Sacred Texts  Christianity  Index  Previous  Next 
Buy this Book at

The Little Flowers of St. Francis, tr. by W. Heywood, [1906], at


How St. Louis, King of France, in the garb of a pilgrim, went in person to Perugia to visit the holy Friar Giles

ST. LOUIS, King of France, went on pilgrimage to visit the sanctuaries throughout the world; and hearing very great report of the sanctity of Friar Giles, who had been among the first companions of St. Francis, he resolved and was wholly determined to visit him in person; for the which cause he came to Perugia, where the said Friar Giles then dwelt. And coming to the gate of the Place of the friars, as a poor pilgrim and unknown, with but few companions, he asked very urgently for Friar Giles, saying naught to the doorkeeper who he was that asked for him. Then the doorkeeper went to Friar Giles and told him that there was a pilgrim at the gate who asked

p. 91

for him; and through inspiration and revelation of God, Friar Giles knew that it was the King of France. Wherefore, with great fervour, he straightway came forth from his cell and ran to the gate; and without further questioning, albeit they twain had never before seen one another, they kneeled them down together and embraced and kissed each other, with great familiarity, as though for a long time there had been fast friendship between them. Nevertheless, with all this, neither of them spake any word, but ever they embraced one another with those signs of love and affection, in silence. And, after they had continued on this wise for a long time without speaking any word, they departed the one from the other; and St. Louis gat him up and went on his journey and Friar Giles returned to his cell. Now, as the king was departing, a friar asked one of his companions who he was that for so long a time had embraced Friar Giles; and he made answer that it was Louis, King of France, who had come to see Friar Giles. Thereafter, when this friar had told it to his fellows, they were exceeding grieved that Friar Giles had spoken no word to the king; and they murmured against him and said unto him: "O Friar Giles, why hast thou shown thyself so churlish to so saintly a king, who hath come out of France to see thee and to hear thee speak some good word, and thou hast never spoken to him at all?" Friar Giles made answer: "Well-beloved friars, marvel not thereat; for neither was I able to say word to him nor he to me, since no sooner had we embraced one another than the light of Divine wisdom revealed and made manifest his heart to me and mine to him; and thus, by Divine operation, each of us looked into the heart of the other and knew those things which I desired to say to him

p. 92

and he to me far better than if we had spoken them with our lips, and we took more comfort thereof than if we had tried to explain with our voices that which we felt in our hearts. By reason of the deficiency of human speech, which may not clearly express the secret mysteries of God, we should have been rather saddened than comforted. Wherefore, know ye that the king departed from me marvellously contented and comforted in his soul."

Next: Chapter XXXV. How, on Christmas Eve, St. Clare being sick was miraculously carried . . .