In this book are contained certain Little Flowers - to wit, miracles and pious examples of the glorious servant of Christ St Francis, and of some of his holy. Fioretti di San Francesco. English. The little flowers of Saint Francis / [ascribed to] Brother Ugolino; introduced, annotated, arranged chronologically, and. The Little Flowers of St. Francis, tr. by W. Heywood, [], full text etext at


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While the Floretum of Ugolino did not extend beyond the yearthe source of the Actus-Fioretti dealt with episodes occurring late in ; and its compiler knew Ugolino personally and probably utilized other writings of Ugolino, which the latter had not exploited in the Floretum.

The Little Flowers of St. Francis

As it natural with a collection of wonder-stories, that same tendency to growth which is manifest in the Actus-Fioretti as compared with the re-constructed Floretum, is just as apparent in the history of the Fioretti themselves.

Two themes in particular were provocative of such developments: These similitudes in little flowers of st francis Fioretti are, with characteristic humility, three; Little flowers of st francis Pisano, by the end of the fourteenth century, increased them to forty; while Pedro Astorga, a Spanish monk of the seventeenth century, who wrote with all the characteristic vim of the Decadence, raised the number to four thousand.


Meantime there was a tendency to make the Fioretti an archive of all Franciscan miracles - even at an early day those of Saint Anthony of Padua began creeping in. That naive briskness, that little flowers of st francis chuckle, which is hidden in every paragraph of the fresh and vigorous Tuscan original of the Fioretti was not long in producing additions in the spirit of broad humor.

We are encroaching on this sphere in the familiar stories of Brother Juniper.

The Little Flowers of St. Francis

We are surely in an outright secular world in a fioretto which I picked up in Tuscany in my own youth - the story of the Franciscan novice, who, on climbing the blistering scorciatoie to his convent after the collect of alms on a summer's day, sets his bushel of chestnuts on the ground, wipes his brow, and then reflects, with a scepticism worthy of Brother Elias, and a Tuscan crudeness worthy of Brother Ruffino: As regards, therefore, the many texts of the Fioretti, some of very ancient authority, which circulate in the various editions, it may be necessary to remember that, whatever the relation of the original of the Actus-Fioretti to the Floretum, the Fioretti, proper, must have contained fifty-three chapters, plus the five "considerations" on the Stigmata of Saint Francis.

This content, in fact, aside from internal evidence, is vouched for by twenty-six manuscripts of the fifteenth century and some of the early printed editions.

Without entering into the question of the varied adjuncts that were supplied at one time or another from one source or another, we may note, simply, the derivations of those additions which were accepted, with unsurpassed discernment and for their intrinsic merits of spirit or beauty, by Father Cesari in his classic edition of little flowers of st francis Fioretti Verona, The "life" of Brother Juniper comes from an early Latin manuscript containing also a "life" of Brother Gilesindependent of the Actus-Fioretti, but which had been accreted to the Fioretti also in the fifteenth century.

The "instructions and notable sayings of Brother Giles" are by a known Florentine author, Feo Belcari, who died in Despite the several hands that must have tinkered with the substance of the Fioretti before they reached their more extensive forms, one would not go far amiss in recognizing in a work of such surpassing literary charm the imprint of two unusual personalities.

The one must be that unknown monk of Tuscany why little flowers of st francis these stories or compiled them, as the case little flowers of st francis be in such a sparkling and vivacious Tuscan idiom, an idiom as simple, direct, and limpid as may be imagined, but with an unfailing instinct for the enduring elements in a still future Italian language, and an idiom, withal, that retains the full vigor and picturesqueness of a peasant intelligence, wise in its worldly wisdom but unspoiled by any involutions of culture.

little flowers of st francis The second must be that same Ugolino of Montegiorgio, who somehow managed to condense into the pages of the old Floretum such a distillation of the pure spirit of early Franciscanism as to strike a tone and establish a mood which no later re-workings of his text could vitiate.

In the sphere of fact, we may say that through Ugolino, who borrowed from Jacopo dalla Massa, an "eye-witness", and from legends going back to Brother Leo, these stories arrive at the very days of Saint Francis, without, for that matter, attaining any very great amount of historical plausibility.

But it is a case where the truth of art transcends the truth of fact, and creates a verity more little flowers of st francis than science or scholarship could by themselves attain.


To possess the Fioretti is to re-live the early period of Franciscanism much as it was lived by the friends and disciples of the Saint. But, in this connection, one must raise a warning against little flowers of st francis the Little Flowers with that long face of piety which is so easily put on in the presence of any literature that has a sacred look.

Such sentimentalism, which blinds so many devout Christians to the art of the Bible for instance, is a variance with the shrewd simplicity of this folk masterpiece of Central Italy.

Little Flowers of St. Francis Index

What we have here, let us insist on the point, is humor; and one who cannot - I will not say laugh - one who cannot smile, will have read the Little Flowers in vain. I am not so sure that this smile did not, on occasion, play about the lips of Brother Ugolino himself.

These writers are our companions, even our champions, in a common effort to discern the meaning of God little flowers of st francis personal experience.

We hope they will provide you with a variety of ways of thinking and talking about these ancient and important texts.

We offer this word about the act of reading these spiritual classics.


From the very earliest accounts of monastic practice—dating back to the fourth century—it is evident that a form of reading called lectio divina "divine" or "spiritual" reading was essential to any deliberate spiritual life. This kind of reading is quite different from that of scanning a text for useful facts and bits of information, or advancing along an exciting plot line to a climax in the action.

It is, rather, a meditative approach, by which the reader seeks to taste and savor the little flowers of st francis and truth of every phrase and passage. There are four steps in lectio divina: Fioretti di Little flowers of st francis Francesco Chapter Those that heard them were so inflamed by their message that they desired to leave the city and follow these friars into the wilderness.