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Saint Francis, by Jose de Ribera [1643] (Public Domain Image)
Saint Francis, by Jose de Ribera [1643] (Public Domain Image)

The Little Flowers of St. Francis

tr. by W. Heywood


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The Little Flowers is a traditional collection of tales of St. Francis and the early Franciscans. The legend of St. Francis (b. 1181, d. 1226), the patron saint of animals, birds, and the environment, greatly expanded as time went by, and accumulated in this work.

The Little Flowers is a much-loved spiritual classic. This translation by W. Heywood has recently been republished by Vintage, introduced by Madeline L'Engle.

Title Page
Translator's Note

The Little Flowers

Chapter I
Chapter II. Of Friar Bernard of Quintavalle, first companion of St. Francis
Chapter III. How for an evil thought which St. Francis had against Friar Bernard. . .
Chapter IV. How the Angel of God proposed a question to Friar Elias. . .
How the Holy Friar Bernard of Assisi was sent by St. Francis to Bologna, and there founded a monastery
Chapter VI. How St. Francis blessed the holy Friar Bernard, and left him as his vicar. . .
Chapter VII. How St. Francis passed a Lent in an island of the lake of Perugia. . .
Chapter VIII. How while St. Francis and Friar Leo were on a journey . . .
Chapter IX. How St. Francis taught Friar Leo to make answer. . .
Chapter X. How Friar Masseo, as if in raillery, said to St. Francis . . .
Chapter XI. How St. Francis made Friar Masseo turn round and round many times, and thereafter gat him to Siena
Chapter XII. How St. Francis laid upon Friar Masseo the service of the gate . . .
Chapter XIII. How St. Francis and Friar Masseo placed the bread which they had begged upon a stone . . .
Chapter XIV. How while St. Francis and his friars spake of God, He appeared in the midst of them
Chapter XV. How St. Clare ate with St. Francis and with the friars . . .
Chapter XVI. How St. Francis received the counsel of St. Clare . . .and preached to the birds . . .
Chapter XVII. How a boy friar, while St. Francis was praying by night, saw Christ and the Virgin Mary . . .
Chapter XVIII. Of the marvellous chapter which St. Francis held at Santa Maria degli Angeli . . .
Chapter XIX. How from the vineyard . . . the grapes were taken away . . .
Chapter XX. Of a very beautiful vision which was seen by a young friar . . .
Chapter XXI. Of the most holy miracle which St. Francis wrought when he converted the very fierce wolf of Agobio
Chapter XXII. How St. Francis tamed the wild turtle-doves
Chapter XXIII. How St. Francis set free the friar who was in sin with the demon
Chapter XXIV. How St. Francis converted the Soldan of Babylon to the faith
Chapter XXV. How St. Francis miraculously healed one who was a leper both in soul and body . . .
Chapter XXVI. How St. Francis converted three robbers which were murderers . . .
Chapter XXVII. How St. Francis converted at Bologna two scholars, who became friars. . .
Chapter XXVIII. Of an ecstasy which came to Friar Bernard . . .
Chapter XXIX. How the devil in the form of Christ Crucified appeared . . .
Chapter XXX. Of the beautiful sermon . . . when they preached naked
Chapter XXXI. How St. Francis knew . . . the secrets of the hearts of all his friars
Chapter XXXII. How Friar Masseo obtained from Christ the virtue of his humility
Chapter XXXIII. How St. Clare, at the bidding of the Pope, blessed the bread . . .
Chapter XXXIV. How St. Louis, King of France, in the garb of a pilgrim . . .
Chapter XXXV. How, on Christmas Eve, St. Clare being sick was miraculously carried . . .
Chapter XXXVI. How St. Francis expounded unto Friar Leo a fair vision . . .
Chapter XXXVII. How Jesus Christ . . . caused a rich man to be converted
Chapter XXXVIII. How St. Francis knew in spirit that Friar Elias was damned . . .
Chapter XXXIX. Of the marvellous sermon which St. Antony of Padua, . . . preached
Chapter XL. When St. Antony . . . preached to the fishes of the sea
Chapter XLI. How the venerable Friar Simon delivered from a great temptation a friar . . .
Chapter XLII. Of beautiful miracles which God wrought through the holy friars . . .
Chapter XLIII. How Friar Conrad of Offida converted a young friar . . .
Chapter XLIV. How the Mother of Christ and St. John the Evangelist appeared . . .
Chapter XLV. Of the holy Friar John of Penna
Chapter XLVI. Friar Pacificus and Humilis
Chapter XLVII. Of that holy friar to whom the Mother of Christ appeared . . .
Chapter XLVIII. How Friar James of Massa saw in a vision all the minor friars . . .
Chapter XLIX. How Christ appeared to Friar John of Alvernia
Chapter L. How . . . Friar John of Alvernia saw many souls liberated from purgatory
Chapter LI. Friar James of Fallerone appears after his death
Chapter LII. Of the vision of Friar John of Alvernia . . .
Chapter LIII. Friar John of Alvernia fell down as if he were dead while saying mass

Of The Most Holy Stigmata of St. Francis

Of the First Consideration
Of the Second Consideration
Of the Third Consideration
Of the Fourth Consideration
Of the Fifth Consideration

The Life of Friar Juniper

Chapter I. How Friar Juniper cut off the foot of a pig to give it to a sick man
Chapter II. Great power of Friar Juniper against the devil
Chapter III. How, through procurement of the devil, Friar Juniper was condemned to the gallows
Chapter IV. How Friar Juniper gave whatever he could to the poor, for the love of God
Chapter V. How Friar Juniper plucked off certain bells from the altar, and gave them away for the love of God
Chapter VI. How Friar Juniper kept silence for six months
Chapter VII. Ensample against the temptations of the flesh
Chapter VIII. How Friar Juniper abased himself for the glory of God
Chapter IX. How Friar Juniper, to abase himself, played at see-saw
Chapter X. How Friar Juniper once cooked for the friars food enough for fifteen days
Chapter XI. How Friar Juniper once went to Assisi for his confusion
Chapter XII. How Friar Juniper was rapt in ecstasy during the celebration of the Mass
Chapter XIII. Of the grief which Friar Juniper had for the death of his companion, Friar Amazialbene
Chapter XIV. Of the hand which Friar Juniper saw in the air
Life of Friar Giles
Chapter II. How Friar Giles went to St. James the Greater
Chapter III. Of the manner of life which Friar Giles led when he went to the Holy Sepulchre
Chapter IV. How Friar Giles praised obedience more than prayer
Chapter V. How Friar Giles lived by the labour of his hands
Chapter VI. How Friar Giles was miraculously provided for in his great need . . .
Chapter VII. Of the day of the death of the holy Friar Giles
Chapter VIII. How a holy man, being in prayer, beheld the soul of Friar Giles go to the life eternal
Chapter IX. How through the merits of Friar Giles, the soul of a friend of a certain Preaching Friar was delivered from the pains of Purgatory
Chapter X. How God had given graces unto Friar Giles, and of the year of his death

Teachings and Sayings of Friar Giles

A Chapter of Vices and of Virtues
Chapter of Faith
Chapter of Holy Humility
Chapter of the Holy Fear of God
Chapter of Holy Patience
Chapter of Sloth
Chapter of the Irksomeness of Temporal Things
Chapter of Holy Chastity
Chapter of Temptations
Chapter of Holy Penance
Chapter of Holy Prayer
Chapter of Holy Spiritual Prudence
Chapter of Profitable and Unprofitable Knowledge
Chapter of Good and Evil Speaking
Chapter of Good Perseverance
Chapter of the True Religion
Chapter of Holy Obedience
Chapter of the Remembrance of Death

Addenda Taken From the Manuscripts

Chapter I. An ensample of Friar Leo, how St. Francis bade him wash the stone
Chapter II. How St. Francis appeared to Friar Leo
Chapter III. How Friar Leo saw a terrible vision in a dream