A Mirror of the Perfection (The Lemmons Edition, 1901) - 236 


The abbot of Saint Benedict of Monte Subasio granted blessed Francis and his brothers the Church of Saint Mary of the Portiuncula as the poorest little church they had. And he wanted that, if the Lord increased the brothers, it be the head of the whole religion. And blessed Francis granted this.

And he was overjoyed at the place granted to the brothers, and because it was called in this way, and because it was such a poor little church in the district of Assisi, and because of the surname it had, for it was surnamed: "of the Portiuncula," in contrast to what it had previously been called. This name foreshadowed that it was to be the mother and head of the poor Lesser Brothers. Blessed Francis used to say: "This is why the Lord willed that no other church be granted to the brothers, and why the first brothers would not build any completely new church, and would not have any other but this one. For this church was a prophecy that has been fulfilled in the coming of the Lesser Brothers." And although it was poor and almost in ruins already for a long time, the people of the city of Assisi and its neighborhood had always held it in great devotion.

Although the abbot and the monks had freely granted that church to blessed Francis and his brothers without any payment or annual tax, blessed Francis, a good and experienced teacher who wished to build his house on solid rock, that is, his congregation on great poverty, every year he used to send the abbot a basket full of small fish called "lasche."a He did this as a sign of greater humility and poverty, so that the brothers would not have any place of their own, and would not remain in any place that was not owned by others, and thus they in no way had the power to sell it or give it away. Each year, when the brothers brought the little fish to the monks, they in turn, because of the humility of blessed Francis, who had done this of his own will, gave him and his brothers a jar filled with oil.

We who were with blessed Francis bear witness that he spoke of that church with great conviction, because of the great preference that the Lord indicated there and revealed to him in that place, namely that among all the other churches of this world the blessed Virgin loves that church. About the time of his death, he left that church to the brothers in a testament that it might be held in the greatest devotion and reverence by the brothers.b




Speculum Perfectionis (minus), Fontes Franciscani, p. 1791-1793


1Abbas Sancti Benedicti de Monte Subasio concessit beato Francisco et fratribus suis ecclesiam sancte Marie de Portiuncula pro magis paupere, quam haberet et voluit, quod, si Dominus augmentaret fratres, quod esset caput totius religionis, quod et concessit beatus Franciscus.

2Et gavisus est de loco fratribus concesso et quia ita vocabatur et quia pauperior ecclesia erat de districtu Assisii, et de cognomine eius; 3cognominabatur enim Portiuncula a contrata, que sic antea vocabatur; in quo prefigurabatur, quod futura esset mater et caput pauperum Minorum Fratrum. 4Nam dicebat beatus Franciscus: « Propterea voluit Dominus, ut nulla alia ecclesia fratribus concederetur et quod de novo aliquam ecelesiam tunc primi fratres non construerent nec haberent, nisi illam, quoniam illa fuit quedam prophetia que adimpleta est in adventu Minorum Fratrum ». 5Et licet paupercula et quasi iam destructa esset per multum tempus, semper homines civitatis Assisii et illius contrate habuerunt in illa magnam devotionem.

6Et licet abbas et monachi libere concessissent beato Francisco et eius fratribus illam ecclesiam sine datione aliqua, 7tamen beatus Franciscus tanquam peritus magister, qui domum suam voluit edificare supra firmam petram, videlicet congregationem suam supra magnam paupertatem et humilitatem, annuatim mictebat abbati fiscellam plenam pisciculis, qui vocantur lasche; 8ut fratres nullo tempore habeant proprium locum, nec in aliquo permanerent, qui non esset sub dominio aliquorum, ita quod fratres non haberent potestatem vendendi vel alienandi quoquo modo. 9Et cum fratres portabant monachis pisciculos annuatim, ipsi propter humilitatem beati Francisci, qui ex voluntate sua illud faciebat, dabant beato et fratribus suis quoddam vas plenum oleo.

10Nos vero, qui fuimus cum beato Francisco, testimonium perhibemus, quod ipse cum affirmatione de fila ecclesia dixit, quoniam per multam prerogativam, quam Dominus ibi ostendit, sibi revelatum fuit, quod inter alias omnes ecelesias huius seculi, quas beata Virgo diligit, diligit illam ecclesiam. 11Et circa mortem suam hanc ecclesiam fratribus in testamentum reliquit, ut semper a fratribus haberetur in maxima devotione et reverentia,

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 236