Gregory IX in a manuscript miniature, XIII Century, from Wikipedia
How Pope Gregory IX was convinced of the Stigmata of St Francis
Pope Gregory was an old man when he became Pope, with a long career as a papal diplomat behind him, a man well-used to detecting deceit on the part of the rulers and generals he had to deal with. The editor of the Little Flowers tells us what convinced him that Francis’s stigmata was God’s doing. The stigmata certainly impressed many people as the work of God in the body of his servant Francis, But Gregory was not going to accept the wounds at face value simply on the say-so of the friars. These are the final words of the Little Flowers.
To conclude our consideration of the stigmata we should tell you that St. Francis appeared one night to Pope Gregory IX. (who doubted the wound in the side of St. Francis, as he afterward related).
Lifting up his right arm a little, Francis uncovered the wound in his side, and asked for a phial; and he caused it to be brought; and St. Francis caused it to be set under the wound in his side. It seemed to the Pope that, truly it was filled even unto the brim with blood mixed with water, which came forth from the said wound; and from then every doubt departed from him. And with the counsel of all the cardinals, he approved the most holy Stigmata of St. Francis; and this he did at Viterbo in the eleventh year of his pontificate; and afterward, in the twelfth year, he gave another more ample.
And may God give us grace so to follow our father St. Francis in this world that, by virtue of his glorious stigmata, we may merit to be saved with him in paradise.
To the praise of Jesus Christ and of the mendicant St. Francis. Amen.