicare non possum ». 7Mira celeritas pietatis! Finis dicendi finis fuit dolendi, parturiendi meta, pariendi principium. 8Statim enim omni cessante pressura, partum edidit cum salute. 9Non fuit immemor voti, non propositi refuga. 10Ecclesiam quamdam pulchram construi fecit et constructam ad Sancti honorem fratribus assignavit.

2 1In partibus Romanis mulier quaedam, Beatrix nomine, vicina partui, cum per dies quatuor foetum in ventre portaret exstinctum, multis infelix agitabatur angustiis et exitialibus doloribus urgebatur. 2Mortuus foetus matrem cogebat ad mortem,

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 668

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