Fioretti DI San Francesco


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Friar Bernard in Bologna


Seeing that St. Francis and his companions were called of God to bear the cross of Christ in their hearts and in their deeds, and to preach it with their tongues, they seemed to be and in truth were crucified, as far as regards their dress, the austerity of their lives, and their works. Therefore they desired the more to suffer shame and contumely for the love of Christ, rather than honor of the world and reverence and praise of men. In insults they rejoiced and at honors they grew sad; and so they passed through the world as strangers and pilgrims, bearing with them naught save Christ crucified. And since they were true branches of the true vine, that is, Christ, they brought forth great and good fruit in the souls they won for God.

It happened in the beginning of the Order that St. Francis sent Friar Bernard to Bologna to the end that he might there, according to the grace that God had given him, bring forth fruit to God; and Friar Bernard, making the sign of the most holy cross, departed and came unto Bologna. And when the children saw him in poor and threadbare dress, they made much mock of him, as though he were a fool; but Friar Bernard with patience and with joy bore all things for the love of Christ; nay, of set purpose that he might be the more derided, betook himself to the market place of the city. While sitting there, many children and men came about him. Some plucked at his hood; some pelted him with dust and some with stones; and some pushed him this way and others that. But Friar Bernard, continuing always with the same patience, neither complained nor changed at all, and for the space of many days returned to the same place, to suffer the same usage. And since patience is a work of perfection and proof of virtue, a learned doctor of the law, beholding and musing on the great constancy and virtue of Friar Bernard, how for so many days neither taunt nor contumely could disquiet him, said to himself, "Of a surety this needs must be a holy man." Approaching him, he asked, "Who are thou? and wherefore art thou come hither?"

Friar Bernard for reply put his hand into his bosom and drew forth the Rule of St. Francis, and gave it to him to read, and when he had read it, musing on its most lofty state of perfection, he turned unto his companions and said, "Of a truth this is the highest state of religion whereof I have ever heard. This man and his companions are the holiest men in this world, and whoso does him wrong committeth a most grievous sin; most highly should we honor him, seeing that he is a true friend of God." And he said to Friar Bernard, "If it is your wish to found a friary, wherein you may serve God conveniently, with right good will, for the salvation of my soul, will I give it you." Friar Bernard replied, "Master, methinks our Lord Jesus Christ hath put this thought within your heart; and therefore for the honor of Christ I willingly accept your proffered gift." Then with great joy and love the said judge took Friar Bernard to his home; and gave him the promised friary and made it all ready and furnished it at his own expense. From that time forth he became the special protector of Friar Bernard and his companions.

Friar Bernard through his holy life began to be much honored of the people, in such sort that whoso might touch and see him deemed himself blessed thereby; but he, like a true disciple of Christ and the humble St. Francis, fearing that the honor of the world might hinder the peace and salvation of his soul, on a day departed and returned unto St. Francis and spoke thus unto him, "Father, the friary is founded in the city of Bologna; send brothers thither to maintain it and abide in it; since I have no more profit therein, nay, rather for the too great honor done to me I fear that I have lost even more than I have gained." St. Francis, learning all things in order, how God had worked through Friar Bernard, gave thanks to God, who thus was beginning to enlarge the poor little disciples of the cross; and then he sent some of his companions to Bologna and the parts of Lombardy, who founded many friaries in various places.

1 , ch. v.


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Chicago: "Friar Bernard in Bologna," Fioretti DI San Francesco in Readings in Early European History, ed. Webster, Hutton (Boston: Ginn and Company, 1926), 363–364. Original Sources, accessed September 29, 2023,

MLA: . "Friar Bernard in Bologna." Fioretti DI San Francesco, in Readings in Early European History, edited by Webster, Hutton, Boston, Ginn and Company, 1926, pp. 363–364. Original Sources. 29 Sep. 2023.

Harvard: , 'Friar Bernard in Bologna' in Fioretti DI San Francesco. cited in 1926, Readings in Early European History, ed. , Ginn and Company, Boston, pp.363–364. Original Sources, retrieved 29 September 2023, from