A Collection of Sayings of the Companions of Blessed Francis - 121 

brothers a jar filled with oil. We who were with blessed Francis bear witness that he spoke of that church with great conviction. He said the Lord had shown him there that it had a great prerogative, and it had been revealed to him in that place that, of all the churches of the world that she has, the blessed Virgin loved that church. Therefore, during his whole lifetime he always had the greatest reverence and devotion toward it. And so that the brothers would always keep remembrance of it in their hearts, near his death he wanted it written in his Testament that all the brothers do likewise.

19About the time of his death, in the presence of the general minister and the other brothers, he said: "I want to leave and bequeath to the brothers the place of Saint Mary of the Portiuncula as a testament, that it may always be held in the greatest reverence and devotion by the brothers. Our old brothers did this: for although the place itself is holy, these preserved its holiness with constant prayer day and night and by constant silence. And if, at times, anyone spoke after the time established for silence, they discussed with the greatest devotion and decorum matters pertaining to the praise of God and the salvation of souls. If it happened, and it rarely did, that someone began to utter useless or idle words, Mt 12:36 immediately he was corrected by another. They used to mortify the flesh not only by fasting, but also by many vigils, and prayers, by cold, nakedness, and manual labor. In order not to remain idle, they very frequently went and helped poor people in their fields, and sometimes these people would give them some bread for the love of God.

23"By these and other virtues, they used to sanctify themselves and the place. And others who came after them did likewise for a long time. Therefore I want this place always to be under the jurisdiction of the general minister, that he may show greater concern and care in providing for it, especially in placing a good and holy family there. The clerics should be chosen from among the holiest and most upright brothers of the entire religion and who know how to say the office best. In this way, not only other people but also the brothers will gladly listen to them with great devotion. And some holy, discerning, and upright lay brothers should also be chosen, who may serve them.

25b"I also wish that none of the brothers or any other person enter this place except the general minister and the brothers who serve them. And they may not speak to anyone except the brothers who serve them and to the minister when he visits them.

26b"I likewise want the lay brothers who serve them to be bound not to relay to them news of the world that they may not hear what

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Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 121

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