On St. Francis

Francesco’s (latter called St Francis) father whipped him in front of all the town people after Francesco stole from his shop several rolls of cloth. After the scourging inflicted by his father, with his own hands, and public humiliation, a citizen of Assisi reminded him that the town statutes allowed the father to incarcerate the rebellious son at home. Pedro shut Francesco in a sweltering, dark warehouse where “Francesco languished without seeing the light except when his father opened the door for Pica [the mother] taking a bowl of soup and a piece of bread.” After several weeks of being locked Francesco escaped and, always fearful of his father, hid in a cave. The earliest texts add that in the cave he often wept with great fear.

Francesco then made his big scene by returning to Assisi, undressing in the square in front of Bishop Guido and addressing the crowd: “Hear all ye, and understand. Until now have I called Pedro Bernadone ‘my father’. But I now give back unto him the money, over which he was vexed, and all the clothes that I have had of him, desiring to say only, ‘Our Father, which art in Heaven,’ instead of ‘My father, Pedro Bernadone.’”

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