Open main menu

THOMAS OF CELANO, Franciscan friar and disciple and biographer of St Francis of Assisi. Born at Celano in the Abruzzi, he joined St Francis probably about 1214, and he appears to have been one of the first band of friars who went into Germany. He was commissioned by Gregory IX. to write the Life of St Francis, and in 1229 he completed the First Legend; in 1247 at the command of the minister general he composed the Second Legend, and a few years later the Tract on the Miracles of St Francis. He also composed in 1255 the Legend of St Clare; and he is one of those to whom the sequence Dies irae is attributed.

Thomas of Celano's writings on St Francis have been critically edited by E. d'Alençon in 1906; the value of this work is enhanced by the fact that critical opinion is veering round to the view that Thomas of Celano is the best authority for the life of the saint (see "Note on the Sources," appended to article Francis of Assisi).

An English translation (The Lives of S. Francis of Assisi by Brother Thomas of Celano) by A. G. Ferrers Howell appeared in 1908. All that is known of Thomas of Celano is brought together in Edouard d'Alençon's Prolegomena; see also introduction to Ferrers Howell's translation. (E. C. B.)