Miracles of St. Francis of Assisi | 16-4


Many saved from Shipwreck.

Certain mariners were in great danger by sea, about ten miles from the port of Baruti, and, the tempest waxing fiercer and fiercer, they began to fear for their lives, and cast anchor in the sea.

But the sea rose higher still by the fury of the wind and the storm, so that the ropes were broken, and they were left without an anchor, wandering in an uncertain and unequal course over the waves.

At last, by the Divine Will, the sea was calmed, and they endeavoured with all their power to recover the anchor, the ropes of which they saw floating on the sea.

Unable to do this by their own strength, they invoked the aid of many saints, and, worn out with toil and labour, they were unable, in the course of a whole day, to recover a single anchor.

Now there was one of the sailors, named Perfetto (Perfect), but in his manner of life very imperfect, who said in derision to his companions:

“See, you have been calling all the saints to aid, and, as you see, none of them helps us. Let us ask this Francis, who is a new saint; perhaps he will dive into the water and recover our lost anchors.”

They all agreed to the advice of Perfetto, not in jest, but truly and faithfully, and, reproving his impious words, they turned of their own accord to the Saint, and in a moment, without any human help, they saw the anchors floating upon the water, as if the nature of iron had been changed into the lightness of wood.

A certain pilgrim, reduced to great weakness of body by the effects of a severe fever, was brought in a ship from the lands beyond the sea. He had a special affection and devotion to St. Francis, whom he had chosen as his advocate with the Heavenly King.

Not being yet perfectly free from his sickness, he was tormented by a burning thirst, and there being no water in the ship, he began to cry aloud: “Go with all confidence and bring me a cup, for St. Francis has filled my little barrel.”

Marvellous to say, they found the barrel filled with water, which had before been perfectly empty.

Another day, a tempest arose, and filled the ship with waves, so that, by reason of the violence of the storm, all on board began to fear shipwreck,

when the sick man arose suddenly and cried throughout the ship: “Arise all of you, and go and meet the blessed Francis; behold, he is coming to salute us!”

And crying thus, with a loud voice and with many tears, he fell on his face and adored him. And immediately, at the vision of the Saint, the sick man recovered his health, and the sea was calmed.

Brother James, of Rieti, was passing a streamlet in a little boat; when it approached the land, and his companions had disembarked, he was about to follow them, but the little bark being accidentally overturned, the brother fell into the water.

The brethren on the shore besought the blessed Francis, with many tears, to deliver his son. And the friar at the bottom of the river, being unable to cry with his mouth, called upon his merciful Father as best he could in his heart.

And, behold, by the present aid of the blessed Father, he walked as on dry land, in the bottom of the stream, and taking hold of the sunken boat, he brought with him to the shore. Wonderful to say, his garments were not wet, nor was there a drop of water on his tunic.

Another friar, named Bonaventure, was rowing with two other brothers on a certain lake, when the boat, being broken by the force of the current, sank with himself and his companions to the bottom.

When, from this lake of misery, they called with confidence on their merciful Father, Francis, the boat, full of water, rose to the surface, and, by the guidance of the Saint, reached the harbour in safety.

Thus also another friar of Escolo, who had fallen into a river, was delivered by the merits of St. Francis.

Several men and women in a like peril on the Lake of Rieti, by the invocation of the name of St. Francis, escaped the danger of shipwreck.

Some mariners of Ancona, being attacked by a dangerous tempest, were in danger of being swallowed up by the waves:

When despairing of life, they devoutly invoked the aid of St. Francis, a great light appeared over the sea, and with that light there was granted to them, by the Divine mercy, a great calm, as if the holy man by his marvellous power could command the winds and the sea.

Now it is not possible, I think, to relate, if I would, all the wonders by which our blessed Father has been glorified, and is now glorified in the deep.

Nor is it any marvel that to him, who already reigns in heaven, is given power to command the waters, seeing that all living creatures served him while he was yet in this mortal life.