The Treatise on the Miracles of Saint Francis - 441 

increased their vows for having a child. The time for delivery arrived and the woman gave birth to a son. He thrived to a lively age and made up for the grieving over those who had died.

98A woman was near to childbirth in Viterbo, but perhaps nearer to death. She had severe abdominal pains and suffered the misfortunes that befall women. Doctors were consulted and the midwives summoned. They had no success, and only despair remained. The afflicted woman called upon blessed Francis, and promised, among other things, that she would celebrate his feast as long as she lived. She was immediately healed and joyfully finished giving birth.

But when she got what she wanted, she forgot what she promised. In fact, she did not so much forget her vow as despise it, since she went out to wash clothes on the feast of Saint Francis. Instantly an extraordinary pain fell upon her and, warned by the pain, she returned home.

But the pain passed, and because she was one of those who changes her mind ten times an hour, when she saw her neighbors at work, she foolishly set to work more strenuously than before. Suddenly she was unable to draw back the right arm she had extended to work; it was rigid and withered. When she tried to raise it with her other arm, that too withered with a similar curse. The pitiful woman now had to be fed by her son, and was unable to do any other tasks by herself. Her husband was puzzled and searched for the cause of what had happened; he concluded that her false faith toward Saint Francis was the cause of her torment. Both the man and his wife were struck with fear and without delay reaffirmed the vow. So the saint had mercy because he was always merciful; he restored the limbs to the one who repented, just as he had disabled them when she despised her vow. The woman's punishment made her sin known; she became an example to all who fail to keep their vows, and put fear into those who would presume to violate the feasts of the saints.

99The wife of a judge in the city of Tivoli burned with great fury, since she had borne six daughters. She decided to stay away from her husband. Why should she continue to plant when she was so thoroughly displeased with the fruit? The woman bristled at always producing females, was worn out by the desire of the male sex, and even questioned God's will. But one should not bear reluctantly the judgment that the laws ofalmighty God Rv 16:14 impose on humans. In any case, she angrily remained separated from her husband for a year. A little later, led to repentance, Mt 27:3 she was told to be reconciled to her husband. The confessor persuaded her to request a son from blessed Francis, and to name it Francis because she would have the child through his merits. Not long after, the woman conceived and the one she had implored




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 441