The Deeds of Blessed Francis & His Companions (1328-1337) - 511 

Rufino, a noble citizen of Assisi but a more noble servant of God, a most pure virgin, raised up by the more noble prerogative of divine contemplation, and adorned before God and man with the flowers of a fragrant way of living, came out of the woods where he had been staying to meditate on heavenly things, and was passing a short distance from Saint Francis. When the saint saw him from a distance, he turned toward his companions and said: "Tell me, dear brothers, who is the holiest soul that God now has in this world?" They humbly replied that they thought that Saint Francis himself had been raised to this privilege. But he answered: "Dear brothers, of myself I am a more vile and unworthy man than any God has in the world. But do you see this Brother Rufino now coming out of the woods? The Lord revealed to me that his soul is one of the three holiest souls which God now has in this world. And I tell you firmly that I have no hesitation about calling him 'Saint Rufino' while he's still living in the body since his soul is confirmed in grace, and sanctified and canonized in heaven by the Lord Jesus Christ."

10 Saint Francis said these words in the absence of that brother. In this he showed that the holy father himself as a good shepherd Jn 10:11 knew which virtues his sheep were lacking. He showed this with Brother Elias, when he rebuked him for pride; and with Brother John de Capella when he predicted that, because of his malice, he would hang himself; and with that brother whose throat was held by the devil when he corrected him for disobedience; and with those brothers coming from Terra di Lavoro when he rebuked one of them for plaguing his companion along the road. Moreover, he knew the graces in which his sheep abounded as is apparent in Brother Bernard and in that Brother Rufino, and in many others about whom God revealed great deeds to Saint Francis, the good shepherd.

To the praise and glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.


1 Francis, lover of glorious innocence which adorns the body and leads the soul to grace and glory, frequently took Brother Leo as his companion and both day and night admitted Leo to his secrets, because he discerned in Brother Leo great purity and dove-like




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 511