The Franciscan world is abuzz with the word that another biography of St. Francis of Assisi, written by Thomas of Celano has been found. A posting, dated January 27, 2015, on the English Speaking Conference ofthe Order Friars Minor (OFM) reported the details of how it was discovered. Scholars believe that Thomas of Celano wrote it shortly after writing the First Life of St. Francis and way before he wrote the Second Life. It is being reported that it contains information about Francis, which is missing from the other biographies; or had been changed in later issues.
It is know that multiple biographies were written about the Saint, one only has to look at the three volume collection: “Francis of Assisi, The Early Documents,” compiled and translated by Regis Armstrong, OFM CAP, J.A. Wayne Hellmann, OFM CONV, and William Short, OFM. That fact that we even have early versions for Francis’ biographies can be considered somewhat of a miracle. When St. Bonaventure wrote his “Life of Saint Francis (Legenda Maior)” and presented it to a General Chapter of the Friars, the Chapter accepted it as the official biography, and for reasons that still remain unclear, ordered all copies of earlier biographies destroyed. Again, I consider it a miracle that, according to Ewert Cousins, translator and editor of a collection of Bonaventure’s’ works; twenty copies of Celano’s first Life have survived, and only two copies of the second Life still exist. Now another work by Celano has come to surface! What new insights and revelations will come to light? The Franciscan world waits in anticipation!