Tag Archives: mendicant

15 November, Little Flowers C: the great love she beareth thee.

This passage made Francis more attractive to me, to see him so close in friendship to Lady Jacopa and asking her for treats as well as the things needed for his burial. As the extract opens, he has just come home to St Mary of the Angels to die, but not before seeing her one last time.

And, when they arrived at Santa Maria degli Angeli, they bore him to the infirmary and there laid him down to rest. Then Saint Francis called unto him one of the companions and spake unto him thus: “Dearest friar, God hath revealed unto me that, of this sickness, on such a day, I shall depart from this life; and thou knowest that the well-beloved Madonna Jacopa di Settensoli, who is devoted to our Order, if she knew of my death and had not been present thereat, would be sore grieved; and therefore do thou send her word that, if she would see me alive, she come hither at once”. The friar made answer: “Father, thou sayest rightly; for in truth, by reason of the great love which she beareth thee, it would be most unseemly if she were not present at thy death”. 

“Go, then,” said Saint Francis, “and bring me inkhorn and paper and pen, and write as I bid thee.” And, when he had brought them, Saint Francis dictated the letter on this wise: “To Madonna Jacopa, the servant of God, Friar Francis, the mendicant of Christ, greeting and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost in our Lord Jesus Christ: Know, well beloved, that Christ the blessed hath, of His grace, revealed unto me that the end of my life is at hand. Therefore, if thou wouldst find me alive, when thou hast seen this letter, arise and come to Santa Maria degli Angell; for, if thou art not come by such a day, thou wilt not find me alive; and bring with thee hair-cloth to wrap my body in, and the wax which is needed for my burial. Also I beseech thee to bring me some of that food which thou wast wont to give me to eat, when I was sick in Rome.” 

And, while this letter was being written, it was revealed of God to Saint Francis that Madonna Jacopa was coming to him and was already nigh unto the place, and brought with her all those things which he was sending to ask for by the letter. Wherefore, when he had had this revelation, Saint Francis told the friar who was writing the letter, not to write further, because there was no need thereof, but to lay aside the letter; whereat the friars marvelled greatly, because he finished not the letter and would not have it sent.

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