The Life of Saint Francis by Julian of Speyer - 378 

the Poor Ladies and holy virgins, was happily founded by the same holy man about six years after his conversion. Today, the Lord has greatly extended this praiseworthy religion with the privilege of considerable perfection throughout various regions of Italy.a

14 Meanwhile, the servant of God changed the style of his habit and moved to another place not far from Assisi. There he began to rebuild another church, similarly in ruins, and did not stop until he finished what he had begun.

After this, he moved to a third place called the Portiuncula, not far from the city mentioned above, where at one time a church had been built to the honor of Mary, the Most Glorious Mother of God, but was now equally desolate and demolished. He pitied the ruins, and, moved especially by his devotion to the Blessed Virgin, he remained there continuously until the third year of his conversion when the repairs to the Church were completed.

I do not think that this labor of building up the three churches mentioned above lacks a mysterious ulterior significance. Rather, I think that, according to God’s will, it prefigured what this simple man marvelously fulfilled: he founded three famous Orders and, by his life and words, carried them to perfection.b These things we must treat, though
briefly, in their proper place.

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Iuliani de Spira Officium Sancti Francisci, Fontes Franciscani, p.


pauperum videlicet Dominarum virginumque sanctarum religio, ab eodem sancto viro quasi post sextum suae conversionis annum felix exordium sumpsit; 4quam non modicae perfectionis praerogativa laudabilem hodie Dominus per diversas Italiae partes magnifice dilatavit.

14 1Interea Dei servus habitum mutans, ad alium non longe ab Assisio locum migravit, ubi et quamdam ecclesiam similiter ruinosam reaedificare incipiens, donec coeptum perficeret non cessavit.

2Post haec ad locum tertium, qui Portiuncula dicitur, haud longe a praedicta civitate se transtulit, ubi quondam ecclesia fuerat in honore gloriosissimae Genitricis Dei Mariae constructa, sed tunc desolata pariter et evulsa. 3Cuius ruinae misertus, sed et devotione quam in Beata Virgine specialiter habebat inductus, ibidem assiduus morabatur, donec annus conversionis suae tertius, reparata iam dicta ecclesia, volvebatur.

4Non hoc arbitror absque dignioris rei mysterio gestum, quod videlicet iste sanctus tres ecclesias supradictas erexit; 5at illud nimirum nutu Dei praevio per hoc existimo figuratum, quod et ipse vir simplex mirabiliter adimplevit, qui tres celebres Ordines, de quibus suo loco vel breviter tangendum est, inchoans, ipsos ad perfectionis statum vita verboque provexit.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 378

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