SILVESTRE
The fifth companion of Francis

He came from:
Assisi where he was a priest; he was an old man.

Character and characteristics:
He is as simple as a dove, and spends his whole time praying and living in the caves of mount Subiaso; Francis is very devoted to him and venerates him as a saint.

His life:
He had sold some stone to Francis when the latter was restoring San Damiano and was present when Bernardo gave up all his belongings: he was seized by avarice: “and complained to the servant of the Lord about the stones he had sold to him previously, as if they had not been paid for in full. Francis, seeing that the priest’s soul was consumed by the poison of avarice, gave him a smile full of compassion. But wanting to quench that searing heat, he filled his hands with money, without counting it.
Canon Silvestre was pleased with the money he had received, but he was even more impressed by the liberality of the donor. On returning home, he thought again and again about what had happened, blaming himself and wondering at how an old man like himself could still love the world, whereas that young man despised all possessions in such a manner. When his disposition was full of good intentions, God opened His heart of mercy, showing him the full value of Francis’ works, how precious they were to Him and how their splendour filled the earth.
Indeed, he saw in a dream a gold cross, coming out of Francis’ mouth: its top reached the sky, and the open arms embraced the whole world.
The priest, full of remorse at that sight, decided to stop prevaricating, left the world and became a perfect imitator of the man of God. He began to lead a perfect life within the Order…” (T. Celano Vita seconda). With St Francis he expelled the demons from Arezzo.

He advised Francis:
Francis asked both him and Clare if he should lead a purely contemplative life, or should preach to the world, and Silvestre told him: “The Lord says you are to tell Brother Francis this: that God has not called him to this state only on his own account, but that he may reap a harvest of souls and that many may be saved through him” (The Little Flowers Chap. XVI p. 75); the same answer as Clare was to give also, and Francis promptly followed this advice.

He died:
We do not know where, but in perfect sanctity, just as he had lived.

People said of him:
“he spoke with God as one friend with another” (The Little Flowers Chap. I p. 41)