St. Francis: God can work through anyone

I have been all things unholy. If God can work through me, He can work through anyone. — Attr. St. Francis of Assisi

  1. General Google search turns up nothing.
  2. Not on Wikiquote, even in the unsourced quotations list on the discussion page.
  3. Earliest Google Books hit is from 1996, sans source.
  4. Not in the Little Flowers.
  5. Not in The Writings of St. Francis of Assisi, which I found here and which has a handy text file of most of St. Francis’s known writings; I searched for “anyone” and “unholy.”

It doesn’t sound completely impossible for St. Francis, but I’m skeptical.


An Italian-speaking friend searched the original-language text of the Little Flowers and it’s not there either. He did point me to Part I, Chapter IX of the Little Flowers, where St. Francis accuses himself of unholiness but God prevents Brother Leo from agreeing with him. At best, the quotation in question might be a very free paraphrase–at least the first half of it (which is the half that sounded more Francis-like to me in the first place).

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