Miracles of St. Francis of Assisi | 16-7


Of many Blind who were Restored to Sight.

In the convent of the Friars Minor, at Naples, there was a certain friar named Robert, who had been many years blind, and there had lately grown over his eyes a superfluity of flesh, which hindered the motion and use of the eyelids.

Now, many foreign friars came to this place, being brought together from various parts by the will of the blessed Father St. Francis, that the miracle might thus take place in the presence of many; and thus was the brother healed.

One night the said Brother Robert was lying in his bed, sick unto death, and his soul had been already commended to God,

when, behold! He saw the blessed Father before him, with three friars full of sanctity, and these were St. Anthony, Brother Augustine, and Brother James, of Assisi, who, as they had so perfectly followed him during life, now bore him company after death.

Then St. Francis, taking a knife, began to cut away that superfluous flesh, and restored to him his lost sight, raising him also from death to life. Then he said to him:

“My son, Friar Robert, the grace which I have bestowed upon thee is a token to these brethren who are going into distant countries that I will always go before them and direct their steps—therefore, let them depart in gladness, and perform with a willing mind the obedience imposed upon them.”

At Thebes, in Romagna, a blind woman having fasted on bread and water on the vigil of St. Francis was led by her husband on the morning of the Feast to the Church of the Friars Minor.

And when the Mass was celebrated, at the elevation of the Body of Christ, she saw It clearly, and most devoutly adored It, crying with a loud voice, “Thanks be to God and his Saint, for I see the Body of Christ.”

All those who were present turned to see whence that joyful voice proceeded, and when the Mass was ended, the woman returned to her house, rejoicing in spirit and with the sight of her eyes.

And she rejoiced not only because she had received her bodily sight, but because, by the merits of St. Francis and by the aid of holy faith, she had beheld that stupendous Sacrament which is the light of the living soul.

At a place called Poffo, in Campagna, there was a boy of fourteen, who, by a sudden infirmity, entirely lost the use of his left eye,

and the intensity of the pain so removed the eye out of its place that, the nerves being relaxed by a finger’s length, it hung for a whole week down the cheek, being almost entirely dried up.

There remained no other remedy but to cut it off, and the physicians being hopeless of a cure, he turned with all his mind to ask the assistance of St. Francis.

Nor did that prompt helper of the miserable delay to grant the prayer of his suppliant, for, by his marvellous power, he restored the withered eye to its place and to its former strength, illuminating it with the longed-for light of day.

In the same province, at a place call Magno, a heavy piece of wood fell from a great height, and struck the head of a certain priest, blinding him in the left eye. As he lay on the ground, he began to invoke St. Francis, saying:

“Help me, most holy Father, so that I may be able to go to thy festival, as I have promised thy friars for it was the vigil of the Saint”,

and when he had said this, he immediately arose safe and sound, and began to praise God, rejoicing with all around, who had been lamenting his misfortune, and were now filled with joy and wonder. He went to the feast and related to all the power and the mercy which he had experienced.

Another man of Mount Gorgano, who was labouring in his vineyard, injured his eye as he was cutting a piece of wood, dividing it so that the half of it hung out of the socket.

Despairing of all human aid, he made a vow to St. Francis always to fast before his feast if he would help him now. The Saint immediately restored the eye to its proper place, and restored also its lost sight, so that not a vestige of the injury remained.

The son of a nobleman, who was born blind, received his sight by the merits of St. Francis, and from this cause received the name of Illuminato:

When he grew up, in thanksgiving for the benefit received, he took the habit of St. Francis, and made such progress in the life of grace and holiness that he showed himself to be truly a child of light, and by the merits of the Holy Father he ended his life by a still holier death.

At Zacanto, near Anagna, there was a soldier, named Gerard, who had altogether lost his sight:

It happened once that two Friars Minor from distant lands came to lodge with him; and having been devoutly received and kindly treated, out of reverence for St. Francis, they thanked God and their host, and went their way to a convent of friars not far from that place.

One night, St. Francis appeared to one of these friars in a dream, saying:

“Arise, and go quickly with thy companion to the house of our host, who received Christ and me in your persons, for I wish to requite him for his good offices. He became blind because of his sins, which he cared not to purge by confession.”

When the Father had said this he disappeared, and the friar immediately arose with his companion to fulfil the commandment laid upon him.

And when they came to the house of the hospitable man, they related to him in order the vision which one of them had seen,

which, when he had heard, he marvelled greatly; and acknowledging that to be true which they said, and being contrite even to tears, he willingly made his confession.

Being thus corrected and renewed, and restored to sight in the interior man, he forthwith recovered his exterior sight;

and the fame of that miracle being spread abroad through all the country round, excited many not only to reverence for the Saint, but also to humble confession of their sins, and to loving hospitality to the poor.