Liturgical Texts for the Feast of the Stigmata of Saint Francis - 663 

"two brothers of another religion" arriving at a convent of the Lesser Brothers in Avignon, The Deeds tell of a Friar Preacher in "a certain convent of the Friars Preacher" in an unknown locale.9 In other words, The Deeds aims at being more conciliatory, undoubtedly addressing the growing tension between the Friars Preacher and the Lesser Brothers characterizing the early fourteenth century. More dramatic, however, is Avignon Compilation's description of the recourse of the culprit brother to Pope Benedict XII (1334-42), an event that is omitted in The Deeds and more understandable in the Avignon setting.

Only in the sixteenth century do the ecclesiastical origins of the feast arise. In his recounting of the events of 1304 in the Annales Minorum, Luke Wadding had stated that the Dominican Pope, Benedict XI (1303-4), permitted the Lesser Brothers to celebrate a feast in honor of the Stigmata of Saint Francis on September 17.10 Wadding provides no proof for this, nor is there any in Le Registre de Benôit XI, the Bullarium Romanum, or the Bullarium Franciscanum. Since he was pope for less than nine months, that is from October 22, 1303, to July 7, 1304, Wadding's assertion seems doubtful. The Irish scholar corrected himself in writing the history of the Chapter of Assisi and recording the chapter's decree.11 While scholars have debated the authenticity of these dates, it seems reasonable to assume that the Chapter of Cahors may have established the feast, and the Chapter of Assisi mandated the use of the liturgical texts. Nonetheless, this liturgical celebration was a privilege afforded the Lesser Brothers; there is no indication of it in the universal church. Contemporary studies add little light to the subject. The Roman Calendar: Text and Commentary, for example, maintains that the Feast of the Stigmata of Saint Francis was "placed in the Roman calendar in 1585, suppressed in 1602 and restored in 1615 . . ."12




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 663