LIVES OF THE BROTHERS
THE BEGINNING OF THE ORDER
1.1 Our Lady obtained the foundation of the Order from her Son
1.2 This Order was foreseen and predicted by many
1.3 Many notes on Scripture and sayings of the saints have similar predictions
1.4 The same is evident from what was predicted about various houses of the Order
1.5 God has special care for the brothers
1.6 Our Lady loves and cares for the Order with special affection and efficacy
1.7 The origin of the Salve Regina after Compline, and its efficacy
1.1.1 We have carefully gone through the divine Scriptures, studying their mysteries, and have come to know clearly that our Lady, the Blessed Virgin Mary, is very much concerned for the human race, kindly intervening with her Son to help us. Through her prayerful representation the severity of divine justice is lessened, so that sinners may not perish before the face of God; likewise, by her constant prayers the world receives many benefits. Therefore she is rightly called the cloud stationed between God and men, lessening the effect of God's anger. She is also called the altar of expiation, through which God expiates our sins, readily forgiving many big sins, when we turn to him for a remedy through her. One very powerful remedy that her prayers obtained from God's mercy was the foundation of this great Order for the salvation of the human race, as has been revealed to some people.
1.1.2 Before the foundation of the Order a good monk, once while he was sick, was caught up in ecstasy for three continuous days without any exterior movement or sensation. The monks thought he was dead and discussed with some others present whether they should bury him, but he finally came to his senses, as if waking from a heavy sleep. Everyone was amazed and asked him what happened and what he saw. He only said: "I was just in ecstasy for a little while," not knowing that it was for three days and three nights. He did not want to tell them or anyone else what he saw.
But when some time had passed and the Order was established, two of its brothers came to preach in the church where this monk was. He carefully inquired about the work of these brothers, the kind of Order they belonged to and its name. After they finished preaching, he called them aside with some other reputable men and said: "God in his kindness revealed something to me which I never revealed, but now I must no longer keep secret. Once I was caught up in ecstasy for three days and three nights and saw our Lady Mary Mother of God kneeling with her hands joined and begging her Son to wait for the human race to do penance. He put his faithful Mother off many times, but finally answered: 'My Mother, what more can or should I do for the world? I have sent them prophets and patriarchs for their salvation and they did little to reform; I came myself and sent out apostles, and these evil people killed me and them; I sent so many martyrs, doctors and witnesses, and they would not listen to them. But, because it is not right for me to deny you anything, I will give them preachers to enlighten and correct them. If they still refuse to reform I will come and take revenge on them.'"
1.1.3 In confirmation of this vision, another old and religious monk in the Cistercian abbey of Bonnevaux in the diocese of Vienne, told brother Humbert, who later became Master of the Order of Preaching Brothers, the following story: At the time Pope Innocent III sent twelve abbots of our Order against the Albigensian heretics, one of them was passing near a town where a large crowd of men and women had gathered around a man raised two days after his death. Not wanting to join the crowd because of his own dignity and that of his Order, he sent one of his monks to see if this was true and find out from the raised man exactly what he had experienced.
The man answered: "For three continuous days I saw Blessed Mary on her knees before her Son, praying for the people. Her Son reminded her of the benefits he had given the world and how the world repaid him evil for good, and said: 'How can I spare the world any more when it is so ungrateful?' But the Virgin replied: 'Good Son, do not act according to its wickedness but according to your mercy.' At last Christ was overcome by her prayers and said, 'At your wish I will still show mercy; I will send them preachers who will warn them; if they change their ways, fine; otherwise I will not spare them.'"
This is what the venerable old man told us, and in a short while you preachers emerged. So you can hold without doubt that your Order was created through the prayers of the glorious Virgin. So you must be very devoted to this great Order and honour Blessed Mary in a special way.
1.1.4 A religious and trustworthy Franciscan, who for a long time was a companion of St. Francis, told the following story to some of our brothers, and one of them sent it to the Master of our Order: When Blessed Dominic was at Rome striving with God and with the Pope to obtain the confirmation of the Order, one night he was praying as usual and had a vision. Our Lord Jesus Christ was standing in the air and waving three lances against the world. The Virgin Mother fell on her knees and asked him to be merciful to those he had redeemed and to temper his justice with mercy. To this her Son said, "Do you not see how many offenses are committed against me; my justice cannot endure leaving so many evils unpunished." Then his Mother said, "Knowing everything, you must know that there is a way to overcome their resistance: I have a faithful servant. Send him into the world to announce your words; then they will be converted and seek you, the Saviour of all. I will also give him a helper, another servant who will work in a similar way." Then the Son said to his Mother, "Because of you I agree, but show me whom you wish to appoint to this important office." Then the Lady Mother offered Blessed Dominic to the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord told her, "He will do what you said well and conscientiously." She also offered blessed Francis and the Saviour made a similar remark.
In that vision, Blessed Dominic studied his companion, not knowing him before. The next day he found him in the church and recognized him from what he had seen in the night. So he rushed up and embraced him with a holy kiss, saying; "You are my companion; you will run along with me; we will stand together and no enemy will prevail." He then told Francis of his vision and from that moment they became "one heart and one soul" in God. They commanded their descendants to keep the same relationship.
1.2.1 At Portes, a house of the Carthusian order in the diocese of Lyons there was a prior who was so religious that among his brothers he was called Saint Stephen. He received a revelation from the Lord and told his brothers that an order of Preaching Brothers would soon be founded. As he made them aware of this, he earnestly asked and urged them to love and reverence this Order deeply, and that they should devoutly do so by welcoming our brothers as angels of God.
1.2.2 In the province of Arles, the Cistercian Bishop of Orange, because of his piety and virtuous works, was held by all to be a saint of God; moreover he was and outstanding preaching not only in his own diocese but also throughout the whole province. He publicly and frequently predicted the coming of the preachers, saying: "Now I announce the word of God to you, but soon there will come men who will truly preach to you, who will have the office, the knowledge, the life and the name of preachers. Some who heard him making such a prediction are still alive.
1.2.3 Mary of Oignies, in the diocese of Liège, was a woman of outstanding perfection and excellence. Master James of Vitry, a bishop and cardinal, wrote the story of her admirable life. (23) Once she was in rapture and exultation of spirit and, in her great joy, said that very soon the Holy Spirit would visit the Church and enlighten it through his holy preachers. She predicted this ten years before the Order was founded.
1.2.4 In the town of Pisa there was a venerable and very devout woman, a virgin in mind and body, who is said to have been betrothed to Christ with a ring; the ring is kept with devotion in a monastery near Pisa. The people of Lucca and Pisa call her Saint Bona. (24) Among the many things that she predicted was the imminent coming of the Order, as those who heard this from her bore witness.
1.2.5 Also Joachim, (25) the abbot and founder of the Order of Fiore, wrote about the Order of Preachers in many of his books and writings. Describing it and its habit, he urged his brothers to welcome it devoutly when, after his death, it would arise. And so they did: His brothers welcomed the Preaching Brothers in a procession with a cross when they first came to them.
1.2.6 Also the Sibyl seems to have clearly prophesied this order and commended it very eloquently, as is clear when you look at her book.(26)
1.2.7 Saint Hildegard, (27) whose prophecies and sayings Pope Eugene approved and solemnly included in the lives of the saints, spoke to Saint Bernard and an assembly of many cardinals and prelates, giving this prediction: After the age of women, which began in 1100, in 1215 will come the age of men, when strong men will arise. They will prophecy and gather all the words poured out by the Holy Spirit; they will adorn their minds with wisdom, like a necklace of precious stones. Through these and other men very many lay people will become good and live holy lives; this age will last until the age of error, when there will be very many martyrs.
Some studious brothers have gone through the glosses and writings of the saints and noted that they frequently allude to the Order and its task. The following are some examples:
1.3.1 1 Kings 5:1 The king's administrators, each in his turn, provided with great care everything necessary for the table of king Solomon. The Gloss says: "So that nothing may be lacking in the house of the king, the Order of Preachers works by writing and speaking, so that the table of the Lord, where the faithful are nourished, may be full."
1.3.2 1 Kings 10:19 Twelve lions stood on each side of the six steps. The Gloss says: "The twelve lions designate the Order of Preachers, following apostolic teaching. They stand on the six steps on either side, because they strive to reinforce the steps of good works with teaching on the one side and example on the other."
1.3.3 1 Chronicles 20:1-2 At the time of the year when kings go campaigning, Joab led out his army and military force and, having ravaged the Ammonites' territory, proceeded to lay siege to Rabbah. David remained in Jerusalem, while Joab reduced Rabbah and destroyed it. Then David took the crown off Milcom's head. The Gloss says: "Joab began the war; David completed it. For Christ wages war when the Order of Preachers holds the shield of faith against the powerful of the world. But the end of the fight and victory are attributed to Christ, 'who gives you the attention and the powers to act' (Phil 2:13). The crown that he took from the devil he prepared for himself, namely, the faithful who surround him like a crown.'Crown the highland with your rain' (Ps 65:12)."
1.3.4 Esther 2:21 Two of the king's eunuchs, who served as gatemen and lived in the periphery of the palace, plotted to assassinate the king. Mordocai came to hear of this. The Interlineary says about Mardocai: "that is, the Order of Preachers," and the Marginal Gloss says: "The two eunuchs represent schismatics and heretics, who carry around the poison of fraud and malice to plot against the truth, with the aim of taking it away from the faithful and killing Christ, that is, the faith of these faithful in Christ. But the holy doctors expose their iniquity so as to save the innocent and justly punish these evil ones."
1.3.5 Esther 10:2 The high honour to which King Ahasuerus raised Mordecai... The Gloss says: "This is the Order of Preachers before the believers and non-believers."
1.3.6 Song of Songs 7:3 Your navel is a bowl well rounded. Augustine said in the sermon Hodie virginale decus: "What does the bowl mean, but the Order of Preachers, who fill and inebriate the minds of their hearers with the wine of heavenly teaching."
1.3.7 Ecclesiasticus 10:4 He sets the right leader over it (the land) at the right time. The Gloss says: "That is the Order of Preachers."
1.3.8 Ecclesiasticus 38:28 Similarly with the blacksmith sitting by his anvil... The Gloss says: "This is the Order of Preachers, which makes spiritual arms through the hard labour of the present life."
1.3.9 Ecclesiasticus 38:29 Similarly with the potter sitting at his work. The Gloss says: "The Order of Preachers, who carry out their ministry by different tasks, adapt their teaching to their hearers, shaping fragile and weak people by their words and example into vessels of honour."
1.3.10 Ecclesiasticus 50: ...when he took his ceremonial robe and put on perfect virtue (28)... The Gloss says: "The Order of Preachers took the ceremonial robe and put on the perfection of virtue, showing the sign of its dignity: the decor of faith and the robe of good performance."
1.3.11 Jeremiah 38:7 Ebed-Melech the Cushite, a eunuch attached to the palace, heard that Jeremiah had been put into the storage-well... He spoke to the king, saying, "My lord King, these men have done a wicked thing by treating the prophet Jeremiah like this: they have thrown him into the storage well. The Gloss says: "This Cushite, who was touched by fear and love of God and burst into prophecy, stands for Gentile preachers who made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven. By an instinct of true charity they try by their words and example to rescue unjustly oppressed people out of the pit of perdition. This is clear from the name Ebed-Melech, which means 'servant of the king', namely, 'the great King over all the gods' (Ps 95), whom the Order of Preachers serves through the word of the Gospel, bringing the Gentiles to the Faith."
1.3.12 Ezekiel 2:9 There was a hand stretching out to me, holding a scroll. He unrolled it in front of me. Gregory, in Part 1 on Ezekiel says: "Just as the prophet stands for the Order of Preachers, so the book which he received stands for Sacred Scripture. Yet the book is rolled up, because the eloquence of Sacred Scripture is obscure, wrapped in a depth of meaning which is not easily grasped by all. But the book is unrolled before the prophet, meaning that the obscurity of the sacred text is opened before the preachers."
1.3.13 Amos 9:13 The ploughman will catch up with the reaper, and the treader of grapes with the sower of seed. The Gloss says: "By all these is meant the Order of Preachers."
1.3.14 Matthew 4:18 He saw two brothers. The Gloss says: "This shows how he approved of the unity of brotherly love, without which no one is admitted into the Order of Preachers."
1.3.15 Luke 14:17 When the time for the banquet came, he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, "Come along; everything is ready now." The Gloss of Gregory says: "The time for the banquet is the end of the world; thus the apostle Paul says that we are those 'to whom it has fallen to live in the last days of the ages' (1 Cor 10:11). For this purpose the servant, that is the Order of Preachers, is sent to those invited through the Law and the Prophets, telling them to shake off their torpor and get ready to enjoy the banquet."
1.3.16 Bernard says in his sermon on St. Andrew: "The river is the Order of Preachers, not staying in one place, but spreading itself out and running to irrigate different lands."
1.4.1 At the time the church of St. Nicholas in Bologna was given to the Preaching Brothers, a scholar who was well instructed but too given to vanities was converted by this vision: He saw himself in a field with a terrible storm brewing. Fleeing to a certain house, he found it closed. He knocked and asked to be let in, but the owner replied, "I am Justice who live here, and this is my house; because you are not just, you will not enter." Sorrowfully he went away and, finding another house, asked to be let in. The owner of that house said, "I am Truth and cannot welcome you, because truth does not set free anyone who does not love it." He spotted a third house and asked to be let in, but heard, "I am Peace who stay here, but there is no peace for the wicked, but only for men of good will. But because I think thoughts of peace and not of affliction, I will give you some good advice. In the next house lives my sister, who always helps the miserable. Go there and abide by her warnings." He did so, and Mercy, the owner of that house came out to him and said, "If you want to be saved from the storm that is coming, go to St. Nicholas where the Preaching Brothers live, and you will find there the stable of penance, the crib of continence, the food of doctrine, the ass of simplicity with the cow of discretion, Mary giving light, Joseph leading you on and Jesus saving you." He woke up and thought very devoutly about this vision and did what he was advised to do. This story was told in the classroom and later written down in notes by Master Alexander, an honest and truthful man, when he commented on the Psalm verse, "Kindness and fidelity have met" (Ps 85:11). He was a doctor in theology at Bologna for a long time and later was made bishop in England, his homeland. (29)
1.4.2 Brother Ralph was a respectable and God-fearing man and once chaplain of the church of Blessed Nicholas, which he left for love of the Order and became a brother. He reported that before the brothers came to Bologna, a woman, lowly in the world but devout and dear to God, often used to pray on her knees facing a vineyard where the brothers are now; people used to mock her, but she said, "Rather, you are the miserable and stupid ones; if you knew who and what will come here in the future, you would adore God with me on this spot, since those who are coming here will illuminate the whole world."
1.4.3 Brother John of Bologna reported that before the Preaching Brothers came to Bologna, the vine keepers saw much splendid light on the site where the brothers are now.
1.4.4 Brother Clarus testified that when he was a boy with his father, who was respectable and faithful, he passed one day next to the place where the brothers now live and his father told him, "Son, in this place songs of angels are often heard, and that is a great sign of the future." The boy said, "Maybe they are the voices of men enjoying themselves or of the monks of Blessed Proculus." His father answered, "The voices of men are very different from the voices of angels." These words never left his memory.
1.4.5 The house of Strassburg was formerly located in an inconvenient site, outside the city walls in a marsh. Its very necessary transfer to its present excellent site in the city seemed impossible because of opposition and infinite impediments. But God gave some encouraging signs by permitting several respectable persons to show what his almighty hand had decreed soon to do for the consolation of his little ones.
One honest woman dreamt that the site which the brothers hoped to get, and now have, was full of pilgrims. Another woman saw the place filled with most beautiful lilies, so many that they filled the whole site; suddenly the lilies were transformed into Preaching Brothers, lifting their eyes to heaven and together praising the Creator of all with the finest voices.
A third woman, not asleep but awake and dying, predicted three future things which all came true. One of them was that after a few years the Preaching Brothers would obtain a more prominent site, even the best in the city; this woman's name was Verudadis, a woman reputed for her decent life and devotion, the widow of a judge of the city.
1.4.6 In Lombardy, before the brothers had their site in Como, a powerful lady of a heretical sect saw in a vision great lights coming from heaven onto the place where the brothers now live. After a short time the place was given to the brothers. Her seeing this was the occasion for her to be converted to the Faith.
1.4.7 Likewise, during the month before the Preaching Brothers obtained that place, another heretical woman saw in a vision two large vessels on the site, one full of honey and the other full of wine. Some men came on the scene, mixed the two and gave it to the people to drink. When they took this drink they were so happy that they ran about jumping for joy. Later she saw and heard the meaning of the vision, and was converted to the Catholic Faith.
1.4.8 Again, a religious person saw in a dream, on the place where the brothers later lived, a very large and clear fountain, irrigating the whole city, with men and women running eagerly for the water.
1.4.9 Also, as a townsman of Montpellier was dying, he saw in his garden outside the town a most beautiful procession of men in white, and he exclaimed to the people around, "See, my garden is full of respectable men. Make sure you do not throw them out; they have not come to harm but to help. After his death the Preaching Brothers occupied that site and were told the story by those who heard it from the man.
1.4.10 Before we had a convent in Lisbon, our brothers used to preach in the same place where the monastery is now established. Shortly before we put up our convent, some women who lived next to the church of the Blessed Virgin, which is on a hill above our monastery, saw a wonderful vision with their physical eyes. As these women were spinning thread under moonlight, as is their custom in the summer, suddenly they saw the sky open and a ladder of great beauty made of gold and silver come down towards a fig tree, near which I often preached before we had a convent there; one end of the ladder touched the sky and the other the fig tree. Then they saw three men coming down the ladder dressed in gold and silver and magnificently adorned. The first seemed to be a subdeacon, who carried a very beautiful cross in his hands; the second seemed to be a deacon, carrying a thurible, and the third was dressed in priestly vestments. The three came down to earth and went around the whole site of our monastery, incensing it. Then they went to the ladder and went back up to heaven, pulling the ladder with them until it vanished from the women's eyes. All the while the women watched that wonderful drama they never stopped adoring God on their knees. Our brothers saw those women, but I would not believe them until they took me to a holy woman who had been present at the vision, and she told me the whole story. Shortly afterwards, since I was prior, I had a monastery built on that site by the authority of the general and provincial chapters; there our brothers serve the Lord day and night.
1.4.11 Likewise, an honest citizen of Limoges told me that he saw twice in his dreams a most beautiful precession of men in white in the place where the brothers later built their convent. Before the brothers came he told this to a close friend who later became a priest of our Order; from the latter I heard the story.
1.5.1 At the time our Order was like a small flock and a new plant, in the convent at Bologna a temptation of discouragement disturbed the brothers and put them in such a state of dejection that many of them talked among themselves about which orders they should transfer to; they feared that the Order was too new and too weak to survive and would soon collapse. So two of the senior brothers, Theobald of Siena and Nicholas of Campania, obtained documents from Hugh, bishop of Ostia, who was then in Lombardy as papal legate and later became Pope Gregory IX, permitting them to transfer to a Cistercian monastery. When they showed these documents to brother Reginald, formerly dean of Saint Anianus in Orléans and at that time the vicar of Blessed Dominic, he took up the matter in chapter with much sorrow; great weeping then broke out and the temptation to discouragement only became worse. While Brother Reginald lifted his eyes to heaven and talked from his heart to God, in whom he put all his trust, Brother Clarus rose; he was a respectable man of great authority and an expert in civil law as well as having been regent master of arts and canon law, who was later prior provincial of the Roman province and penitentiary and chaplain for the Pope. He spoke to the brothers and gave them many reasons why they should have hope.
He had hardly finished speaking when Master Roland of Cremona arrived. He was then regent master at Bologna and was renowned as an expert in philosophy; later he was the first of the brothers to lecture in theology at Paris. Burning with the spirit of God and fleeing the world, he came wearing his scarlet robe, knocked on the door and went in like a man drunk in the Spirit. Immediately, without any introduction, he asked to be received into the Order. This was all the more surprising, since he had heard the preaching of many brothers, but always resisted the suggestion to enter. But now, inspired by the Lord, he asked of his own accord.
Brother Reginald was so overjoyed that, not having any other habit at hand, he immediately pulled off his own capuce-scapular and put it on him. In the meantime Guala, the sacristan, rang the bell and the brothers sang the Veni Creator, even though they could hardly sing because of the abundance of their tears and their overflowing joy; a great crowd gathered of men, women and students, while the whole town was stirred up. A new devotion came over the brothers and all their former temptation vanished. The two brothers who asked to transfer threw themselves into the middle of the chapter and confessed that they had done wrong; they renounced the documents they had received and promised to persevere in the Order.
The next night the Lord consoled Brother Rudolf who had been overly sad at the brothers' previous disquiet. He had a vision of Christ with Blessed Mary on one side and Blessed Nicholas on the other. Blessed Nicholas put his hand on his head and said, "Do not be afraid, brother, because everything will work out well for you and your Order, with our Lady taking care of you." Then he saw in the river that flows near Bologna a ship full of many brothers, and Blessed Nicholas said to him, "Do you see these brothers? Do not be afraid, because they are so many that they will fill the whole world."
1.5.2 The same brother Ralf reported that one day the wine finished in the jug for the sickfor the healthy mostly drank waterand the infirmarian very compassionately told Blessed Dominic, who was then there, what the sick were lacking. Right away, according to his custom, he turned to prayer and advised the brothers by word and example to do the same. After a while the prior of the house told the infirmarian to take the jug away; they would go through that day somehow. When he came to do what the prior had told him he found it full to the top. So the brothers glorified God, who takes care of his own. (30)
1.5.3 Brother Thierry of Auxerre, of holy memory, who was prior provincial in France, told the story that one day he had nothing to provide the infirmary, and the Paris convent, of which he was prior, was much in debt. The Procurator said that at least 100 pounds were necessary, and the prior thought anxiously about this. Then a trader came to the door, called for him and said, "A prominent person in Greece died and willed you this sum of 100 pounds; take it and pray for him." The prior took it, thanking God, and by this means took care of the immediate needs of the brothers.
1.5.4 The Lady Countess of the town called Anguillara, near Rome, who was very devoted to the Order and a trustworthy woman, told this story herself to the prior of Viterbo: Once two lay brothers, Brother Rainucius of Orvieto and Brother Dominic of Viterbo came to her at one of her towns called Crapalica, near Sutrium on the way to Rome, to ask for alms for the brothers, as is their custom. She had the brothers given a handbag (31) of flour and handed it over to them with her own hands. Out of devotion to the countess, the brothers readily accepted what she offered and, when she went away in the evening, poured it into their own sack and returned home rejoicing, because the brothers were then suffering from great poverty.
In the morning the Countess by chance went to where the flour was kept and found the same bag full of flour. She then became very annoyed at the brothers and within herself indignantly accused them of pride for despising her offering of flour as too little. Then after a few days one of the brothers came back to her, and she dealt with him, rebuking him with stern and sharp words and complaining that they refused to take the flour that she gave. The brother was astonished and sorry at her stern words, but patiently heard her out. He then insisted that he really did take the flour, as was the truth. "How could you have taken it, since I found my sack full of flour?" she said. So the Lady Countess, in all sincerity denying the truth which the brother had affirmed, attacked him all the more.
Finally, after the brother insisted on his story and swore to its truth, she believed him and was fully persuaded that this happened miraculously because of the merits of the Order. To be still more certain of the miracle, she carefully inquired of all her servants and followers whether they brought or saw brought any other flour into her house that evening or morning. In this case it is certain and beyond all doubt that God, who kept the basin of flour undiminished in the time of Elijah the prophet, by his almighty power really filled the empty sack with new and unseen flour, in order to preserve and increase the devotion and piety of this Countess. Prior Rudolf heard of this miracle both from the Countess herself and from Brother Dominic.
1.5.5 Another time, Brother John of Columna, prior provincial of the Preaching Brothers of the Roman province and later bishop of Messina, went to the same town of Crapalica to stay as a guest of the same Countess. She was quite delighted to welcome such an important guest and quickly went to her strongbox to take the money she wanted to spend for supper. As she hurried there, the enemy of hospitalityno doubt the devilput an obstacle in her way, since she looked for the key to the box and could nowhere find it. Despairing altogether of finding the key, she tried a small key, so small that it was completely unfit to open the lock. This faithful mother of the Order, who had welcomed her guest with his companions who needed to be looked after, turned the key, and right away the strongbox, which contained a talent, opened wide. One can piously and faithfully believe that she did so not by the help of the material key, since it was totally useless, but the help of Him who closes and no one opens, opens and no one closes. To confirm that the box did not open because of the little key, she was unable ever before or after to open the box with that key.
1.5.6 Brother Henry of Germany reported that in the early days of the Order two brothers were travelling and still fasting after the hour of None (3:00 P.M.); they began to ask where they could eat in a poor land that was very strange to them. Suddenly a big man dressed as a pilgrim came up and said, "What are you talking about among yourselves, you of little faith? First seek the kingdom of God, and everything will be added to you. You believed in God and left all things for his sake; now you are afraid that he will leave you unfed. Here is a sign for you: Cross this field and in the next valley you will find a small village. Go into the church and the priest will invite you; then a soldier will come and violently tear you away from him; while they are piously arguing, the patron of the church will come and provide abundantly for you, the priest and the soldier. Therefore, always trust in the Lord and make your brothers trust in the Lord by this example." After he had said this he suddenly disappeared. Everything happened to them as he predicted. When they returned to Paris they told everything to Brother Henry and the few very poor brothers who were there.
1.5.7 When their convent was founded, the brothers of Mâcon suffered much persecution from Guillaume de Saint Amour, a canon of Mâcon, which forced them to lead a bitter life of extreme poverty and dejection. They were especially disturbed by heavy debts which they could not pay. Then an older brother of the Order reputed for holiness saw in a dream King Louis of France and the Lord Cardinal Hugh of St. Chers talking in a corner of the dormitory about the relief of that house. And so it happened that after a short while the one from Italy and the other from France each sent 200 pounds as alms to the brothers. This enabled them to pay off their debts completely. Afterwards their situation became more comfortable and they lived in greater consolation.
1.5.8 Brother Bernard, once prior at Auxerre, told the story that in its beginnings the convent was in great need and he could not find advice or help anywhere. He turned to the Lord, devoutly asking him to help and direct him. Then a canon of the church of Auxerre, an important and very wealthy man, entered the Order and brought much of his wealth with him into the Order, relieving the brothers of their previous straits.
1.5.9 There was a Cistercian monk (32) in Tuscany in the monastery of St. Galganus near the Siena, of great simplicity, grace and fame, because of which he was frequently called to the Roman Curia. The Lord used to reveal many things to him and frequently appeared to him. One day two brothers came to his place and asked him to pray to the Lord for them and for the whole Order of Preaching Brothers. He was praying to the Lord after Matins and, being simple and devout, did not know what particularly to ask for the brothers. The Lord then appeared to him, saying, "Brother James, take these prayers and say them for the Preaching Brothers:
OPENING PRAYER: Lord, illumine the hearts of your servants with the grace of the Holy Spirit, give them fiery eloquence, and to those who preach your word grant an increase of virtue. Through Christ our Lord.
PRAYER OVER GIFTS: Lord, endow your servants with gracious speech. As you sanctify the gifts we offer, we ask you to visit their hearts with your salvation. Through Christ our Lord.
POST-COMMUNION: Lord, preserve your servants who have received the body and blood of your only Son, and give the heralds of your word an abundance of grace. Through the same Christ our Lord.
The Pope approved these prayers and allowed them to be said in Mass. (33)
1.5.10 Two brothers of the house of Magdeburg in Germany were sent on a mission by their prior. After travelling some time they began to be unsure of the road and there was no one around to ask. The elder of the two looked up and saw a kite flying and said, "I tell you, kite, by the power of the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, show us the way we should take. Right away the kite sped down from on high and flew close to the earth, diverting them from the road where they were sitting to another road on the right. It then disappeared behind the tall crops. So they got up, thanking God for directing his servants.
1.5.11 The Lord appeared in a dream to the religious and venerable Lord Abbot Eberhart, of the Cistercian Order in Germany, saying, "Tomorrow I will send my horses to you and you will put iron shoes on them for me." He woke up and did not know the meaning of this message. The next day two brothers came to that monastery, one of them Brother John of Wildeshausen, later the fourth master of our Order. Since the Order was unknown in that place, the abbot asked them about their order and why they were carrying books and staffs and wearing a different habit. Brother John replied beautifully about each of these, and explained the different horses of the Lord described in the prophecy of Zechariah, (34) showing that they were of different kinds and strong, ready to run through the world. He also said that the Lord permitted his preachers only one staff, and that is the Blessed Virgin Mary, in whom they trusted, or the cross which they preached. The abbot then fell down at their feet and devoutly kissed them, saying, "You are truly the horses of the Lord whom he promised me." Right away he washed their feet and had new shoes and clothes brought to them; from then on he became an intimate friend and great benefactor of the Order.
1.5.12 In Rome on Easter Sunday, the prior provincial was celebrating the principal Mass in the brothers' church with the brothers assisting. A devout man said that he saw four very beautiful youths standing at the four angles of the altar and holding a very white linen cloth above the altar until all had received communion.
1.5.13 In the same convent there was a very fervent novice who was praying beside his bed one night while the brothers were asleep and suddenly heard a sound like that of people walking through the dormitory. Looking up, he saw three men who looked like brothers; one carried a cross, the second a pot of holy water, while the third went with a sprinkler and sprinkled each cell. The novice thought it was the prior, who usually sprinkles the brothers this way; so he hurried into bed, covering himself so that he would seem to be asleep like the others. The visitors came to his cell and sprinkled him like the others, but one of them said to another, "We are expelling them from the dormitory; who will expel them from the other rooms?" The other replied, "There are many more sent by the Lord who go through other rooms expelling the adversaries." After saying this, they went away. The novice said nothing about this for several months, thinking that it was the prior of the house with his servers who did this. After he saw nothing like this happen again, he revealed it to his master, and at his command told the whole story to many brothers throughout the Order.
1.5.14 A very religious brother, who told us the following story, was sent with an elder brother to preach in the diocese of Tuscany. In the evening they came to the town called Columna and were brought to a hospice which was full of rough farmers. The brother reflected on the poverty, work and harshness of the Order and their miseries while travelling, and became discouraged. He became so sad that he got into his narrow poor bed with tears. Then the Lord Jesus appeared to him in a dream and said, "Get up, brother, and listen to what I have to say." He got up and was trembling as he saw behind Christ a brother with a staff in his hand, as brothers have on the road; he had entered the Order that year and this brother had left him healthy at Rome when he set out. The Lord Jesus Christ told him, "I took this brother to myself from your convent and led him along with me; but you will live a long time and have much to suffer working for me. So be strong and take courage in all your labour, since I will come and take you into my company, just as I did this brother." After saying this, Jesus went away with much splendour, taking the other novice with him. The brother told his companion what he saw, and when they returned to the convent they found that on the very day of the vision the novice in question had finished this present life with much devotion.
1.5.15 In the convent of Naples, a brother was seriously tempted to leave the Order. Then it seemed to him he was standing in choir with the brothers, who were all wearing white stoles and loudly singing the responsory "Do not abandon us, holy Father." (35) The Lord said to him, "I do not abandon you, son, but you are abandoning me." The brother woke up, finding himself consoled; he thanked God and persevered firmly in the Order.
1.5.16 Two brothers of the convent of Würzburg in Germany went out to preach. Coming to a river, they saw a boat on the other side with no one in it; they observed that all the people were gathered in the church, since it was a feast day. Since there was no one to carry them across, one of them said to the boat, "Come here, boat! Come here in the name of Christ whom we desire to preach." Right away it obeyed Christ and came, with no one rowing, even though the river had a fast current. They entered it and found no oar; then a girl about eight years old came running from the top of a hill, carrying an oar over her shoulder; she brought them across and immediately vanished. Thanking God, the brothers preached the word of the Lord to the thirsting people.
1.5.17 Brother Roland of Cremona, the master of theology mentioned above, once was suffering from extreme arthritis in the knee. It was so bad that it seemed as if his nerves were being pulled out by iron hooks, and he cried out loud, "Lord God, where is the word of your Apostle, who said, 'God is faithful and will not let you be put to the test beyond your strength' (1 Cor 10:13)? I am failing and cannot endure it any more." Right away all the pain went away. The same brother told the story to the Master of the Order.
1.6.1 In the early days of the Order a brother was commanded to go to the Cumans (36) to help in their conversion. He was gravely disturbed at this assignment and asked a hermit friend of his, who was a true friend of God, to pray to the Lord for him, since he could hardly believe that such an assignment was useful for him.
The following night that pious and holy man prayed to the Lord with the greatest affection for him. The Lord showed him this consoling vision: He seemed to see a large river with a bridge over it, and men of different religious orders going over it happily, but one by one. The Preaching Brothers did not go over the bridge, but swam across the river, each of them dragging a vessel full of men. When some of them began to fail because of the excessive labour, he saw the Blessed Mary helping and lifting them up with her kind hand, so that they crossed by her help. After they crossed the river, he saw them with those they had carried in a most pleasant place, rejoicing with unspeakable joy.
The hermit told this vision to the brother; strengthened very much by it, he fulfilled his assignment, clearly recognizing that brothers who work for the salvation of men have heavier but more fruitful work to do than other religious who work for their own salvation. This work is full of unspeakable joy and in it they have the Blessed Virgin as their special helper.
1.6.2 An English brother named John was heavily burdened with a job he was given to do. Afraid of danger to himself, he turned to our Lady and prayed with all his heart. As he kept praying earnestly, once the Mother of Mercy appeared to him and said, "Do not be afraid, brother, but "be strong; let your heart take courage" (Ps 27:20); wait a short while, and the office with which you are burdened will merit you a crown."
1.6.3 A brother who is very trustworthy told the story that when he entered the Order he found everything contrary to his constitution and habits; he became thin with hunger and misery and, for fear of the hard bed and fleas, he could not sleep. The prior felt sorry for his condition and sent him out with a preacher to see whether in this way he would find some relief for his disgust. Aching in body and discouraged in soul from the labourious travel he was not used to and from other causes, he cried out in tears: "O most Blessed Virgin, I entered this Order to serve you and your Son; and now, just as I am beginning, I am failing. Give me, Lady, the strength to follow my brother and stay in the Order." Right away he felt a most sweet dew coming over him. He got up and ran quickly after his brother; from then on he was healthy, strong and happy to bear everything that before he could not face. He now bore it willingly and lovingly, strengthened by the dew of heaven, which is the merits of the Blessed Virgin, and finished his career with joy.
1.6.4 In Lombardy there was a woman who led a solitary life and was very devoted to our Lady. Hearing that a new Order of Preachers had arisen, she desired with all her heart to see some of them. It happened that Brother Paul and a companion were going through those parts preaching. When they stopped at her house and spoke to her about divine things, as the brothers customarily do, she asked what order they belonged to. They said that they belonged to the Order of Preachers. Seeing that they were young, handsome and properly dressed, she despised them, thinking that such people who run around the world cannot live chastely for long.
The next night she saw the Blessed Virgin standing near her, scowling as she said, "Yesterday you gravely offended me. Believe me, don't you think that I can guard my young men who are running through the world for the salvation of souls? To let you know that I have taken them under my special care, I will show you those whom you despised yesterday." She lifted her cloak and showed her a large multitude of brothers, including those she had despised. As a result, the recluse repented and loved the brothers from her heart, and told this story throughout the Order.
1.6.5 A subprior of the brothers at Paris who was exhorting them to say the office of the Blessed Virgin more devoutly, told them this story in chapter: An old and learned religious brother of the Carthusian Order was very devoted to the Blessed Virgin and often fervently asked her to teach him how he might serve her satisfactorily.
One day when he was praying in the church, he saw the Blessed Virgin sitting before the altar. Going up shaking with reverence, he begged her with tears to teach him how to do what was pleasing to her. She looked at him and laughed, "What you do for a friend do for me, if you want to serve my wishes." But he said, "What, Lady?" She answered, "A friend is loved, praised and honoured." Prostrating on the ground, he said, "Lady, teach me to praise, love and honour you." As he was shedding tears, she answered, "Go to the brothers and they will teach you." He said, "Lady, there are brothers of many orders; to which of them are you sending me?" She said, "Go to the Preaching Brothers, since they are my brothers, and they will teach you." For this reason he came with some members of his order to Paris, telling the story to the same subprior and begging to be taught.
1.6.6 Brother Bene of Lombardy was very strongly tempted to leave the Order, and cried with tears to the Blessed Virgin: O Lady, you helped me in the world, but now you are abandoning your servant. Suddenly the Blessed Mother appeared to him, laughing a little and consoling him.
Another night he had a vision of himself being carried out of the cloister by two men, and he shouted out in fear, "O Lady, protect me now and give me the grace of preaching for my salvation and that of others." Blessed Mary replied, "Gladly." He himself wrote this to the Master of the Order.
1.6.7 Brother Raoul of Romea man of outstanding holiness, much given to fasting, vigils and prayers, who was zealous for souls and famous in Romeoften told the brothers this story:
A brother was awake in his cell and saw the Blessed Virgin accompanied by some saints. After the brothers had gone to bed, she went through the dormitory blessing the brothers. One evening, while she was walking through, blessing as usual, he saw her pass by the cell of one brother, putting the hem of her cloak over her face.
He noted which cell it was and the next day called the brother and asked him how he was, warning him to keep from every offence and negligence, and told him what he had seen. He found in him nothing blameworthy, why he should have missed the blessing of the Blessed Virgin, except that because of the intense heat he had taken off his stockings and loosened his belt so that he could uncover his shoulders. (37) This brother had been too pampered in the world. When he stopped this practice, the other brother saw him with the rest of the brothers receiving a blessing from the Blessed Virgin. It is believed that the brother who told the story is the very one who saw this vision. (38)
1.6.8 Brother Gerard of Florence is said to have heard that Brother Martin of Padua, whose reputation for holiness shone all over Lombardy, was a number of times consoled by a similar vision. He was such an excellent man that greater stories than these could credibly be accepted from him.
1.6.9 Some of the masters of the University of Paris were stirring up serious trouble against the brothers, and the brothers did not know what to do. A general chapter (39) then ordained that, every week in each convent throughout the whole Order, the brothers should prostrate and recite the seven penitential Psalms with the litany and prayers of the Blessed Virgin and Blessed Dominic, for relief from the persecution. In the convent of Rome there was a devout brother who began to doze while the brothers were reciting the litany. He then saw the Lord Jesus Christ sitting above the altar cloth, and the Blessed Virgin next to him. With one hand she held his arm and with the other pointed to the brothers, prostrating and praying to him, and said, "Answer them! Answer them!" The same brother told this to the Master of the Order who was then in Rome. It is credible that the Blessed Virgin interceded and obtained for the Order what they asked, since shortly afterwards Pope Alexander IV issued a sentence in favour of the Order in the dispute it had with the University. Had the Order lost this case, it would have suffered great damage.
1.6.10 A scholar from Flanders, hearing a sermon preached in Paris, was touched and entered the Order of Preachers. At the beginning of his novitiate God's kindness nourished him with great sweetness and peace of heart, since during holy meditations he was fired with great devotion and received abundant consolations from the Lord. But, perhaps to keep him from being puffed up in the future by the greatness of God's consolation, the Lord permitted him to be poked by temptation. He was so overcome by the temptation to leave the Order that, with no consideration of the salvation of his soul, he planned to get out by any means. One evening after Compline, while the brothers were saluting the Queen of mercy by singing the Salve Regina and the brothers devoutly prostrated themselves in prayer before the altars, this brother, wandering in heart, went through the cells trying to find a way of sneaking out. Unable to find a way, he decided to go through the door and slug the porter if he tried to oppose him. On his way to the door he crossed in front of the altar of the Blessed Virgin and genuflected as usual before her image, saying the Hail Mary. When he tried to get up, divine power held him so immobile that he could in no way leave that spot. He tried again and again to get up, using all his might to move but, like someone bound by chains, he was forced to stay there. Realizing this, he came to his senses and recognized the mercy of God and his Virgin Mother towards him. He blamed himself strongly and firmly decided to be faithful thereafter. With the firm intention of remaining, he got up without difficulty, told his former state of will in confession, and later lived a long and praiseworthy life in the Order.
1.6.11 A trustworthy brother from a noble family, but more noble in character, told a story about himself to the Master of the Order. When he was new in the Order, he was so seriously tempted that he decided to leave. While he was already on the way, but still in the house, he remembered that he did not take permission from our Lady, to whom he had a special devotion. So he hurried into the church, came before her image and said, "O my Lady, I can no longer bear the rigor of this Order. So I come to take your permission to go, and I commend myself to you." Immediately he was attacked by such a strong fever that he could not stand on his feet, but fell before the very altar. The brothers who came by and saw him in this distress carried him to the infirmary; after many days he was cured in body and confirmed in his vocation.
1.6.12 Brother Bartholomew, who was studying at our house at Leipzig, told the following story to Brother Albert, the prior provincial of Germany: A lender was trying to recuperate five silver marks from Brother John, the prior of Leipzig in Germany and pestered him hard. The prior asked a delay at least to Vespers, so that he could deliberate with the brothers how he could avoid forfeiting his pledged goods. The brothers sat down with the prior but could not offer any suggestions. Then the porter came and told the prior, "Some matron who seems very noble is standing at the door asking for you. Attend to her as quickly as possible." When the prior came he found a very decently appearing lady, very gracious and respectable in her dress and look. She immediately offered him five silver marks, saying, "Take this for the meantime, until the Lord gives you more." When the prior asked from whom this providential gift came from, she answered, "Don't bother, but thank God, the giver of all good things." Then the prior went back joyfully to the brothers and showed them how God provided for them through some matron, letting them see the weight of silver. Later the prior was sorry that he did not inquire more carefully who this lady was; so he send boys through the streets to inquire and she could nowhere be found, nor was anything known of her. Then the brothers piously suspected that Blessed Mary must have done it.
1.6.13 When the brothers of Limoges proposed to change locality because of the unsuitability of the former place, neither by gift nor by loan could they find the money to complete payment for the new site which they bought. The prior and the procurator went around all day to rich people and friends without getting anything. In the evening the tired and anxious prior was asking what he could do, when an respectable and learned brother answered, "Look, dearest prior, the brothers are asking our Lady for Jesus to show himself to them. It was Friday, and after a solemn Compline they were singing the Salve Regina, when the prior was touched and said to that brother, "I am looking for the amount of 6,000 solida from this Lady of ours through Jesus Christ her blessed Son." In the morning, while the brothers were solemnly celebrating the Mass of the Blessed Mother and Virgin, the chaplain of the church of Dille, a noble, respectable and educated man, arrived. After Matins he and his companions had ridden horseback from his church ten leagues, I believe stirred up by the Blessed Virgin. After Mass, when he heard of the anxiety of the prior, he asked the brothers to gather in chapter. He told the assembly, "Dearest brothers, you bought a new site, but you have no patron nor found anyone to pay the debt. So Blessed Mary, whom you praise night and day, will be your patron, and I, her servant, will pay for the place on her behalf." After he took some refreshment, he returned to his church the same day; the next day sent on his own horse 6,000 Tours-solida to the brothers, who glorified God and our Lady.
1.6.14 The Cistercian monk from St. Galganus, who was mentioned above, once was visiting the convent of the brothers at Pisa and eating with them in the refectory. But he took very little. After the meal a brother asked him, "Jameswhich was the monk's namewhy did you eat so little or almost nothing, when the brothers had a good feast today?" He answered, "Brother, believe me, I have never eaten better in my whole life." But the brother could not understand why he said this and asked with wonder, "How is that? I saw that you ate very little." The monk then explained his statement: "I have never eaten better today because I have never had such a waiter as you have. For I saw very clearly the Blessed Virgin Mary our Lady waiting on the brothers and putting out all the dishes for the brothers. I was so well refreshed by this that for joy of spirit I could eat little or nothing.
1.6.15 The same monk of St. Galganus mentioned above told that sometimes he saw the Blessed Virgin Mary holding an open book before a brother while he was preaching; very great fruit came from that preaching.
1.6.16 Once a brother had prepared his sermon in the usual way, but at the last minute changed the subject and preached about something else which he had not thought of, and he did much better. The same monk was present and saw, as he later told, the Blessed Virgin standing in front of him with an open book, dictating to him each word. Those who heard him and the brother himself were convinced that he preached a better, more fervent and helpful sermon than he had done for a long time. Therefore he so loved the Order that he said he wished all respectable clerics of the Cistercian and other orders were in the Order of Preachers to work for the salvation of souls. So he frequently followed the brothers, earnestly praying for them, as was said above.
1.6.17 A brother who was elected prior of a convent in Tuscany tried to escape the burden of this office. He went to see the monk James, who was his good friend, and asked him to pray for him to the Lord and his most kind Mother. The next night, while he was absorbed with God he saw, has he himself told, the Blessed Virgin ready to travel to the town where our brother was elected conventual prior. He humbly asked our Lady where she was going, and she said, "I am going to that convent to take care of the brothers who up to now do not have a prior." The next day the holy man told this to our brother, who was moved to accept the office, trusting in the help of the glorious Blessed Virgin.
1.6.18 The same blessed man told how one night, when he was praying near a window in Viterbo, he saw outside the walls of the city a procession of men dressed in white with many lamps, going to the place where the brothers' house now is. He could see the persons distinctly and hear their voices. In their midst he saw a lady of high rank to whom all showed reverence. She was given a seat on the spot where the altar of the brothers now is, and another venerable lady came up with her hair dishevelled and dress torn; falling at the feet of our Lady, she said with tears, "My Lady, help me win against my adversaries." Our Lady answered, "Why ask me? You will shortly see a wonderful victory over them." And the vision disappeared. After a few days a plot that some important men had schemed against the Order was aborted by the Lord by means of a miserable accident.
1.6.19 An elder reputable brother in the Order told that when the brothers were saying the Matins of the office of the Blessed Virgin, he saw our Lady herself, accompanied by two little girls, saying at the door of the dormitory, "Energetically, my strong men!" He told this to his superior so he would encourage the brothers to love the Blessed Virgin and say her office more devoutly.
1.6.20 In the convent of Orvieto in Tuscany a religious brother who was sick received the sacraments of the Church and was approaching the end, when he began fixing his eyes on a certain spot with a trembling look. His nurse observed this and said, "Brother, for God's sake, tell me what you are seeing; if it is good I will be happy with you, but if it is evil I may be able to help you." After the nurse's strong insistence the sick brother broke out in a word of desperation, as if all that he had done in the Order was lost. The nurse was terrified, thinking that he was being attacked by "the devil that attacks at midday" (40) (Ps 91:6), began to console him saying, "The devil is a liar and the father of lies" (Jn 8:44). He also told him to invoke the help of the Blessed Virgin, the patron of our Order. He not only advised him, but compelled him by his insistence to say that very useful verse, "Mary, Mother of grace..." (41) Amazingly, as soon as he finished this prayer he was filled with joy, and with a calm mind and wonderfully relaxed face said, "O Brother, didn't you see Blessed Mary, our fighter and defender, bravely throwing out the mob of demons that were frightening me?" Then, before the assembled brothers, he confessed the desperation he had been in, very devoutly recited the Creed and the Te Deum, and slept in the Lord.
1.6.21 In the same convent there was a lay brother of good character who always avoided laziness and took on many jobs. During his last illness, he said that one night he saw the Blessed Virgin going through the infirmary with some little girls holding buckets and everything necessary for washing. The brother humbly asked our Lady what she wanted to do and she said, "I have come to wash the brothers from that whole scandal." For there was an apostate from the Order who was so full of the devil that he defamed the brothers all over the city and country not only by words, but also by many letters that he maliciously wrote and sent to rivals of the brothers. The brothers were so full of pain that they could hardly breath. From that moment the scandal was ended with the capture of that lying apostate, who confessed that he had falsely and maliciously invented the stories he had told.
1.6.22 In a town of the diocese of Metz a respectable woman gave birth to a monster whose body had no human likeness. At the sight of it, all who were present, the obstetricians and many other noble women, were greatly horrified and felt very sorry for the woman. When she saw them whispering and not congratulating her, she knew that something had gone wrong and asked, "Give it to me quickly, no matter what sort of child it is or however it looks, since God should be praised in good times and bad." They gave it to her with tears and she took it, saying, "Go and sleep now, because you are all tired, and let me rest a little."
While the women were sleeping, she began to speak with tears to Blessed Mary: "Oh, oh, oh! Lady, you are the Queen of mercy; why did you spurn the prayers of my miserable self? Did I not always ask you to show me favour in childbirth?" After saying these and similar words, she dozed off and saw the Blessed Virgin coming to her with two young girls, one of them carrying a burning candle and the other a pix with oil. Then the Blessed Virgin took the deformed child, put its body into beautiful shape and placed it next to its mother, and left next to the infant a little curved staff for carrying it.
The mother immediately woke up and exclaimed for joy, "Thank you, Mother of mercy, for consoling me." The other women rushed up and, amazed, gave praise to God. Then the mother dedicated the boy, praying that he would become a secular cleric, and she carefully kept the staff. The boy went to school and was sent to Paris. There he was received into the Order by Master Jordan of holy memory, and after a time was sent by him to the house of Trevere. He visited his parents and they joyfully welcomed him. Then his mother first understood the meaning of the staff that the Mother of God had given her. The brother became a very grace-filled preacher, since he was destined and made to be so by the very one who is full of grace.
1.6.23 In the convent of Le Puy en Velai in Provence, Brother Peter was close to death. As his brothers gathered around him to pray, he began to bow his head reverently, join his hands and very devoutly salute the most Blessed Virgin. His brothers around him said, "Why are you doing this, brother?" and he said, "Do you not see our Lady, who has graciously visited me?" And thus he died in the Lord.
1.6.24 In the convent of Montpellier Brother Leo of Denmark was seriously ill and was visited by a brother very dear to him. He told his visitor: Last night I saw a most pleasant vision which gave me much consolation. I saw the glorious Virgin come to me and saying, "Do you want to come with us?" When I asked her, "Who are you, Lady?" she answered, "I am the Mother of God." I told her, "Lady, I do not believe that you are the Mother of God, because I am a most vile sinner and it is not fitting for such a Lady to come to such a little person." When she repeated, "I am the Mother of God," I looked at my unworthiness and expressed my doubt again. She answered, "Do not doubt, Son, for I am the Mother of Christ." I said, "Lady, if you are the Mother of God, I want to go with you." The same day around Vespers the brother died.
1.6.25 Brother Henry of Germany, a religious man of great reputation and an excellent preacher, told in a public sermon at Paris that a brother of great purity and very devoted to our Lady, while in death's agony, became amazingly joyful in heart and face. When Brother Henry asked him the reason for such joy, while most others are almost horrified and afraid of death, he answered, "When I was in school I used to say Matins of the office of the Blessed Virgin and then say the prayer of Blessed Nicholas and Blessed Catherine; I continued this practice when I entered the Order. One day I saw Blessed Catherine leading me to a very beautiful place and telling me, 'This is my resting place forever' (Ps 132:14). I was overcome by the beauty of the place, but Blessed Nicholas came and led me to a more beautiful place and said, 'This is my resting place forever.' While I was stupified by the beauty of the place, the Blessed Virgin took me to another place, saying, 'This is my resting place forever.' Looking at the supreme beauty of the place, I said, 'Lady, I do not deserve such a wonderful place.' She answered, 'But I have prepared this place for you and your brothers the Preachers, and have obtained it from my Son.' For this reason I am looking forward to death with joy and am eager to go to that place which the Queen of heaven so kindly prepared and showed to me.
1.6.26 After the death of Frederick II and his son Conrad, (42) the Roman Curia moved to Naples, and some prelates so stirred up the Pope against the brothers and the Order that he decided six cases against the brothers, forbidding them to follow their previous practice in these matters. (43) His heart became so adamant on this that he could not be moved by prayers, reasons or in any way. He had his decisions read in audience and gave many copies of them to agents who wanted to have them.
The brothers who were at the Curia, myself included, were in a terrible fix and overcome by desolation and sadness. One brother there of great authority had upheld the Order's cause in these and other serious questions of constitution and practice, but even he was in such desperation that he could not think of any way out. One day, while the convent was at table, he turned to that singular refuge, the glorious Virgin, and kneeling before her altar and image, recommended the Order to her and, with many tears and feeling in his heart, asked her to help them in such a desperate situation. The special Patron of the Order answered, "This hour it will be liberated." News quickly came to the brothers that something was happening, and shortly afterwards the Order was delivered from this problem. (44)
1.6.27 A novice, who was very devoted to our Lady and fervent regarding what pertains to the life of our Sacred Order, once was praying after Matins. In the very fervour of his prayer he began to sleep and saw a most beautiful lady standing behind him. She came up and held his shoulders. When he saw that a woman was touching him, he cried with holy fear, "My God, how do women come here at this hour?" But she comforted him with a smooth and light voice, showing him who she was, and then invited him to say the hours of the office of our Lady with her. He agreed and began with Prime, saying, "Hail Mary, full of grace..," while she replied to everything. To the novice her voice seemed so smooth and devout as she said her part that his heart was ablaze, especially when she said the responsories after the readings. When they came to None, and after the reading she said, "God chose her..," the novice's whole spirit was absorbed in God. When the vision disappeared, he remained so carried away in his mind that even outwardly his face could not hide his joy. While he was dressing as acolyte for Mass, this exultation was so noticeable in his face that a fellow novice rebuked him, but to no avail; so this novice took his place as acolyte. Later, this novice was anxious to know what had happened to him, since so much joy seemed out of his character; after much pressure he gave in and told him what he saw, asking him to tell no one about it. That joy of mind and face remained with him for a long time.
1.6.28 (45)In the convent of Palencia in the kingdom of Castile there was a brother long in the Order, named Ferdinand Didam. He was fervent in preaching, dedicated to hearing confessions, zealous for souls and assiduous at prayer. When Pope Innocent IV issued decrees greatly inhibiting our preaching and hearing of confessions, he was disturbed and tortured by great pain, so that he sweated much while praying.
After a long time at prayer one night, he became tired and slept. In a dream he saw smashing lightning bolts with terrible thunder, such that it seemed the world was falling apart. Thinking he was surely going to die, he simply prayed to the Lord for his spirit. As he prayed, the dangerous storm stopped. Then, looking up, he saw an army of evil spirits coming in the air; they came on horses, riding from west to east and waving their spears with a deafening sound, ready to give battle. He then looked to the east and saw the Son of God coming in the air with a multitude of armed angels on armoured horses going against the devil army. At the head of the army there were beautiful standards; one of them was the holy cross, on which was written 'Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews". This cross was so splendid that it lighted up the whole world. The Son of God left the army and came down to Brother Ferdinand, who fell to the ground in wonder at such condescension on the part of God. The Lord touched him and said, "Do not be afraid to come to me." He did so with great reverence, and the Lord said, "Tell the brothers that they should serve God with dedication and not dispute with the clergy, but bear everything patiently; for they will soon be consoled. Those who were limiting their preaching and hearing of confessions have already been overcome."
Brother Ferdinand then said, "Lord, is this a vision or an illusion?" "What you saw is true." "Lord, will you receive me after my death?" "You will be with me always from the day that you leave this world." After all this the brother, who had woken up, slept again. Then the Blessed Virgin appeared to him and said, "Where did you merit that my son Jesus should come to you?" He then stayed there full of joy until the bell was rung for Matins. This vision took place on the feast of Saint Albin, the first of March; after a short time a letter came with the news that the decrees of Innocent IV were revoked.
Brother Ferdinand told of this vision to a lecturer and some other brothers. As he was nearing death, the lecturer asked him whether the vision he had narrated was authentic. He answered, "It was as I described to you."
From these examples it is very clear what great and special care the Blessed Virgin has for the brothers of this Order, whether they are preaching, travelling, working, sick, dying, eating, afflicted, persecuted, or at prayer.
1.7.1 The rival of good people, the devil, who was not afraid to attack the Lord of the universe, was being defeated by the brothers, especially at Bologna and Paris. So he attacked them there personally and through his satellites. Those who were there say that he showed himself to one brother as a burning furnace falling on him, to another under the form of a delicate woman embracing him, to another as an ass with horns, to another as a fiery serpent; others he mocked and beat. Because these evil appearances and demonic harassments were so bad, the brothers were forced to take turns keeping vigil at night over the others who were resting. Besides, some fell into frenzy or were otherwise horribly tormented. (46)
The brothers had recourse to their singular hope, the most powerful and loving Mary, and in her honour added after Compline a solemn procession with the Salve Regina and its prayer. Immediately, the appearances fled and those who were tormented were cured. A brother who was tormented by a demon at Bologna and another brother, the son of a king, who had gone insane at Paris, were fully delivered, and from then on everything began to go well for the Order. The crowds of people, the devotion of the clergy, the sweet tears, pious sighing and wonderful visions all show how pleasing to God and his Mother is this procession. As the brothers went out of choir to the altar of the Virgin, many saw, as they told the brothers, the Virgin herself with a multitude of heavenly citizens coming from heaven above. While the brothers invoked her with the words O dulcis Maria, she would bend over likewise to bless them, and as they went away she would go back to heaven with her entourage.
1.7.2 At Marseille there was a devout lady from Lombardy. One day, while attending the Compline of the brothers, she was touched with unusual devotion; caught up in spirit as the Salve Regina was intoned, she saw four wonderful things, which she told us of with great devotion: While the brothers sang spes nostra salve, she saw the very Queen of mercy sweetly greeting them in return; while they sang eia ergo advocata nostra, she saw her falling down before her Son and praying for the brothers; while they continued with illos tuos misericordes oculos ad nos converte, she saw her turning to the brothers with a joyful, innocent look. Then, as they sang et Jesum benedictum... she saw her as a young woman holding her Son and showing him with great joy to the community and each brother in particular. The woman told all this to her confessor, who was a mature and discrete brother; though a lay woman, she talked distinctly and with many tears.
1.7.3 Brother Jordan, of holy memory, the second Master of this Order, wrote in a booklet he compiled on the beginning of the Order, a story that a holy and truthful man told him: While the brothers sang eia ergo advocata nostra, he often saw Blessed Mary herself falling before her Son and devoutly praying for the spread and preservation of the Order.
1.7.4 In the territory of Avignon, on the river Rhone, there is the noble town of Tarasconne, where Blessed Martha, the host of Christ, venerably rests. In this town a woman who used to host the brothers, the mother of the soldier Sir Alphan, was very devoted to God and the Order. The following was revealed to her, according to letters of the venerable, honest and learned man Lord Guy Fulk, who was later bishop of Puy and then archbishop of Narbonne, (47) as we quote:
To the religious fathers and lords, the prior and Preaching Brothers of Montpellier, health and peace from Guy Fulk. On the holy day of Pentecost, while the general chapter of your Order was being celebrated here, (48) my sister, once Lady Mary of Tarasconne, wanted to see such a famous and such a joyful gathering of holy men, and went down to visit friends and relatives in the village of St. Gilles for the fifteen days before the feast. As she met with many women who were edified by her conversation and example, she began anxiously to inquire from many of them how often they said the Lord's prayer or greeted the Mother of the Lord so that the Lord would send his Spirit on the brothers gathered in chapter, and she extorted as many prayers as she could from each of them. The holy devotion of this woman was praiseworthy, but her prudence was more wonderful, since she judged that it would not satisfy her to use the powers of her inheritance to offer temporal assistance to the many needs of the brothers, but she must engage in a new but praiseworthy kind of business, respectable begging, as she gathered the benefits of a spiritual subsidy. She knew that it would be impossible for the prayers of many not to be heard by Him "who is faithful in his words" (Ps 145:13) and promised he would be with the gathering of his faithful, pouring out the treasures of his kindness on many who intercede in unison.
When I came to Montpellier with my sister on Pentecost day and the office of such a solemnity was being celebrated in your church, she prostrated on the ground, as she usually does, totally occupied with prayer. She begged most insistently of the Lord to look on so many brothers gathered in his name, many of whom had travelled far and wide to preach, and illumine them with the light of his Spirit. If some of them were lacking in merit, he should mercifully make up for their defect. As her spirit was busy with this, demanding insistently without hesitation, the cantor intoned the Veni Creator. She then saw a great flame descend from above which enveloped the choir of brothers until the hymn was finished. As she joyfully considered what she saw, she told no one of the vision, nor did she ascribe it to her own merits, but gave thanks to God; just as he visited the first fishers of men, so he extended the benefits of his generosity to the preachers of our times.
Moreover, when she returned to the same church to hear Compline, and the brothers were singing the beautiful antiphon Salve Regina, the Queen of virgins appeared visibly to her, urging her not to go away. She saw her sprinkling each side of the choir, bowing to each brother as he was singing, and then standing on the step next to the candle bearers until the end of the prayer; then she returned to heaven, bringing my sister, the visionary, along with her in affection. When she came to herself, she was refreshed with a very sweet taste and humbly thanked God, as she kept all these things in her heart. For three days at Compline she had this vision.
As a sensible and quiet woman, she did not tell the story to her sister nor to anyone else, but kept secret all that she saw until, broken by a serious illness, she sensed the coming of death, which she desired, subject to the plan of God's decision. Then she first told me everything as it happened, then told her sister, her son, who later became your prior at Arles, and her three brothers. This lady died at that time and is buried in the cemetery of the brothers at Arles, because the brothers did not yet have a convent in Tarasconne.
1.7.5 A brother in England contracted a serious illness, but could not keep away from Compline in the convent; he sang as well as he could the Salve Regina with the others, and at the word misericordiae he was moved to ask our Lady if he might feel her mercy in his illness. Right away he was caught up in spirit and saw her showing her Son covered with blood on the cross and telling him, "See how much he suffered for you, so that you might not be discouraged when you suffer." The brother came to his senses and, feeling himself healed, magnificently thanked God and the Mother of mercy. He secretly told this story to the Master of the Order.
1.7.6 A brother outstanding in life, learning and reputation, who was a lector in the University of Cambridge, told that a holy man often saw a globe of light come down from heaven over the heads of the brothers while they devoutly sang the antiphon of Blessed Mary after Compline.
1.7.7 Near the house of the sisters at Prouille a wild storm with hail was raging, and the sisters, terrified by the lightning, entered the church and sang the Salve Regina with much devotion, asking the Mother of mercy in her kindness to save them and their farms by which they lived. A wonder happened, done by Him who commands the winds and brings lightning and rain. Not only all around, but as far as a ballista can shoot, everything was knocked down and crushed by the hail, and vines were destroyed. But everything that belonged to the sisters, by God's grace and the help of Blessed Mary, was kept safe and intact.
23. It is in the Bollandist collection for 23 June.
24. She died at Pisa on 29 May 1207.
25. Abbot Joachim died in 1202. He was noted for preaching the imminent end of the world. Thomas Aquinas, in his Expositio super secundum Decretalem, criticizes his Trinitarian teaching (Torrell, p. 184).
26. The Sibylline oracles that survive are imitations of lost pre-Christian Greek oracles, written by Jewish and Christian apologists aproximately from 200 B.C. to 200 A.D.
27. Abbess of Rupertsberg in the diocese of Mainz; she died in 1179.
28. JB: "magnificent ornaments".
29. This should be Alexander Stavensby, bishop of Coventry-Lichfield in 1224; cf. Gams, p. 191.
30. This miracle is said to have taken place in 1219, while Brother Ralph, who told the story, was prior.
31. Palma, an uncertain measure, but in this context certainly not "a handful".
32. Named James; see below, 1.6.
33. They are in the Domincian Missal (before Vatican II) in the Mass for the vigil of Epiphany.
35. Of Matins of the feast of St. Lawrence the Martyr, formerly 10 August.
36. See Part 6.
37. The primitive Constitutions required brothers to sleep in their tunic, with their belt tied and long stockings on.
38. See also 3.26.
39. That held in Paris in 1256.
40. JK: "the arrow that flies by day".
41. Maria mater gratiae, Mater misericordiae, tu nos ab hoste protege et hora mortis suscipe, the penultimate stanza in office hymns for feasts of Mary.
42. Frederick II was deposed by Pope Innocent IV on 17 July 1245 and died 13 December 1250. Conrad IV died on 21 May 1254.
43. Innocent IV, moved by Guillaume de Saint-Amour and his companions, issued a bull Etsi animarum on 12 November 1254, rescinding all Dominican and Franciscan privileges of preaching and hearing confessions without authorization from the local ordinary; he also said they could have no more than one chair of theology at the University of Paris. See Weisheipl, p. 85.
44. By the death of Innocent IV on 7 December 1254.
45. This is from the Appendix, number 7.
46. See the index for references to Brother Bernard of Bologna.
47. Elected bishop in 1257, made archbishop of Narbonne on 10 October 1259, then Cardinal of Santa Sabina in 1261, and finally Pope Clement IV on 5 February 1265; he died at Viterbo on 29 November 1268.
48. The general chapter at Montpelier was celebrated in 1247.