In Christ’s name here begin the miracles of our most holy father Francis.
126. Then the blessed Pope cried with a loud voice and said, raising his hands to heaven, “To the praise and glory of Almighty God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, and of the glorious Virgin Mary, and of the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and to the honor of the glorious Church of Rome, by the counsel of our brethren and the other prelates we decree, revering on earth the most blessed father Francis whom the Lord hath glorified in heaven, that he be numbered in the roll of saints, and that his festival be kept on the day of his death.” And on this, the reverend Cardinals with the Lord Pope began to chant with loud voice “Te Deum Laudamus”74
Then was raised a shout of many people praising God, the earth rang with the mighty sound, the air was filled with jubilations, and the ground was moistened with tears. New songs were sung, and God’s servants rejoiced in melody of the spirit. Sweet toned organs were heard, and spiritual songs were sung by harmonious voices. Sweet perfume was there shed around, and jocund melody stirred the emotions of all. Brightly gleamed that day, which was tinted with more radiant beams. There the olive-boughs were green, and the other trees were decked in their fresh foliage; there all were adorned with festive attire of dazzling brightness and the blessing of peace rejoiced the minds of the throng. At length the happy Pope Gregory came down from his lofty throne, and by the steps beneath entered the sanctuary to offer vows and sacrifices, and with happy lips he kissed the tomb containing the body sacred and consecrated to God. He offered many prayers and celebrated the Sacred Mysteries. A crowd of brethren stood about him praising, worshiping and blessing Almighty God who has done great things in all lands. All the people magnified God’s praises, and paid the due of holy thanksgiving to St. Francis in honor of the Trinity Most High. Amen. These things were done in the city of Assisi on 16th July, in the second year of the pontificate of Pope Gregory IX. [A.D. 1228.] [Posthumous Miracles] In Christ’s name here begin the miracles of our most holy father Francis.
Of the healing of the crooked
127. Humbly imploring the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, we will, in order to arouse and promote the devotion of the men of this time, and to strengthen the faith of those that are to come, set down briefly but truly, under the guidance of Christ, the miracles which (as has been said) were read before the Lord Pope Gregory, and proclaimed to the people. Of the healing of the crooked On the day that the hallowed and holy body of the most blessed father Francis was put away, like a most precious treasure, having been anointed rather with super-celestial aromas than with earthly spices, a girl was brought whose neck had for a year past been monstrously bent so that her head was joined to the shoulder, and she could only look up sideways. But after placing her head for some time under the coffin wherein the precious body of the Saint lay, forthwith she raised up her neck, through the most holy man’s merits, and her head was restored to its proper position so that the girl was astounded at the sudden change in herself and began to run away, weeping excessively. Now in the shoulder to which her head had been fastened a pit was seen caused by the position which the long illness had brought about. 128. There was in the territory of Narni a boy whose leg was so bent back that he could only walk by the help of two sticks. He was a beggar, and after having been oppressed with this grievous infirmity for several years he did not know his own father and mother. But by the merits of our most blessed father Francis he was delivered from the said trial in such wise that he could go freely anywhere without the support of sticks, praising and blessing God and His Saint. 129. One Nicholas, a citizen of Foligno had his left leg drawn together, and, as he suffered excessive pain, he spent so much on doctors in order to recover his former health that he incurred debts against his will which were beyond his power to repay. At last, when their help had done him no good, and he was suffering such agony that his frequent screams prevented his neighbors from sleeping at night, he made vows to God and St. Francis and had himself carried to St. Francis’; tomb; and, after passing a night before it in prayer, he stretched his leg out and joyfully returned without any stick to his own home.
130. Another boy with one leg so bent that the knee adhered to his breast and the heel to his buttocks came to the sepulcher of blessed Francis. His father was mortifying his own flesh with sackcloth and his mother sorely afflicting herself for his sake. Suddenly the boy recovered his health so perfectly that he was able to run about the streets sound and merry, giving thanks to God and St. Francis. 131. In the city of Fano there was a man so bent that his legs, which were full of ulcers, adhered to his buttocks and gave off such a stench that the attendants altogether refused to admit him to the hospital or to keep him there. But before long he rejoiced in being delivered by the merits of the most blessed father Francis, whose compassion he had implored.
132. There was a little girl of Gubbio whose hands were contracted and she had wholly lost the use of all her limbs for a year past. In order to obtain for her the favor of health, her nurse carried her with a waxen image to the tomb of the most blessed father Francis. And after staying there for the space of eight days, one day all her limbs were completely restored to their uses, so as to be fit as usual for their original functions.
133. Another boy from Montenero lay before the doors of the church where the body of St. Francis rests, for several days, being unable to walk or to sit up, for from the waist down he was deprived of all strength and of the use of his limbs. But one day, having been brought into the church, after touching, the sepulcher of the most blessed father Francis he came out sound and whole. And the little boy himself used to say that while he was lying before the tomb of the glorious saint, a young man stood before him over the tomb, clad in the habit of the brethren and carrying pears in his hands, who called him, offered him a pear, and encouraged him to rise. The boy took the pear from his hands and answered, “See, I am bound together and cannot get up at all.” Then he ate the pear that had been given him and stretched out his hand for another, which the same youth was offering him. Again he urged the boy to get up, but he did not do so, feeling himself held down by his infirmity. But as he was stretching his hand out for the pear, the young man after giving him the pear took his hand, led him out, and disappeared from his sight. The boy, seeing that he was made whole, began to cry aloud, showing to all what had been done in him.
134. A woman from the fortress of Coccorano was brought in a basket to the glorious father’s tomb, for she had lost the use of all her members except her tongue. After staying a while before the most holy man’s tomb she arose perfectly cured. Another citizen of Gubbio after bringing his son, who was bowed together, in a basket to the holy father’s tomb, received him back sound and whole, though he had been bowed in so extraordinary a way that his legs adhered to the buttocks and were quite withered. 135. Bartholomew of the city of Narni, a very poor and needy man, once fell asleep under a walnut tree, and when he awoke he found himself so bent that he could not walk. As the infirmity gradually increased, one leg and foot became emaciated, crooked and withered; and insensible to cutting and burning. But the most holy Francis, the true lover of the poor and father of all the needy, showed himself to this man one night in a vision, bidding him go to a certain bath where he, moved by compassion for such misery, would release him from this sickness. When the man awoke, not knowing what to do, he told the vision in order to the bishop, and the bishop signed him with the Cross and blessed him, bidding him hasten to the bath that had been ordered. So the man, leaning on a stick, began to drag himself to the place as well as he could: and as he was sorrowfully going along, worn out by the great labor, he heard a voice saying to him, “Go in the peace of the Lord, for I am he to whom you have made your vow.” Then as he was approaching the bath, he missed the way (for it was night) and again heard a voice telling him that he was not walking by the right way, and directing him to the bath. And when he had reached the place and had entered the bath he felt one hand laid upon his foot, and another on his leg, gently stretching it out: and so, being cured straightway, he jumped out of the bath praising and blessing the omnipotence of the Creator, and blessed Francis His servant, who had bestowed on him such favor and power. The man had been crooked, and a beggar, for six years, and was of advanced age.
Of the blind receiving sight
136. A woman named Sibyl who had suffered from blindness of the eyes for several years was brought sorrowing to the sepulcher of the man of God: but on recovering her former sight she returned home rejoicing and exultant. A blind man of Spello recovered his long-lost sight before the tomb of the holy body. Another woman of Camerino had been entirely deprived of the light of her right eye. Her parents laid on the eye a cloth that blessed Francis had touched, and so, having made a vow they yielded thanks to the Lord God and St. Francis for the recovered light. Something similar happened to a woman of Gubbio, who, after making a vow, rejoiced in the recovery of her former sight. A citizen of Assisi who had lost the light of his eyes for five years, having been intimate with blessed Francis while he lived, always in praying to the blessed man used to recall this intimacy, and, on touching his sepulcher was healed. One Albertino of Narni had wholly lost the sight of his eyes for about a year and his eyelids hung down to his cheeks. He made a vow to blessed Francis, and forthwith having recovered his sight, made ready, and went to visit his glorious sepulcher.
74[An old hymn of the church. For the words, click here.]
Of the healing of demoniacs
137. There was a man in the city of Foligno named Peter who when on his way to visit the threshold of blessed Michael the Archangel,75 either in fulfillment of a vow, or as a penance enjoined on him for sins, came to a certain spring. Being wearied with the journey and thirsty he tasted some of the water of the spring, and it seemed to him that he had imbibed devils: and so, being molested by them, during three years he did things horrid to see and detestable to tell. Then he came to the most holy father’s tomb, and here, while the devils were raging, and cruelly mauling him, he was wondrously delivered on touching the sepulcher, by a clear and manifest miracle.
138. In the city of Narni was a woman who was a prey to terrible frenzy, and being out of her mind, did horrible things and spoke unseemly words. At length blessed Francis appeared to her in a vision, saying, “Sign yourself with the cross,” and on her answering, “I cannot,” the Saint himself impressed the sign of the cross upon her and drove her madness out of her and also her demoniacal fancies. Many men and women also, tormented in various ways by devils, and deluded by their jugglery were snatched out of their power by the noble merits of the holy and glorious father. But because people of that kind are often the victims of delusion, let us dismiss this matter briefly and pass on to more important things.
Of sick persons saved from death; of cases of swelling, dropsy, arthritis, paralysis and other diseases.
139. A boy named Matthew, of the city of Todi, had lain in bed for eight days as if dead: his mouth was fast closed, his eyes were sightless, and the skin of his face, hands and feet had turned as black as a pot. All despaired of his life, but at his mother’s vow he got well with marvelous rapidity. Now there was a discharge of foul blood from his mouth, through which he was also believed to be discharging his intestines. But as soon as his mother on her knees had humbly called on the name of St. Francis, as she arose from prayer, the boy began to open his eyes, to see the light and to suck the breast; and soon after the black slough fell off, the flesh returned as before, he got better, and recovered his strength. And as soon as he began to get better his mother asked him, “Who has delivered you, my son?” And he answered lisping, “Ciccu, Ciccu.” Again he was asked, “Whose servant are you?” and again he answered, “Ciccu, Ciccu,” for being an infant he could not speak plain, and so he clipped the name of blessed Francis in that way.
140. There was a lad who fell down from a certain very high place where he was staying and lost his speech and the use of all his limbs. After being three days without eating or drinking, or perceiving anything, he was thought to be dead. But his mother, seeking for the aid of no physicians, entreated blessed Francis to heal him. And so, having made her vow, she received him alive and whole, and began to praise the Savior’s omnipotence. Another lad named Mancino, sick unto death, and given over by all, called, as well as he could, on the name of blessed Francis and instantly recovered. A boy of Arezzo named Walter, suffering from continual fever and tormented by two abscesses, who had been given over by the doctors, was restored to his wished-for health by his parents’ making a vow to blessed Francis. Another, nigh to death, was forthwith freed from all his suffering by making a waxen image, and that before the image was finished.
141. A woman who had lain on her sick-bed for several years and could neither turn nor move, made a vow to God and blessed Francis, whereupon she was freed from all her sickness and performed the necessary duties of her life. There was a woman in the city of Narni who for eight years had had a hand so withered that she could do nothing with it. At last the most blessed father Francis appeared to her in a vision, and by stretching out her hand made it as serviceable as the other. In the same city was a lad who for ten years had been laid up with a grievous- sickness, and had become so swollen that no medicine could do him good. But by the merits of blessed Francis, to whom his mother had made a vow, he immediately received the blessing of health. In the city of Fano was a man laid up with dropsy whose limbs were horribly swollen, but through blessed Francis, he was found worthy to be wholly freed from that sickness. A citizen of Todi suffered so terribly from gouty arthritis that he could neither sit down nor rest. The violence of the disease gave him such constant chills that he seemed reduced to nothing. He called in doctors, he multiplied baths, he used many medicines, but none of these things could give him relief. But one day, in the presence of a priest, he made a vow in order that St. Francis might give him back his former health : and so, after offering prayers to the Saint, he presently found his former health restored.
142. A woman lying paralyzed in the city of Gubbio was released from her infirmity and cured after thrice calling on the name of blessed Francis. There was a man called Bontadoso who suffered so grievously in his hands and feet that he could neither move nor turn in any direction: and when he was now unable to eat or sleep a woman came to him one day advising and suggesting that if he would be speedily delivered from this infirmity he should most earnestly make a vow to blessed Francis. But the man, in paroxysm of pain, answered, “I don’t believe he is a Saint.” The woman, however, persisted in her suggestion of the vow, and at last he made it in the following words, “I vow myself to St. Francis, and believe him to be a Saint, if he cures me of this illness within three days.” And, by the merits of God’s Saint he was presently delivered and walked, ate, and slept, giving glory to Almighty God.
143. There was a man who had been dangerously wounded in the head by an iron arrow which had penetrated the eye-socket and stuck in his head; and the doctors could give him no help. Then with humble devotion he made a vow to Francis the Saint of God, in the hope of being delivered by his recommendation. While he was getting a little rest in sleep, St. Francis told him in a dream to have the arrow taken out by the back of his head. This was accordingly done next day, and he was relieved without great difficulty.
144. There was a man at the fortress of Spello named Imperatore who had suffered so severely from rupture for two years that all his intestines were descending outwardly through his lower parts; nor had he been able to place them back inside for a long time so that he had to have a truss wherewith to retain them inside. He went to doctors, begging them to relieve him, but as they demanded a price which he could not give inasmuch as he had not wherewithal to keep himself for a single day, he quite despaired of their help. At length he betook him to God for help, and began humbly to invoke the merits of blessed Francis, out of doors, at home, and wherever he might be. And so it came to pass that in a short space of time he was entirely cured by God’s grace and blessed Francis’; merits.
145. A brother in the March of Ancona, warring under the obedience of our Religion, was suffering severely from fistula in the groin, or in the side, and had already been judged by the doctors to be in a hopeless state because of the extent of the disease. Then he begged the Minister under whose obedience he was living to allow him to go and visit the place where the most blessed father’s body lay, trusting that by the Saint’s merits he would obtain the favor of a cure. But his Minister forbade him to go, fearing that the fatigue of the journey might make him worse, on account of the snow and rain which then prevailed. But one night, while the brother was feeling a little vexed at the refusal of permission to go, the holy father Francis stood by him saying: “Son, be no more anxious about this, but take off the fur coat you have on, throw away the plaster and the bandage that is over it, and observe your Rule, and you shall be delivered.” So he arose in the morning, did all that he had been bidden to do, and gave thanks to God for his speedy deliverance.
Of the cleansing of lepers
146. At St. Severino in the March of Ancona there was a lad named Atto who was covered all over with scabs, and, in accordance with the physicians’ judgment, was held by all as a leper: all his limbs were swollen and enlarged, and the distention and inflation of his veins caused him to see everything awry. He could not walk, but lay continually on his sick-bed, filling his parents with grief and sadness: and the father, daily wounded as he was by his son’s misery, could not tell what to do with him. At last it came into his heart by all means to commend his son to blessed Francis, and he said to him: “Will you, my son, make a vow to St. Francis (who is renowned for many miracles everywhere), that it may please him to deliver you from this sickness?” And he answered, “I will, father.” Thereupon his father had paper brought and, after measuring his son’s height and girth, said, “Raise yourself up, my son, and make your vow to blessed Francis, and when he has given you deliverance you shall bring him a candle of your height every year while you live.” He rose up as well as he could, at his father’s bidding, and clasping his hands began humbly to invoke St. Francis’; compassion; and accordingly after he had taken up the paper measure, and finished his prayer, he was straightway healed of his leprosy, and arose, giving glory to God, and blessed Francis, and joyfully began to walk. In the city of Fano a lad named Bonuomo, who was held by all the doctors to be paralyzed and leprous, was devoutly offered to blessed Francis by his parents; whereupon he was cleansed from his leprosy, the paralysis left him, and he gained full health. Of the dumb speaking and the deaf hearing
147. At Castel della Pieve was a poor beggar-boy who had been entirely deaf and dumb from birth. Now his tongue was so extremely short that it seemed to several who had examined him many times as if it had been cut off. One evening he came to the house of a man of the same place who was called Mark and asked for shelter by signs, as the dumb are wont to do, for he leaned his head sideways on his hand so as to make the man understand that he wanted to lodge with him that night. The man gladly received him into his house and willingly kept him with him, for the boy was a competent servant. He was a sharp boy, for though deaf and dumb from the cradle he understood by signs all he was told to do. When the man and his wife were at supper one night and the boy was waiting on them, the man said to her, “I should consider it the greatest of miracles, if blessed Frances gave hearing and speech to this boy.”
148. And he added, “I vow to the Lord God that if blessed Francis shall deign work this, I will for his sake hold this boy most dear and provide for him all his life long.” When the vow was finished, wondrous to relate, the boy spoke straightway and said, “S. Francis lives,” and then looking behind him, he said, “I see St. Francis standing up there and he is coming to give me speech.” And he added, “What therefore shall I say to the people?” Mark replied, “You shall praise the Lord and shall save many men.” Then Mark arose in great joy and exultation and published before all men what had been done. All who had seen the boy speechless before ran together, and, filled with admiration and amazement, gave humble praise to God and blessed Francis. The boy’s tongue grew and became fit for speech, and he began to utter properly formed words as if he had always spoken.
149. Another boy named Villa could neither speak nor walk. His mother therefore made in faith a waxen image for a votive offering and brought it very reverently to the blessed father Francis’; resting-place, and on her return home she found her son walking and talking. There was a man in the diocese of Perugia quite deprived of speech who always kept his mouth open, gaping horribly and in great distress, for his throat was very much swollen. When he reached the place where the most holy body rests and was about to go up the steps to the tomb, he vomited much blood, and, thoroughly relieved, began to speak and to open and shut his mouth as required.
150. There was a woman who suffered such pain in her throat that from the excessive burning her tongue was sticking to her palate and dried up. She could neither speak, nor eat, nor drink; plasters were applied and medicines used, but none of these things gave any relief from her infirmity. At last in her heart (for she could not speak) she made a vow to St. Francis, and suddenly the flesh cracked and there came out of her gullet a little round stone which she took in her hand and showed to all the bystanders, whereupon she was relieved immediately. There was a lad at the fortress of Greccio who had lost his hearing, his memory, and his speech, nor could he understand or perceive anything. But his parents, having great trust in St. Francis, made a vow to him with humble devotion on behalf of the lad; and when the vow had been fulfilled he was richly endowed by the favor of the most holy and glorious father Francis with all the senses he had lacked. To the praise, glory, and honor of Jesus Christ our Lord whose kingdom and empire endureth firm and immovable throughout all ages. Amen.
151. We have said a little, and omitted more concerning the miracles of our most blessed father Francis, relinquishing to those that would tread in his footsteps the care of seeking out the grace of new blessing, to the end that he who by word and example, by his life and teaching has most gloriously renewed the whole world may ever deign to water with new showers of super-celestial unctions the minds of those who love the name of the Lord. I entreat, for the love of the Poor Man Crucified and by His sacred wounds, which the blessed father Francis bore in his body, all who read, see, or hear these things, to remember before God, me a sinner. Amen. Blessing and honor and all praise be to God only wise Who ever most wisely worketh all in all to His glory. Amen. Amen. Amen.
75I.e., Monte Santangelo in Apulia.