Peter Cattani was a priest, canon the church of San Nicolo and law graduate from the University of Bologna, who was one of St Francis’ first companions. In 1209 he accompanied Francis to Rome to seek papal approval for his rule of life. Peter’s first ministry as a friar was to preach in the small towns of the Rieti valley. He later joined Francis on his pilgrimage to the Holy Land, and then in 1219 was with Francis at Damietta when Francis visited Sultan Malik-al-Kamil.

When Francis resigned as head of the order in 1220, he appointed Peter as his successor. Just over a year later Peter died, and his place was taken by Elias, who supervised the building of the magnificent Basilica of St Francis. Peter spent the latter years of his life at the Portiuncula and died there. A memorial stone in his honour is on the external left wall of this chapel.

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Craig Nicholson
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