On September 17th, the Franciscan Order celebrates the Feast when our Seraphic Father Francis received the Stigmata of the Crucified Christ.
The servant of God, the Italian Franciscan friar, poet and the author of three hagiographies concerning St Francis, the much famed Br Thomas of Celano (1185-1265), in The First Life of St Francis, part 2, chapter 3, when he speaks of the vision of a man having the likeness of a seraph crucified, gives us the following accurate account of what actually happened on mount Alverna:
While he dwelt in the hermitage which, from the place in which it is situate, is called Alverna, two years before he gave back his soul to Heaven, he saw in a vision of God a man like a seraph having six wings, standing over him with hands outstretched and feet joined together, fixed to a cross. Two wings were raised above his head, two were spread out for flight, and two veiled the whole body. Now, when the blessed servant of the Most High saw this, he was filled with exceeding great wonder, but he could not understand what this vision might mean. Yet he rejoiced greatly and was filled with vehement delight at the benign and gracious look wherewith he saw that he was regarded by the seraph, whose beauty far exceeded, all estimation; but the crucifixion, and the bitterness of the seraph’s suffering smote him altogether with fear. Thus he arose, so to speak, sorrowful and glad; and joy and grief alternated in him. He anxiously pondered what this vision might portend, and his spirit labored sore to come at the understanding of it. And while he continued without any clear perception of its meaning, and the strangeness of the vision was perplexing his heart, marks of nails began to appear in his hands and feet, such as he had seen a little while before in the Man crucified who had stood over him.