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 The Life of Saint Francis by Julian of Speyer - 405 

the place saw the brother, they hoped he was Blessed Francis himself, whom they had heard would pass that way, but who had already passed by. When, to their great sorrow, they discovered that this was not Francis, not completely despairing, they began to search diligently for anything that had been touched by the holy man’s hands. Coming upon the reins of a bridle which the man of God had held in his hands, they quickly removed the bridle from the horse’s mouth and put it over the woman whom they saw in such danger; and it happened that she immediately gave birth with joy, and experienced no further danger.

52An inhabitant of Città della Pieve, a religious man named Gualfreduccio, devoutly kept in his possession a cord with which Blessed Francis had once girded himself. Now it happened that in the same town, when many men and women became gravely ill, the devout man mentioned above, visited the places of the sick, dipped a part of the cord in water, or mixed a bit of the cord with water, and gave the mixture to those who were lying sick in bed to drink. It had so miraculous an effect that, if any of the ill drank this potion, they immediately recovered the good health that they longed for. They would also often offer bread to Blessed Francis to be blessed, and the sick who ate it recovered from various diseases.

The holy father was often left half-naked by people who used scissors to cut his tunic into small pieces which they kept devoutly as a remedy against various dangers to their health.

53Moreover, something marvelous happened three years before the blessed passing of Blessed Francis and, although many other things have been neglected, I think it is worthy of being recalled.a The holy man assiduously meditated particularly on the things that were done in the time of Christ, and did not wish, if he could help it, to neglect even a jot or tittle of what was narrated in the books of the holy gospel. Quite the contrary, he considered everything written about Christ, but above all the vicissitudes of his life, and longed to experience the very sweet yoke and light burden of the Master himself.

Therefore, desiring to represent as faithfully as possible the lowly poverty of the infancy of the Savior born at Bethlehem, when the Feast of the Nativity was at hand, the man of God sent word to a reli-
gious nobleman in the town of Greccio named John, who provided an

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


4Videntes autem homines loci fratrem, ipsum esse beatum Franciscum sperabant, quem qui iam aliunde transierat, illac transiturum audierant. 5Cumque non sine gravi dolore comperissent ipsum non esse, non tamen adhuc penitus desperantes, coeperunt rem aliquam a sancti viri manibus attrectatam diligenter inquirere. 6Invenientes autem freni habenas, quas manu vir Dei tenuerat, ipsum frenum ab equi ore velociter extrahebant, ponentes id super mulierem quam periclitari videbant; 7factumque est ut statim illa cum gaudio pareret et ultra periculum penitus non sentiret.

52 1Vir quidam religiosus Gaufreducius nomine, Castrum Plebis inhabitans, quemdam penes se devote funiculum conservabat, quo se beatus Franciscus quandoque praecinxerat. 2Accidit autem in eodem castello plurimos utriusque sexus graviter infirmari, cum iam dictus vir aegrotantium loca circuiens ipsius funiculi partem in aqua tinxit vel eidem aquae minimum quid de illo immiscuit, et sic in aegritudinis lecto decubantibus potum dedit. 3Sicque mirabiliter factum est ut, si qui languentium ex huiusmodi potione gustarent, optatam continuo sanitatem reciperent. 4Panes etiam ad benedicendum beato Francisco saepius offerebant, de quibus aegri gustantes a diverso languoris incommodo resurgebant.

5Crebro quoque pius pater quasi seminudus a populo derelictus est, eo quod tunicam illius per particulas cum cultellis inciderent, easque devote contra diversa pericula pro salutis remedio conservarent.

53 1Accidit praeterea res quaedam mirabilis anno ante felicem beati Francisci transitum tertio, quam, multis aliis praetermissis, digne recolendam existimo. 2Ipse namque vir sanctus ea praecipue quae circa Christum gesta sunt assidua meditatione revolvens, noluit eorum quae sacris Evangelii voluminibus enarrantur pro sua possibilitate vel unicum iota vel apicem transgredi; 3quin in omnibus, quae de Christo scripta perpendit, super omnia quae in huius vitae volubilitate geruntur, iugum ipsius Dornini suavissimum onusque levissimum cuperet experiri. 4Igitur solemnitate quadam dominicae nativitatis instante, humilem nascentis in Bethlehem Salvatoris infantiae paupertatem, similitudine qua poterat, vir Dei repraesentare desiderans, ad castellum de Graecio quemdam virum religiosum et nobilem nomine Iohannem praemisit; 5qui ad hoc bovem sibi et asinum cum praesaepio contra venturae festivitatis gaudia praeparavit.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 405

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