Franciscan Saints


 

 

 

25th June

 

 

The Servant of God Paul (Paulutius) Trinci

 

Confessor, First Order

 

All human institutions are subject to an abatement of their original glory because of the frailty of human nature. Thus it is even in religious orders. After a century of existence, the Franciscan Order also lost some of its first perfection, especially in the observance of poverty as St. Francis practiced and prescribed it.

Still, the works of God — be they institutions which God Himself has founded, like the Holy Church, or be they such that owe their existence to servants of God, like the Franciscan Order always give proof of the presence of the Spirit of God in whom they are rooted, for in the course of centuries, He causes the original fervor to be revived again and again and to flourish anew.

In the fourteenth century, the Spirit of God chose a simple lay brother Paul, who because of his insignificant figure was called Paulutius, as His instrument in the Franciscan Order. Paul was born in 1309 at Foligno, of the house of the counts of Trinci, who at that time governed the city of Foligno. But Paul, who had a generous heart in his small body, resolved already at the age of fourteen years to renounce the world and its pleasures, in order to consecrate himself wholly to the service of God in the Order of St. Francis. Although he had a good education, he wished in his humility to be only a lay brother.

In 1334, when Father John of Valle began a stricter life according to the primitive rule, Brother Paul and other zealous brethren at once joined him. But with the death of Father John, the reform was retarded. In 1368, when Paul had already entered upon his sixtieth year, he felt an urgent impulse again to take up the work. Assisted by his brother, Count Ugolino of Trinci, governor of Foligno, he obtained permission from the general of the order to repair, with brethren entertaining similar

sentiments, to the secluded convent at Brugliano, there to live in the strictest observance of the rule of St. Francis. Some of the brethren did not persevere in that strict poverty, silence, continuous prayer, and practice of penance, and returned again to their convents. But their places were filled by a greater number who now came to Brugliano. Soon there were so many of them that they could establish other convents. When Pope Gregory XI heard of this reform, he commended it and approved it in 1370. And so it happened that the little convent at Brugliano became the cradle of the form of observance which was propagated in the following century by St. Bernardin of Siena and St. John Capistran, and led the order to new glories. By 1517 it comprised the majority of the order’s membership.

Paul gradually established fifteen convents of the reform, over which he was appointed commissary general. His example attracted many of the brethren to the observance, and his fervent prayer drew down upon them the power of divine grace for perseverance in the good work.

When on occasion Paul was detained in Foligno on business pertaining to the order, he would spend hours in an old tower in order to pray undisturbed. Once a flame was seen to burst +forth from the top of the tower. The people of the town ran to the place and entered the tower, but they found only Brother Paul deeply absorbed in prayer and aglow with fervor, while flames radiated from his body and flared out beyond the pinnacle of the tower.

Paul died in 1390, in the eighty-first year of his life. Imitating st. Francis in death, he lay on the bare floor, his arms crossed, and a sweet smile playing about his countenance as he pronounced the holy names of Jesus and Mary. His tomb has been glorified by many miracles.

 

 

 

Prayer of the Church

(Over the People on Thursday in the Second Week of Lent)

 

give ear, O Lord, to Thy servants when they call upon Thee,

and grant them Thy perpetual favor; that whereas they glory in

Thee, their Creator and Ruler, Thou mayest gather and restore

to them Thy gifts and mayest keep alive in them what Thou hast

restored. Through the same Christ Our Lord Who liveth
 and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Spirit,  One God, now and forever.  Amen

 

 

Habig, Marion A., O.F.M., 1959, ed., The Franciscan book of Saints, Franciscan Herald press, Chicago, Illinois,(pp449 & 450 my copy)

 

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