The Deeds of Blessed Francis & His Companions (1328-1337) - 433 

Bartholomew of Pisa's Book of Conformities that was begun in 1385. At the present state of research, it is difficult to be more precise.

Every translation, however, is an interpretation. In any language, words take on a variety of meanings and shades of nuance that make their precise translation difficult. The Little Flowers is no exception. Even a superficial comparison of The Deeds and The Little Flowers reveals how the translator divided chapters differently, undoubtedly to make reading them more manageable. At the same time, he inverted the order of certain chapters and, within chapters, changed the order of paragraphs and sentences. The result is that the geographic divisions of The Deeds are re-arranged so that, in The Little Flowers, the first forty-one chapters focus on Francis and his first followers, while the last ten describe the Lesser Brothers of the Marches. At a later date, chapters nine, eighteen, thirty-six, thirty-eight, and thirty-nine were rearranged to form four of the five Considerations on the Sacred Stigmata.

One significant addition to the text is the formula found at the end of almost every chapter: "To the praise of Jesus Christ and the little poor man Francis." The additional focus on Francis, the Poverello, the little poor man, is not found at the end of each chapter of The Deeds. In addition to underscoring the close bond between Jesus and Francis, The Little Flowers goes out of its way to broaden popular devotion to the saint. This may also be seen in the translator's penchant for writing of il glorioso messere san Francesco [the glorious Sir Saint Francis]. Thus the translator interprets The Deeds by bringing into sharper focus the unique identification of Francis with Christ and, by doing so, moves closer and closer to the vision of Bartholomew of Pisa's massive Book of Conformities.37

Notes

  1. Leto Alessandri, Inventario dell'antica Biblioteca del S. Convento (Assisi: n.p., 1906), 82.
  2. Ugolino de Montegiorgio, DBF: "How glorious is our Father Francis in the sight of God is apparent in his chosen sons whom the Holy Spirit brought together into the Order, so that truly the glory of such a great Father are his wise sons. Among these holy Brother John of Fermo, also known as 'of La Verna,' shone forth in a special way, and as a wonderful star he glittered in the sky of the Order with the brilliance of grace." Cf. Giacomo Sabbatelli, Vita del Beato Giovanni della Verna (LaVerna, n.p., 1965), 132.
  3. Cf. Andrew G. Little, "Description du manuscript Canonic. Miscell. 525 de la Bibliothèque Bodléienne, à Oxford," and Paul Sabatier "Description du Speculum Vitae beati Francisci et Sociorum ejus," in Andrew G. Little, Pierre Mandonnet, Paul Sabatier, Opuscules de Critique Historique, t. I (Paris: Librairie Fischbacher, 1903), 294, 335.
  4. Cf. infra 448 b.
  5. Actus Beati Francisci et Sociorum Eius: Nuova Edizione Postuma di Jacques Cambell, Marino Bigaroni and Giovanni Boccali (Santa Maria degli Angeli-Assisi: Tipografia Porziuncola, 1988).
  6. DBF XLVII, infra,
  7. Ibid., 58: "And Brother John himself related all this to me, Ugolino." Ibid, 55 "And I, Brother Ugolino of Monte Santa Maria stayed there for three years and observed this miracle as a fact, well-known both to lay persons and to the brothers of that custody."
  8. Ibid 9: "Brother James de Massa received this account from the mouth of Brother Leo, and Brother Ugolino of Monte Santa Maria had it from the mouth of this Brother James, and I, the writer, had it from the mouth of Brother Ugolino."
  9. In the chapters devoted to John of LaVerna (+1322), Ugolino is not expressly mentioned, although the stories are written in a very personal form and the first person singular appears nine times, i.e, ibid., 9, 16, 49, 53, 55, 56, 57, 58, 64.

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Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 433

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