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CHAPTER XLIII


HOW BROTHER CONRAD OF OFFIDA CONVERTED A YOUNG BROTHER, WHO WAS A STUMBLING BLOCK TO THE OTHER BROTHERS, AND HOW AFTER DEATH HIS SOUL APPEARED TO BROTHER CONRAD, BEGGING HIM TO PRAY FOR HIM, AND HOW THROUGH HIS PRAYER HE WAS DELIVERED FROM THE GREAT PAINS OF PURGATORY


The life of the said Brother Conrad of Offida, the great advocate of evangelical poverty and of the Rule of St Francis, was so exemplary and so meritorious in the sight of God, that Christ, the blessed one, honoured him with many miracles, not only after death, but likewise during his life. Amongst others, being once on a visit to the Convent of Offida, the brothers begged him, for the love of God and of holy charity, to reprove a young brother in the said convent, whose conduct was so puerile and disordered, and his manners so dissolute, that he distracted all the brethren, both young and old, at divine office, and cared little or nothing for any of the observances of religious life. At the request of the brothers, and out of compassion for the said young man, Brother Conrad called him to him one day, and reproved him with so much charity, that a complete change took place in his heart, and the said young man, putting off his former childish way of life, became so obedient, so meek, so devout, so anxious to do what was right, so ready to serve others, and so zealous in the practice of every virtue, that the brethren, to whom he had hitherto been a stumbling-block, found in him much comfort and satisfaction, so that they loved him dearly. Shortly after this conversion it pleased God to take him out of the world; and his death caused great sorrow to the brethren. A few days after his soul had left the body, it appeared to Brother Conrad as he was in prayer before the altar of the convent, devoutly saluting him as his father. On Brother Conrad asking who he was, he answered: “I am the soul of the young brother who died a few days ago.” Said Brother Conrad to him: “My beloved son, how is it with thee?” And the soul answered: “By the grace of God, and through thy teaching, I have cause to be thankful, for I am not damned; but because of certain sins of which I had not time to repent while I was in the world, I am suffering the extremist pain of purgatory; and I pray thee, Father, as thou hadst compassion on me when living, to help me now by thy prayers, and say for me some Paters, for thy prayers are most acceptable to God.” Then Brother Conrad, continuing his devotions, said for him a Pater with a Requiem acternam. At this the soul said: “Holy Father, I am greatly refreshed already, and I pray thee to repeat thy prayer for me.” Brother Conrad did as he was begged, and the soul said again: “As thou prayest for me, my sufferings are relieved; wherefore I implore thee, cease not to pray for me.” Then Brother Conrad, seeing that the soul of the young man was relieved by his prayers, said for his intention a hundred Paters; and when they were finished of soul said to him: “I thank thee, dearest Father, in the name of God, for thy great charity towards me; through thy prayers I have been delivered from the pains of purgatory, and am going to heaven,” and with this the soul departed. Brother Conrad, in order or comfort and console the brethren, related to them the vision. And on this wise the soul of the young brother went to heaven, through the merits of Brother Conrad.




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