The Little Flowers of St. Francis, tr. by W. Heywood, , at sacred-texts.com
How St. Francis appeared to Friar Leo
ON a time, after St. Francis had departed this life, there came upon Friar Leo a desire to see that sweet father, whom, when alive, he had so dearly loved; and, by reason of this desire, he began, beyond his wont, to afflict his body with prayers and fastings; beseeching God with great fervour that He would fulfil his desire. And so, while he was all enkindled in that prayer, St. Francis appeared unto him all glorious with wings, and he had talons upon his hands and upon his feet, like unto those of an eagle, but gilded. And Friar Leo, being all gladdened and consoled by this so marvellous apparition, said with wonder: "Wherefore, my most venerable father, hast thou appeared unto me in so strange a shape?" St. Francis made answer: "Among the other graces, which have been given and granted unto me by the Divine compassion, are these wings; to the end that, being invoked, I may straightway succour the lovers of this holy Religion in their tribulations and necessities; and may carry their souls and those of my friars, as it were flying, to the supernal glory. These talons so great and strong and golden are given me against the devil, against the persecutors of my Religion and against the reprobate friars of this holy Order, that I may chastise them with hard and grievous clawings
and cruel punishments." To the praise of Christ. Amen.