3 October 1226 A.D. Francis of Assisi—Friar, Preacher & Reformer
Saint Francis of Assisi (Italian: San Francesco d'Assisi; born Giovanni di Pietro di Bernardone, but nicknamed Francesco ("the Frenchman") by his father; 1181/1182 – October 3, 1226) was an Italian Catholic friar and preacher. He founded the men's Order of Friars Minor, the women’s Order of St. Clare, and the Third Order of Saint Francis for men and women not able to live the lives of itinerant preachers, followed by the early members of the Order of Friars Minor or the monastic lives of the Poor Clares. Though he was never ordained to the Catholic priesthood, Francis is one of the most venerated religious figures in history.
Francis' father was Pietro di Bernardone, a prosperous silk merchant. Francis lived the high-spirited life typical of a wealthy young man, even fighting as a soldier for Assisi. While going off to war in 1204, Francis had a vision that directed him back to Assisi, where he lost his taste for his worldly life. On a pilgrimage to Rome, he joined the poor in begging at St. Peter's Basilica. The experience moved him to live in poverty. Francis returned home, began preaching on the streets, and soon amassed a following. His Order was authorized by Pope Innocent III in 1210. He then founded the Order of Poor Clares, which became an enclosed religious order for women, as well as the Order of Brothers and Sisters of Penance (commonly called the Third Order).
In 1219, he went to Egypt in an attempt to convert the Sultan to put an end to the conflict of the Crusades. By this point, the Franciscan Order had grown to such an extent that its primitive organizational structure was no longer sufficient. He returned to Italy to organize the Order. Once his community was authorized by the Pope, he withdrew increasingly from external affairs. In 1223, Francis arranged for the first Christmas nativity scene. In 1224, he received the stigmata, making him the first recorded person to bear the wounds of Christ's Passion. He died during the evening hours of October 3, 1226, while listening to a reading he had requested of Psalm 140.
On July 16, 1228, he was proclaimed a saint by Pope Gregory IX. He is known as the patron saint of animals, the environment, and is one of the two patron saints of Italy (with Catherine of Siena). It is customary for Catholic and Anglican churches to hold ceremonies blessing animals on his feast day of October 4. He is also known for his love of the Eucharist, his sorrow during the Stations of the Cross, and for the creation of the Christmas creche or Nativity Scene.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Founding of the Franciscan Order
- 3 Missions work
- 4 Reorganization of the Franciscan Order and death
- 5 Character and legacy
- 6 Main writings
- 7 In art
- 8 Media
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 Bibliography
- 12 Further reading
- 13 External links
In 1201, he joined a military expedition against Perugia and was taken as a prisoner at Collestrada, spending a year as a captive. It is possible that his spiritual conversion was a gradual process rooted in this experience. Upon his return to Assisi in 1203, Francis returned to his carefree life. In 1204, a serious illness led him to a spiritual crisis. In 1205, Francis left for Puglia to enlist in the army of the Count of Brienne. A strange vision made him return to Assisi, deepening his ecclesiastical awakening.
According to the hagiographic legend, thereafter he began to avoid the sports and the feasts of his former companions. In response, they asked him laughingly whether he was thinking of marrying, to which he answered, "yes, a fairer bride than any of you have ever seen," meaning his "Lady Poverty". He spent much time in lonely places, asking God for enlightenment. By degrees he took to nursing lepers, the most repulsive victims in the lazar houses near Assisi. After a pilgrimage to Rome, where he joined the poor in begging at the doors of the churches, he said he had a mystical vision of Jesus Christ in the country chapel of San Damiano, just outside of Assisi, in which the Icon of Christ Crucified said to him, "Francis, Francis, go and repair My house which, as you can see, is falling into ruins." He took this to mean the ruined church in which he was presently praying, and so he sold some cloth from his father's store to assist the priest there for this purpose.
His father, Pietro, highly indignant, attempted to change his mind, first with threats and then with beatings. In the midst of legal proceedings before the Bishop of Assisi, Francis renounced his father and his patrimony, laying aside even the garments he had received from him in front of the public. For the next couple of months he lived as a beggar in the region of Assisi. Returning to the countryside around the town for two years, he embraced the life of a penitent, during which he restored several ruined chapels in the countryside around Assisi, among them the Porziuncola, the little chapel of St. Mary of the Angels just outside the town, which later became his favorite abode.
Founding of the Franciscan OrderAt the end of this period (on February 24, 1209, according to Jordan of Giano), Francis heard a sermon that changed his life forever. The sermon was about Matthew 10:9, in which Christ tells his followers they should go forth and proclaim that the Kingdom of Heaven was upon them, that they should take no money with them, nor even a walking stick or shoes for the road. Francis was inspired to devote himself to a life of poverty.
Clad in a rough garment, barefoot, and, after the Gospel precept, without staff or scrip, he began to preach repentance. He was soon joined by his first follower, a prominent fellow townsman, the jurist Bernardo di Quintavalle, who contributed all that he had to the work. Within a year Francis had eleven followers. Francis chose never to be ordained a priest and the community lived as "lesser brothers," fratres minores in Latin. The brothers lived a simple life in the deserted lazar house of Rivo Torto near Assisi; but they spent much of their time wandering through the mountainous districts of Umbria, always cheerful and full of songs, yet making a deep impression upon their hearers by their earnest exhortations.
Francis' preaching to ordinary people was unusual since he had no license to do so. In 1209 he composed a simple rule for his followers ("friars"), (the Regula primitiva or “Primitive Rule”) which came from verses in the Bible.
Determined to bring the Gospel to all God's creatures, Francis sought on several occasions to take his message out of Italy. In the late spring of 1212, he set out for Jerusalem, but he was shipwrecked by a storm on the Dalmatian coast, forcing him to return to Italy. On May 8, 1213, he was given the use of the mountain of La Verna (Alverna) as a gift from Count Orlando di Chiusi, who described it as “eminently suitable for whoever wishes to do penance in a place remote from mankind.” The mountain would become one of his favourite retreats for prayer.
In 1219, accompanied by another friar and hoping to convert the Sultan of Egypt or win martyrdom in the attempt, Francis went to Egypt where a Crusader army had been encamped for over a year besieging the walled city of Damietta two miles (3.2 km) upstream from the mouth of one of the main channels of the Nile. The Sultan, al-Kamil, a nephew of Saladin, had succeeded his father as Sultan of Egypt in 1218 and was encamped upstream of Damietta, unable to relieve it. A bloody and futile attack on the city was launched by the Christians on August 29, 1219, following which both sides agreed to a ceasefire which lasted four weeks. It was most probably during this interlude that Francis and his companion crossed the Saracen lines and were brought before the Sultan, remaining in his camp for a few days. The visit is reported in contemporary Crusader sources and in the earliest biographies of Francis, but they give no information about what transpired during the encounter beyond noting that the Sultan received Francis graciously and that Francis preached to the Saracens without effect, returning unharmed to the Crusader camp. No contemporary Arab source mentions the visit. One detail, added by Bonaventure in the official life of Francis (written forty years after the event), concerns an alleged challenge by Francis offering trial-by-fire in order to prove the veracity of the Christian Gospel.
Although Bonaventure does not suggest as much, subsequent biographies went further, claiming that a fire was kindled which Francis unhesitatingly entered without suffering burns. Such an incident is depicted in the late 13th-century fresco cycle, attributed to Giotto, in the upper basilica at Assisi (see accompanying illustration). According to some late sources, the Sultan gave Francis permission to visit the sacred places in the Holy Land and even to preach there. All that can safely be asserted is that Francis and his companion left the Crusader camp for Acre, from where they embarked for Italy in the latter half of 1220. Drawing on a 1267 sermon by Bonaventure, later sources report that the Sultan secretly converted or accepted a death-bed baptism as a result of the encounter with Francis. The Franciscan Order has been present in the Holy Land almost uninterruptedly since 1217 when Brother Elias arrived at Acre. It received concessions from the Mameluke Sultan in 1333 with regard to certain Holy Places in Jerusalem and Bethlehem, and (so far as concerns the Catholic Church) jurisdictional privileges from Pope Clement VI in 1342.
At Greccio near Assisi, around 1220, Francis celebrated Christmas by setting up the first known presepio or crèche (Nativity scene). His nativity imagery reflected the scene in traditional paintings. He used real animals to create a living scene so that the worshipers could contemplate the birth of the child Jesus in a direct way, making use of the senses, especially sight. Thomas of Celano, a biographer of Francis and Saint Bonaventure both, tell how he used only a straw-filled manger (feeding trough) set between a real ox and donkey. According to Thomas, it was beautiful in its simplicity, with the manger acting as the altar for the Christmas Mass.
Reorganization of the Franciscan Order and death
On September 29, 1220, Francis handed over the governance of the Order to Brother Peter Catani at the Porziuncola. However, Brother Peter died only five months later, on March 10, 1221, and was buried in the Porziuncola. When numerous miracles were attributed to the deceased brother, people started to flock to the Porziuncola, disturbing the daily life of the Franciscans. Francis then prayed, asking Peter to stop the miracles and to obey in death as he had obeyed during his life. The reports of miracles ceased. Brother Peter was succeeded by Brother Elias as Vicar of Francis. Two years later, Francis modified the "First Rule" (creating the "Second Rule" or "Rule With a Bull"), and Pope Honorius III approved it on November 29, 1223. As the official Rule of the order, it called on the friars "to observe the Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, living in obedience without anything of our own and in chastity." In addition, it set regulations for discipline, preaching, and entry into the order. Once the Rule was endorsed by the Pope, Francis withdrew increasingly from external affairs. During 1221 and 1222, Francis crossed Italy, first as far south as Catania in Sicily and afterwards as far north as Bologna.
On July 16, 1228, he was pronounced a saint by Pope Gregory IX (the former cardinal Ugolino di Conti, friend of St Francis and Cardinal Protector of the Order). The next day, the Pope laid the foundation stone for the Basilica of Saint Francis in Assisi. He was buried on May 25, 1230, under the Lower Basilica, but his tomb was soon hidden on orders of Brother Elias to protect it from Saracen invaders. His burial place remained unknown until it was discovered in 1818. Pasquale Belli then constructed for his remains a crypt in neo-classical style in the Lower Basilica. It was refashioned between 1927 and 1930 into its present form by Ugo Tarchi, stripping the wall of its marble decorations. In 1978, the remains of St. Francis were examined and confirmed by a commission of scholars appointed by Pope Paul VI, and put into a glass urn in the ancient stone tomb. Saint Francis is considered the first Italian poet by literary critics. He believed commoners should be able to pray to God in their own language, and he wrote often in the dialect of Umbria instead of Latin. His writings are considered to have great literary and religious value.
Character and legacyIt has been argued that no one else in history was as dedicated as Francis to imitate the life, and carry out the work of Christ, in Christ’s own way. This is important in understanding Francis' character and his affinity for the Eucharist and respect for the priests who carried out the sacrament. He and his followers celebrated and even venerated poverty. Poverty was so central to his character that in his last written work, the Testament, he said that absolute personal and corporate poverty was the essential lifestyle for the members of his order. He believed that nature itself was the mirror of God. He called all creatures his “brothers” and “sisters,” and even preached to the birds and supposedly persuaded a wolf to stop attacking some locals if they agreed to feed the wolf. In his “Canticle of the Creatures” (“Praises of Creatures” or “Canticle of the Sun”), he mentioned the “Brother Sun” and “Sister Moon,” the wind and water, and “Sister Death.” He referred to his chronic illnesses as his “sisters." His deep sense of brotherhood under God embraced others, and he declared that “he considered himself no friend of Christ if he did not cherish those for whom Christ died.” Francis' visit to Egypt and attempted rapprochement with the Muslim world had far-reaching consequences, long past his own death, since after the fall of the Crusader Kingdom, it would be the Franciscans, of all Catholics, who would be allowed to stay on in the Holy Land and be recognized as "Custodians of the Holy Land" on behalf of the Catholic Church.
Nature and the environment
Perhaps the most famous incident that illustrates the Saint's humility towards nature is recounted in the "Fioretti" ("Little Flowers"), a collection of legends and folklore that sprang up after the Saint's death. It is said that, one day, while Francis was travelling with some companions, they happened upon a place in the road where birds filled the trees on either side. Francis told his companions to "wait for me while I go to preach to my sisters the birds." The birds surrounded him, intrigued by the power of his voice, and not one of them flew away. He is often portrayed with a bird, typically in his hand.
Another legend from the Fioretti tells that in the city of Gubbio, where Francis lived for some time, was a wolf "terrifying and ferocious, who devoured men as well as animals." Francis had compassion upon the townsfolk, and so he went up into the hills to find the wolf. Soon, fear of the animal had caused all his companions to flee, though the saint pressed on. When he found the wolf, he made the sign of the cross and commanded the wolf to come to him and hurt no one. Miraculously the wolf closed his jaws and lay down at the feet of St. Francis. "Brother Wolf, you do much harm in these parts and you have done great evil," said Francis. "All these people accuse you and curse you...But brother wolf, I would like to make peace between you and the people." Then Francis led the wolf into the town, and surrounded by startled citizens made a pact between them and the wolf. Because the wolf had “done evil out of hunger, the townsfolk were to feed the wolf regularly. In return, the wolf would no longer prey upon them or their flocks. In this manner Gubbio was freed from the menace of the predator. Francis even made a pact on behalf of the town dogs, that they would not bother the wolf again. Finally, to show the townspeople that they would not be harmed, Francis blessed the wolf.
Then during the World Environment Day 1982, John Paul II said that St. Francis' love and care for creation was a challenge for contemporary Catholics and a reminder "not to behave like dissident predators where nature is concerned, but to assume responsibility for it, taking all care so that everything stays healthy and integrated, so as to offer a welcoming and friendly environment even to those who succeed us." The same Pope wrote on the occasion of the World Day of Peace, January 1, 1990, the saint of Assisi "offers Christians an example of genuine and deep respect for the integrity of creation..." He went on to make the point that St Francis: "As a friend of the poor who was loved by God's creatures, Saint Francis invited all of creation – animals, plants, natural forces, even Brother Sun and Sister Moon – to give honor and praise to the Lord. The poor man of Assisi gives us striking witness that when we are at peace with God we are better able to devote ourselves to building up that peace with all creation which is inseparable from peace among all peoples."
Pope John Paul II concluded that section of the document with these words, "It is my hope that the inspiration of Saint Francis will help us to keep ever alive a sense of 'fraternity' with all those good and beautiful things which Almighty God has created."
On June 18, 1939, Pope Pius XII named Francis a joint Patron Saint of Italy along with Saint Catherine of Siena with the apostolic letter "Licet Commissa", AAS XXXI (1939), 256–257. Pope Pius mentioned the two saints in the laudative discourse he pronounced on May 5, 1949, in the Church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva.
St. Francis is honored in the Church of England, the Anglican Church of Canada, the Episcopal Church USA, the Old Catholic Churches, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and other churches and religious communities on October 4. The Evangelical Church in Germany, however, commemorates St. Francis' feast day on his death day, October 3.
Pope FrancisOn 13 March 2013, upon his election as Pope, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina chose Francis as his papal name in honor of Saint Francis of Assisi, becoming Pope Francis.
- Canticum Fratris Solis or Laudes Creaturarum; Canticle of the Sun.
- Prayer before the Crucifix, 1205 (extant in the original Umbrian dialect as well as in a contemporary Latin translation);
- Regula non bullata, the Earlier Rule, 1221;
- Regula bullata, the Later Rule, 1223;
- Testament, 1226;
- St. Francis and scenes from his life, 13th century
- The Flowers of St. Francis, a 1950 film directed by Roberto Rossellini and co-written by Federico Fellini
- Francis of Assisi, a 1961 film directed by Michael Curtiz, based on the novel The Joyful Beggar by Louis de Wohl
- Francis of Assisi, a 1966 film directed by Liliana Cavani
- Uccellacci e uccellini (The Hawks and the Sparrows), a 1966 film directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini
- Brother Sun, Sister Moon, a 1972 film by Franco Zeffirelli
- Francesco, a 1989 film by Liliana Cavani, contemplatively paced, follows Francis of Assisi's evolution from rich man's son to religious humanitarian, and eventually to full-fledged self-tortured saint. Saint Francis is played by Mickey Rourke, and the woman who later became Saint Clare, is played by Helena Bonham Carter
- St. Francis, a 2002 film directed by Michele Soavi, starring Raoul Bova and Amélie Daure
- Clare and Francis, a 2007 film directed by Fabrizio Costa, starring Mary Petruolo and Ettore Bassi
- Pranchiyettan and the Saint, a 2010 satirical Indian Malayalam film
- Franz Liszt:
- Cantico del sol di Francesco d'Assisi, S.4 (sacred choral work, 1862, 1880–81; versions of the Prelude for piano, S. 498c, 499, 499a; version of the Prelude for organ, S. 665, 760; version of the Hosannah for organ and bass trombone, S.677)
- St. François d'Assise: La Prédication aux oiseaux, No. 1 of Deux Légendes, S.175 (piano, 1862–63)
- Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco: Fioretti (voice and orchestra, 1920)
- Gian Francesco Malipiero: San Francesco d'Assisi (soloists, chorus and orchestra, 1920–1921)
- Amy Beach: Canticle of the Sun (soloists, chorus and orchestra, 1928)
- Leo Sowerby: Canticle of the Sun (cantata for mixed voices with accompaniment for piano or orchestra, 1944)
- Francis Poulenc: Quatre petites prières de Saint François d'Assise (men's chorus, 1948)
- Seth Bingham: The Canticle of the Sun (cantata for chorus of mixed voices with soli ad lib. and accompaniment for organ or orchestra, 1949)
- Juliusz Łuciuk: Święty Franciszek z Asyżu (oratorio for soprano, tenor, baritone, mixed chorus and orchestra, 1976)
- Olivier Messiaen: opera Saint François d'Assise (1975–83)
- William Walton: Cantico del sol (chorus, 1973–74)
- Karlheinz Stockhausen: Luzifers Abschied (1982), scene 4 of the opera Samstag aus Licht
- Libby Larsen: I Will Sing and Raise a Psalm (SATB chorus and organ, 1995)
- Sofia Gubaidulina: Sonnengesang (solo cello, chamber choir and percussion, 1997)
- Balada de Francisco [Ballad of Francis] voices accompanied by guitar – Juventude Franciscana and O.F.S – "Semeadores da Paz – JUFRA (1999)
- Lewis Nielson: St. Francis Preaches to the Birds (2005), chamber concerto for violin
- Michele Paulicelli's musical Forza Venite Gente is completely dedicated to the entire life of St. Francis, with several songs about the main events of his life.
- Francis of Assisi, The Little Flowers (fioretti), London, 2012. limovia.net ISBN 978-1-78336-013-0
- Saint Francis of Assisi, written and illustrated by Demi, Wisdom Tales, 2012, ISBN 978-1-937786-04-5
- Francis of Assisi: A New Biography, by Augustine Thompson, O.P., Cornell University Press, 2012, ISBN 978-080145-070-9
- Francis of Assisi in the Sources and Writings, by Robert Rusconi and translated by Nancy Celaschi, Franciscan Institute Publications, 2008. ISBN 978-1-57659-152-9
- The Stigmata of Francis of Assisi, Franciscan Institute Publications, 2006. ISBN 978-1-57659-140-6
- Francis of Assisi – The Message in His Writings, by Thaddee Matura, Franciscan Institute Publications, 1997. ISBN 978-1-57659-127-7
- Saint Francis of Assisi, by John R. H. Moorman, Franciscan Institute Publications, 1987. ISBN 978-0-8199-0904-6
- First Encounter with Francis of Assisi, by Damien Vorreux and translated by Paul LaChance, Franciscan Institute Publications, 1979. ISBN 978-0-8199-0698-4
- St. Francis of Assisi, by Raoul Manselli, Franciscan Institute Publications, 1985. ISBN 978-0-8199-0880-3
- Saint Francis of Assisi, by Thomas of Celano and translated by Placid Hermann, Franciscan Institute Publications, 1988. ISBN 978-0-8199-0554-3
- Francis the Incomparable Saint, by Joseph Lortz, Franciscan Institute Publications, 1986, ISBN 978-1-57659-067-6
- Respectfully Yours: Signed and Sealed, Francis of Assisi, by Edith van den Goorbergh and Theodore Zweerman, Franciscan Institute Publications, 2001. ISBN 978-1-57659-178-9
- The Admonitions of St Francis: Sources and Meanings, by Robert J. Karris, Franciscan Institute Publications, 1999. ISBN 978-1-57659-166-6
- We Saw Brother Francis, by Francis de Beer, Franciscan Institute Publications, 1983. ISBN 978-0-8199-0803-2
- Sant Francesco (Saint Francis, 1895), a book of forty-three Saint Francis poems by Catalan poet-priest Jacint Verdaguer, three of which are included in English translation in Selected Poems of Jacint Verdaguer: A Bilingual Edition, edited and translated by Ronald Puppo, with an introduction by Ramon Pinyol i Torrents (University of Chicago, 2007). The three poems are "The Turtledoves", "Preaching to Birds" and "The Pilgrim".
- Saint Francis of Assisi (1923), a book by G. K. Chesterton
- Blessed Are The Meek (1944). a book by Zofia Kossak
- Saint Francis of Assisi a Doubleday Image Book translated by T. O'Conor Sloane, Ph.D., LL.D. in 1955 from the Danish original researched and written by Johannes Jorgensen and published in 1912 by Longmans, Green and Company, Inc.
- Saint Francis of Assisi (God's Pauper) (1962), a novel by Nikos Kazantzakis
- Scripta Leonis, Rufini Et Angeli Sociorum S. Francisci: The Writings of Leo, Rufino and Angelo Companions of St. Francis (1970), edited by Rosalind B. Brooke, in Latin and English, containing testimony recorded by intimate, long-time companions of St. Francis
- Saint Francis and His Four Ladies (1970), a book by Joan Mowat Erikson
- The Life and Words of St. Francis of Assisi (1973), by Ira Peck
- The Life of Saint Francis of Assisi (1996), a book by Patricia Stewart
- Reluctant Saint: The Life of Francis of Assisi (2002), a book by Donald Spoto
- Flowers for St Francis (2005), a book by Raj Arumugam
- Chasing Francis, 2006, a book by Ian Cron
- John Tolan, St. Francis and the Sultan: The Curious History of a Christian-Muslim Encounter. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.
- Vita di un uomo: Francesco d'Assisi (1995) a book by Chiara Frugoni, preface by Jacques Le Goff, Torino: Einaudi.
- Francis, Brother of the Universe (1982), a 48 page comic book by Marvel Comics on the life of Saint Francis of Assisi written by Father Roy Gasnik O.F.M. and Mary Jo Duffy, artwork by John Buscema and Marie Severin, lettering by Jim Novak and edited by Jim Shooter.
- In Rubén Darío's poem Los Motivos Del Lobo (The Reasons Of The Wolf) St. Francis tames a terrible wolf only to discover that the human heart harbors darker desires than those of the beast.
- In Fyodor Dostoyevsky's The Brothers Karamazov, Ivan Karamazov invokes the name of 'Pater Seraphicus,' an epithet applied to St. Francis, to describe Alyosha's spiritual guide Zosima. The reference is found in Goethe's "Faust," Part 2, Act 5, lines 11918–25.
- Rich Mullins co-wrote Canticle of the Plains, a musical, with Mitch McVicker. Released in 1997, it was based on the life of St Francis of Assisi, but told as a western story.
- Bernard Malamud's novel The Assistant (1957) features a protagonist, Frank Alpine, who exemplifies the life of St. Francis in mid-20th-century Brooklyn, New York City.
- List of places named after Saint Francis
- Saint Benedict, who founded the Benedictine Monastery.
- Saint Juniper, one of Francis' original followers.
- Prayer of Saint Francis, ("Lord, make me an instrument of your peace…") widely but erroneously attributed to Francis.
- St. Benedict's Cave, which contains a portrait of Francis made during his lifetime
- Saint Margaret of Cortona
- Saint-François d'Assise, an opera by Olivier Messiaen
- Saint-François (disambiguation) (places named after Francis of Assisi in French-speaking countries)
- Society of Saint Francis
- List of Catholic saints
- Scripta Leonis, Rufini et Angeli Sociorum S. Francisci: The Writings of Leo, Rufino and Angelo Companions of St. Francis, original manuscript, 1246, compiled by Brother Leo and other companions (1970, 1990, reprinted with corrections), Oxford, Oxford University Press, edited by Rosalind B. Brooke, in Latin and English, ISBN 0-19-822214-9, containing testimony recorded by intimate, long-time companions of St. Francis
- Francis of Assisi, The Little Flowers (fioretti), London, 2012. limovia.net ISBN 978-1-78336-013-0
- Bonaventure; Cardinal Manning (1867). The Life of St. Francis of Assisi (from the Legenda Sancti Francisci) (1988 ed.). Rockford, Illinois: TAN Books & Publishers. ISBN 978-0-89555-343-0
- Chesterton, Gilbert Keith (1924). St. Francis of Assisi (14 ed.). Garden City, New York: Image Books.
- Englebert, Omer (1951). The Lives of the Saints. New York: Barnes & Noble.
- Karrer, Otto, ed., St. Francis, The Little Flowers, Legends, and Lauds, trans. N. Wydenbruck, (London: Sheed and Ward, 1979)
- Robinson, Paschal (1913). "St. Francis of Assisi". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. "St._Francis_of_Assisi". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913.
- Friar Elias, Epistola Encyclica de Transitu Sancti Francisci, 1226.
- Pope Gregory IX, Bulla "Mira circa nos" for the canonization of St. Francis, July 19, 1228.
- Friar Tommaso da Celano: Vita Prima Sancti Francisci, 1228; Vita Secunda Sancti Francisci, 1246–1247; Tractatus de Miraculis Sancti Francisci, 1252–1253.
- Friar Julian of Speyer, Vita Sancti Francisci, 1232–1239.
- St. Bonaventure of Bagnoregio, Legenda Maior Sancti Francisci, 1260–1263.
- Ugolino da Montegiorgio, Actus Beati Francisci et sociorum eius, 1327–1342.
- Fioretti di San Francesco, the "Little Flowers of St. Francis", end of the 14th century: an anonymous Italian version of the Actus; the most popular of the sources, but very late and therefore not the best authority by any means.
- The Little Flowers of Saint Francis (Translated by Raphael Brown), Doubleday, 1998. ISBN 978-0-385-07544-2