The First Life of St. Francis
Thomas of Celano was around Francis's age, and he joined the Franciscan order around 1215, or shortly after its founding. He was one of the brothers chosen to establish the order in Germany in 1221, but he returned to Italy a few years later. Thomas was asked by Pope Gregory IX (the bishop of Ostia mentioned in the biography) to write a biography of Francis, perhaps at the time of Francis's canonization in 1228. The life was completed in 1229. This is, therefore, the earliest view of Francis, one that would be subsequently revised. Thomas composed a second, revised life of Francis around 1246. Thomas also composed a collection of the miracles of St. Francis, a biography of St. Clare of Assisi (d. 1255), and the hymn Dies Irae.This translation is taken from M. L. Cameron, The Inquiring Pilgrim's Guide to Assisi, trans. A. G. Ferrers Howell (London, 1926).