Roman Legends: A Collection of the Fables and Folk-lore of Rome | Annotated Tale

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Pardon of Asisi, The


ST. FELIX, [2] St. Vincent, [3] and St. Philip went together once upon a time to the Pardon of Asisi.

               As they were three great saints, the Pope sent for them as soon as they came back, saying he had a question to ask them. It was Innocent IX. or X., I am not sure which; but I know it was an Innocent. [4] He took them one by one, separately, and began with St. Felix.

               'Were there a great many people at the Pardon?' said the Pope.

               'Oh yes, an immense number,' answered simple St. Felix; 'I had not thought the whole world contained such a number.'

               'Then a vast number of sins must have been remitted that day?' said the Pope.

               St. Felix only sighed in reply.

               'Why do you sigh?' asked the Pope.

               St. Felix hesitated to reply, but the Pope bade him tell him what was in his mind.

               'There were but few who gained the indulgence in all that multitude,' replied the Saint; 'for among them all were few who came with the contrition required.'

               'How many were there who did receive it?' again asked the Pope.

               Once more St. Felix hesitated till the Pope ordered him to speak.

               'There were only four,' he then said.

               'Only four!' exclaimed the Pope. 'And who were they?'

               St. Felix showed even more reluctance to answer this question than the others; but the Pope made it a matter of obedience, and then he said,

               'The four were Father Philip, Father Vincent, one old man, and one other.' [5]

               The Pope next called for Father Vincent, and went through nearly the same dialogue with him, and his list was

               'Father Philip, Father Felix, one old man, and one other.'

               Then the Pope sent for St. Philip, and held the same discourse with him, and his list was

               'Father Vincent, Father Felix, one old man, and one other.'

               And the Pope saw that their testimony agreed together, and that each out of humility had abstained from naming that he was one of the four.

               But when the people heard the story, they all began demanding that the three fathers should be canonized.


Concerning St. Philip's devotion to the Portiuncula, Cancellieri, 'Mercato,' § xxi. note 7, records that he never missed attending it every August at the little Church of S. Salvatore, in Onda, near Ponte Sisto, now a hospice for infirm priests (he gives a curious inscription in note * * *), then in the hands of the Franciscans for many years, while he lived in the neighbouring Palazzo Caccia.


[1] 'Il Perdon di Asisi.' The indulgences attached to visiting the Church of S. Maria degli Angeli near Asisi (otherwise called the Porziuncula), received this name on occasion of its consecration on the 1st and 2nd August, 1225. The visit on the anniversary became one of the most popular of Italian pilgrimages.

[2] San Felice di Cantaliccio, 1513-87, is a very popular saint among the Romans, for one reason because he was born of poor parentage. Though of low origin, and only a lay brother in his convent, he was frequently consulted by important people on account of his piety and prudence. St. Charles Borromeo took great note of his advice. He was a contemporary of St. Philip.

[3] St. Vincent Ferrer, who is so popular a saint among the Romans, so continually coupled with St. Philip and his acts, and always spoken of as if he had all his life been an inhabitant of Rome, lived just two centuries earlier (1351-1419) than the 'Apostle of Rome.' Though he went about preaching and reforming all over Europe, and even in England and Ireland at the invitation of Henry IV., he was yet never in Rome at all, though much at Avignon under the so-called Benedict XIII., his countryman, with whom he used all his influence to make him put an end to the schism.

[4] Innocent IX., who reigned 1590-1, took a great deal of notice of St. Philip. It is curious the narrator should have been so far out concerning St. Vincent and so correct about this.

[5] 'Un vecchietto e un'altro.'

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: Pardon of Asisi, The
Tale Author/Editor: Busk, Rachel Harriette
Book Title: Roman Legends: A Collection of the Fables and Folk-lore of Rome
Book Author/Editor: Busk, Rachel Harriette
Publisher: Estes and Lauriat
Publication City: Boston
Year of Publication: 1877
Country of Origin: Italy
Classification: unclassified

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