The Treatise on the Miracles of Saint Francis - 407 

How those signs are also powerful weapons for God can be understood through a novelty and evident miracle that happened in Spain, namely in the Kingdom of Castile. There were two men who for a long time had been quarreling with each other with deep hostility. There was no rest for their bitterness; there could be no enduring relief for their violent enmity, nor for even a moment Gal 2:5 any cure for the animosity they harbored, unless one were to die the cruelest death at the hand of the other. So each of them, fully armed, with many comrades, set up frequent ambushes for his adversary, because the crime could not be committed in public.

One evening, in the deepening dusk, a man of honest life and praiseworthy reputation happened to pass by on the road where there was concealed an ambush of one for the death of the other. This man was hurrying on his way to pray, as he usually did, after the hour of compline at the church of the brothers, for he had given himself with deep devotion to Saint Francis. The sons of darkness rose up against the son of light, and they believed him to be that rival of theirs whom they had long sought to kill. Stabbing him with deadly blows from every side, they left him half-dead. But at the last moment the cruelest enemy thrust a sword deeply into the man's throat, and, unable to remove it, left it in the wound.

12People rushed from everywhere, and with cries to heaven the whole neighborhood wailed at the death of the innocent. Because the living spirit was still in the man, the advice of doctors prevailed: that the sword not be removed from his throat. (Perhaps they did this for the sake of confession, so that he might be able to confess at least by some sign.) The doctors worked the whole night until the hour of matins to wipe away the blood and close the wounds, but because of the multiple, deep stab wounds, they could do nothing and ceased treatment. Some Lesser Brothers stood by the bed with the doctors, filled with grief, awaiting the departure of their friend.

Then the brothers' bell rang for matins. The man's wife heard the bell and, groaning, ran to the bed and cried: "My Lord, rise quickly, go to matins, your bell is calling you!" Immediately, the one believed to be dying, with a groaning rumble of the chest, struggled to stammer some wheezing words. And raising his hand toward the sword stuck in his throat, he seemed to be motioning for someone to remove it. A miracle! The sword immediately sprang from its place, and in the sight of them all it flew over to the door of the house as if launched by the hand of a very strong man. The man got up, unharmed and in perfect health, as if rising from sleep, and recounted the wonderful deeds of the Lord. Ps 26:7 [Vulgate, Ps 25:7]




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 407