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 The Treatise on the Miracles of Saint Francis - 440 

perish. But the fame of 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 my heartcries 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.

96A certain 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 pain. The dead fetus was causing the mother's death, and still the obvious threat to the mother did not bring forth the abortive offspring. The help of doctors proved fruitless; every human remedy labored in vain. Ps 127:1 [Vulgate, Ps 126:1] Thus did the ancient curse fall heavily upon the unfortunate woman. Herwomb became a grave, and she certainly awaited the grave soon. Finally, by means of messengers, she entrusted herself with great devotion to the Lesser Brothers. She humbly requested in great faith some relic of Saint Francis. By divine consent a piece of a cord was found, one that the saint had once worn. As soon as the cord was placed on the suffering woman, all her pain was relieved with ease. The dead fetus, cause of death, was released and the woman was restored to her former health.

97Giuliana, wife of a nobleman of Calvi, passed a number of years in mourning over the death of her children: she constantly mourned those unhappy events. All the children she had borne were consigned to the earth; the axe cut down each new shoot. So when she was four months with child, she was moved more by sorrow than joy, because she feared that deceptive joy over birth would be changed later to mourning over death.

Then one night as she slept, a woman appeared to her in a dream.The woman carried a beautiful infant in her hands and joyfully offered him to her saying, "Take this child, my lady; Saint Francis sends him to you!" But she was reluctant to accept something that would soon perish, so she refused. "Why should I want this child," she said, "when I know it will soon die like all the others?" "Take it," was the reply, "because the one Saint Francis sends you shall surely live!" They spoke this way three times before the lady took the child in her hands. She immediately awoke from her sleep and told her husband about the vision. Both of them were thrilled with joy and




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 440

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