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 A Book of the Praises of Saint Francis (1277-1283) - 30 

8. The Speculum disciplinae, found in St. Bonaventure, Opera Omnia, t. III, ed. Patres Collegii S. Bonaventura (Ad Claras Aquas, Quaracchi: Collegium S. Bonaventurae, 1898), 583-622, is identified as a work of Bernard of Besse, although the editors indicate that many incipits have attributed the work to Bonaventure. After a thorough study, Baldwin Distelbrink came to the same conclusion, cf. Bonaventura Scripta: Authentica Dubia vel Spuria Critice Recensita, Subsidia Scientifica Franciscalia 5 (Rome: Istituto Storico dei Cappuccini, 1975), 193. In his introduction to the Liber de Laudibus in the Fonte Francescani, Giuseppe Cremascoli maintains the Speculum is actually the work referred to as de proposito regulae [about the purpose of the Rule], but is a work aimed at novices. The same may be said of the Epistola ad Quendam Novitium Insolentem et Instabilem [A Letter to An Unfamiliar and Unstable Novice]. At times, it too has been attributed to Bonaventure, but because of its similarity with the Speculum both in approach and in teaching, it has been identified also as a work of Bernard. Cf. Distelbrink, Bonaventura, 135; Cremascoli, Fontes, 1247.

9. Christopher of Romagna was sent to the Province of Aquitaine where he became renowned for his holiness and miracles. He was buried in Cahors, which undoubtedly inspired Bernard to write his life. Cf. AF III, 161, n.1.

10. Arnald, Chronicles, 377.

11. Only one manuscript of the work exists, that of the Università di Torino I, VI, 33, ff. 95a-118a, dated at the end of the fourteenth or beginning of the fifteenth century. Cf. AF III, xxvi-vii. It also contains a copy of The Major Legend of Saint Francis by Bonaventure of Bagnoregio (hereafter LMj) and a Legend of Saint Clare for the Choir.

12. Cf. infra VI where twice the word is directed to God; VII to Christ; Prol, to Francis; VII, to the Order; and II, IV where it is used in general.

13. Cf. infra 32.

14. Hugh of St. Victor, De institutione novitiorum, Prologus. See Bonaventure of Bagnoregio, Opera Omnia VIII (Ad Claras Aquas, Quaracchi: Collegium S. Bonaventurae, 1938), 583.

15. Bernard uses the same approach in his Letter to an Unfamiliar and Unstable Novice. "For a little while you may consider it a joy that you have taken up the habit of holy religion. How I wish that, at the same time, you had assumed the spirit of religion! For the religious habit is of little profit if it is worn with a worldly spirit." In both instances, the author articulates an understanding of religious life that looks deeply into the human heart and into the workings of grace. This same approach is evident in Bernard's portrait of Brother Christopher of Romagna. At first, it is difficult to understand why Bonaventure's secretary would undertake writing the biography of someone who appears for the first time in his own portrait of Francis. The fact that they were both of the same Province of Aquitaine provides the clearest motive, as does the lengthy list of miracles attributed to him. A simple statement following Bernard's description of his confrere's austerity is most telling: "The love of his heart made the affliction of his body sweet." Christopher, in other words, exemplified Bernard's approach to religious life as an expression of the heart and, at a time when externals were becoming increasingly debated, challenged the confreres to look into themselves. And, from this perspective, it is understandable that his writings have frequently been considered as those of his mentor, Bonaventure.

16. The scriptural allusion is to Mt 10:16.

17. Cf. infra 737-64.

18. Cf. FA:ED II 774-9.

19. Cf. infra 832-3.

20. In his Chronicle Jordan of Giano writes only of Thomas of Celano and Julian of Speyer, cf. Jordan of Giano, Chronicle, in XIIIth Century Chronicles, translated by Placid Hermann, with introduction and notes by Marie-Therese Laureilhe (Chicago: Franciscan Herald Press, 1961), 37, 59. Salimbene de Adam writes of Thomas of Celano and Bonaventure, cf. Salimbene de Adam, The Chronicle of Salimbene de Adam, trans. Joseph L. Baird, Giuseppe Baglivi, and John Robert Kane (Binghamton, NY: Medieval & Renaissance Texts and Studies, 1986), 166.

21. Unlike Bernard Besse who identifies Thomas, John, Julian, and Bonaventure, cf. The Book of Praises, Intro 1-3 (hereafter BPr); Angelo of Clareno identifies Thomas, John, Bonaventure, and Leo, cf. The History of the Seven Tribulations Prol 1 (hereafter HTrb). Arnald of Sarrant differs from both by identifying Thomas, Julian, Leo, and Bonaventure, cf. The Kinship of Saint Francis I 9 (hereafter KnSF).

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Fontes Franciscani, p.


Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 30

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