Details Regarding the Stigmata of Saint Francis

Today commemorates the stigmata of Saint Francis – the five wounds of Christ miraculously formed in His flesh. These nails could move within the wounds. Here’s the account from the Fioretti:
On the death of St Francis his glorious, the sacred stigmata were seen and kissed, not only by the said Lady Jacopa and her company, but by many citizens of Assisi; among others by a knight of great renown, named Jerome, who had doubted much, and disbelieved them; as St Thomas disbelieved the wounds of Christ.
And to assure himself and others, he boldly, in the presence both of the brethren and of seculars, moved the nails in the hands and feet, and strongly pressed the wound in the side. By which means he was enabled to bear constant witness to the truth of the miracle, swearing on the Gospels that he had seen and touched the glorious, holy stigmata of St Francis, the which were seen and touched also by St Clare and her religious, who were present at his burial.
Here is another description of the wounds and their fleshly nails:
For upon his hands and feet began immediately to appear the figures of the nails, as he had seen them on the Body of Christ crucified, who had appeared to him in the likeness of a seraph. And thus the hands and feet appeared pierced through the midst by the nails, the heads whereof were seen outside the flesh in the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet, and the points of the nails stood out at the back of the hands, and the feet in such wise that they appeared to be twisted and bent back upon themselves, and the portion thereof that was bent back upon themselves, and the portion thereof that was bent back or twisted stood out free from the flesh, so that one could put a finger through the same as through a ring; and the heads of the nails were round and black. In like manner, on the right side appeared the image of an unhealed wound, as if made by a lance, and still red and bleeding, from which drops of blood often flowed from the holy breast of St Francis, staining his tunic and his drawers.
Clearly, this stigmata of the Seraphic Father Saint Francis was different from that of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina.

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  • Joe

    As great as his writings and works were. I dont believe these wounds were gifts of the Spirit. The wounds to Christ’s “hands” were through his wrist as the Shroud attests to. The ancient word for hand was understood in Jesus’s time as including the wrist and upward.

  • Carl Eppig

    Thank you.  You are the only person in “media” I know of who recognized this feast.  If we didn’t have the Franciscan supplement of the Liturgy of the Hours index, we might have missed it ourselves.

  • Br. Tom Forde OFMCap

    Joe – the Church by establishing a feast in honour of his Stigmatization has affirmed their Divine origin.  That they differed from other stigmatics is not that unusual since no two stigmatists are exactly alike.  In addition the accounts we have are from the few who actually saw the wounds or those they spoke to.  The unusual part of Francis’ wounds are that the bones seem to have dislocated and remained, nail-like in the wounds.  It is not clear if the wound in the side went through, as with Padre Pio, into the heart.  Very few saw the wounds while he was alive and the rest only after his death.

  • Joe

    Br. Tom,
    Thank you. My appologies for my earlier post. Perhaps it was an overly harsh assessment. These events are mysterious, plain and simple.

  • Antoinette

    May I suggest the book “The Saint and the Sultan”.  It’s about St. Francis and his trip to North Africa and the Holy Land during the Crusades.  You will find a lot about the saint that is not widely known.