(The Church of San Damiano lies outside the walls of Assisi. As Francis wandered about he happened upon this church and upon entering was confronted with an icon of the crucified. Interiorly, Christ asked Francis to repair his church. Francis, taking this command literally, began repairing San Damiano by begging stones from the townspeople.)
“Two prayers for two stones,”
Cried the son of Peter Bernardone.
“One prayer for just one stone,”
He called as he walked alone.
“St. Damien’s is sadly in need of repair—
Aren’t there any townsfolk who really care?
The poor priest has only rags to wear
And the Lord’s altar is quite bare.”
“I promise two prayers for two stones,”
But the pilgrim continued his task alone.
Faces watching were shocked to see a Bernardone
Quite ragged, weather-worn and wind-blown.
A few children came out to see
The beggar—and were filled with glee
To cast a few stones to answer his plea
Then, turn fast and quickly flee.
“A prayer for a stone,” he continued to implore.
The Lord above heard and sent him a corps
Of young men to help him restore
This church of Damien—Blessed forevermore.