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Of beautiful miracles which God wrought through the holy friars, Friar Bentivoglia, Friar Peter of Monticello and Friar Conrad of Offida; and how Friar Bentivoglia carried a leper fifteen miles in a very short time; and how to the other St. Michael spoke; and to the third the Virgin Mary came and placed her Son in his arms

OF old, the province of the March of Ancona was adorned, even as is the sky with stars, by holy and exemplary friars; who, like the lights of heaven,

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have illuminated and adorned the Order of St. Francis and the world by example and by doctrine. Among the others was, firstly, Friar Lucidus, the elder, who was truly resplendent with sanctity, and burning with Divine charity; whose glorious tongue, informed by the Holy Ghost, reaped marvellous fruits in his preachings. Another was Friar Bentivoglia of San Severino, who was seen of Friar Masseo, lifted up into the air for a great space, what time he was in prayer in the wood; by reason of which miracle Friar Masseo, being then a parish priest, left his parish and became a minor friar; and was of such great sanctity that he wrought many miracles both in his life and after his death; and his body is buried at Murro. Once, while the aforesaid Friar Bentivoglia was sojourning alone at Trave Bonanti to care for and serve a leper, he received orders from the Bishop to depart thence, and go to another place; the which place was fifteen miles distant; and, not wishing to abandon that leper, with great fervour of charity, he took him and set him upon his back and carried him, between daybreak and the rising of the sun, the whole of that fifteen miles, even to the place whither he was sent, which is called Monte Suncino; the which journey, had he been an eagle, he could not have flown in so short a time; and at this Divine miracle there it was great wonder and amazement in all that country. Another was Friar Peter of Monticello, who was seen by Friar Servodio of Urbino (being then the guardian of the old Place of Ancona) bodily raised from the ground, five or six cubits, even unto the foot of the Crucifix of the Church, before which he was praying. And this Friar Peter, once when he was fasting with great devotion during the forty days’ fast of St. Michael the Archangel, and on the last day of that

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fast was in the church in prayer, was heard by a young friar (who lay hidden beneath the high altar, to the end that he might behold some manifestation of his sanctity) speaking with St. Michael the Archangel; and the words which they spake were these: St. Michael said: "Friar Peter, thou hast laboured faithfully for me, and in many ways hast thou afflicted thy body. Behold, I am come to console thee, and that thou mayest ask whatsoever grace thou wilt, and I am willing to obtain it for thee from God." Friar Peter made answer: "Most holy Prince of the celestial armies, most faithful zealot of the Divine honour, pitiful protector of souls, I ask of thee this grace, that thou obtain for me from God the pardon of my sins". St. Michael replied: "Ask another grace, for this I shall most easily obtain for thee"; and, when Friar Peter asked him nothing else, the Archangel concluded: "For the faith and devotion which thou hast toward me, I will obtain for thee this grace which thou demandest, and many others". And when their speaking was ended, the which lasted for a long time, the Archangel St. Michael gat him thence, leaving Friar Peter full of consolation. Now, in the days of this holy Friar Peter, there lived also the holy Friar Conrad of Offida; and, while these two dwelt together in the Place of Forano in the territory of Ancona, the said Friar Conrad betook himself, one day, to the wood to meditate on God; and Friar Peter went after him secretly to see that which should befal him; and Friar Conrad began to pray and most devoutly to beseech the Virgin Mary with great piety that she would obtain for him this grace of her blessed Son, that he might experience a little of that sweetness which St. Simeon felt, on the day of the Purification, when he carried in his arms Jesus, the blessed Saviour.

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[paragraph continues] And, when he had thus prayed, the ever-pitiful Virgin Mary gave ear unto him; and lo! the Queen of Heaven appeared with her blessed Son in her arms, with very great splendour of light; and, drawing nigh unto Friar Conrad, she placed that blessed Son in his arms; whom he received most devoutly, and, embracing and kissing Him and clasping Him to his heart, was altogether melted and dissolved in Divine love and inexplicable consolation; and Friar Peter, likewise, who saw everything from his hiding-place, felt very great sweetness and consolation in his soul. And, when the Virgin Mary had departed from Friar Conrad, Friar Peter returned in haste to the Place, that he might not be seen of him; but afterward, when Friar Conrad returned all merry and jocund, Friar Peter said unto him: "O heavenly man, great consolation hast thou had to-day!" Said Friar Conrad: "What sayest thou, Friar Peter? and what knowest thou of that which I have had?" "Well do I know," said Friar Peter. "Well do I know how the Virgin Mary with her blessed Son hath visited thee." Then Friar Conrad, who, as a truly humble man, desired to keep secret the graces which he received of God, besought him that he would not tell any one thereof; and so great was the love, which, from thenceforward, was between them, that it seemed as if they were of one heart and of one soul in everything. And, once, the said Friar Conrad, in the Place of Siruolo, liberated by his prayers a damsel who was possessed by the devil, praying for her all one night, and appearing to her mother; and, in the morning he fled, that he might not be found and honoured by the people.

Next: Chapter XLIII. How Friar Conrad of Offida converted a young friar . . .