While he was staying in a poor place the holy man used to drink from a clay cup. After his departure, with wonderful skill bees had constructed the little cells of their honeycomb in it, wonderfully indicating the divine contemplation he drank in at that place.
~ Treatise on the Miracles of Saint Francis of Assisi, 28
Sharing a few photos from springtime hiving of honeybees in Sherburne County. These are Italian honeybees (Apis mellifera ligustica). St. Francis of Assisi lived in the Italian region of Umbria, famous for its honeybees and savory varieties of honey. It is no surprise that there is a miraculous tale of St. Francis of Assisi and honeybees, as honeybees and their transformation of nectar into honey is certainly a wonder in and of itself. These are amazing gentle creatures, good companions, that can teach an attentive and observant person a great deal of wisdom. An old compilation of tales of St. Francis of Assisi and the early Franciscans is entitled I Fioretti di San Francesco, or The Little Flowers of Saint Francis. The honeybee can teach us to visit these tales and accounts as the little flowers they are, and turn them into our own human honey of good kindness and healing care toward others: “Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the taste and healthful to the body” (Proverbs 16:24).
Moreover the should respect all creatures, animate and inanimate, which “bear the imprint of the Most High,” and they should strive to move from the temptation of exploiting creation to the Franciscan concept of universal kinship.
~ Rule of the Order of Secular Franciscans, 18
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