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Brother Ugolino

Biographer of St. Francis

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Biography

The date of birth of Ugolino in Monte Santa Maria, (Ugolino, di Monte Santa Maria) now known as Montegiorgio, is unknown, as is the date of his death. His writings reflect that he knew of John of LaVerna, who died in 1274, and there are documents which place him in Naples in 1331.

Ugolino was the author of the Actus Beati Francisci et Sociorum Eius (The Deeds of Blessed Francis and His Companions which was translated into the Italian Tuscan dialect by an anonymous translator and named Fioretti di Santo Francesco d' Ascesi or The Little Flowers of Saint Francis of Assisi. The work was a collection of anecdotes regarding the life of St. Francis and his early disciples. In this context "Fioretti", or "garden of flowers", means simply "notabilia", or "more noteworthy things", things omitted from the formal biographies of the Saint.

More background on this can be found in this article on "Sources for the Life of St. Francis."

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Works by Brother Ugolino

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Arthur Livingstone, author of this 1930's reproduction of Little Flowers, characterizes this text as a masterful work of folk literatures from the Middle Ages. The phrase "little flowers" refers to "notabilia," or a collection of noteworthy events in the lives of St. Francis and his followers. These stories were originally collected and compiled by Brother Ugolino during the early 1300's. Ugolino attempted to draw out similarities between Jesus and St. Francis, since both leaders taught their disciples to deny the things of this world and to instead seek humility and holiness. Ugolino's original Latin text was lost, but by consulting a variety of sources, scholars have worked to reconstruct Little Flowers into both Italian and English translations. Livingstone advises readers to enjoy Little Flowers with a sense of humor, as the contents of several stories contain much irony and amusement.

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