This Sounds Like an Enormously Difficult Job*

“So Peter of Cataneo became Francis’s vicar, a title previously used by Gregory of Naples and Matthew of Narni.  But unlike that earlier arrangement, the founder remained very present and visible.  Francis now claimed to place himself under Peter’s obedience, and he began to speak of himself as having a new role.  Rather than a leader who would give directions, he would be an exemplary brother, one who would give the brothers a model of humility and obedience…

Resigning and providing replacement leaders did not resolve the crisis that had developed during Francis’s absence in Egypt.  The founder’s behavior as a ‘subject,’ if anything, made the crisis worse.  Peter of Cataneo was not strong willed, and, in any case, it was difficult to stand up to Francis when he had made up his mind to do something.  According to one report, Francis once found himself in the position of having to tell his ‘superior’ how to order him around.”

Francis of Assisi: A New Biography by Augustine Thompson, O.P.

*Of course, the post’s title refers to Peter of Cataneo’s job, NOT St. Francis’s

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