“In that same year (i.e. 1222.), on the Feast of the Assumption of the Madonna, when I was attending my studies in Bologna, I saw St. Francis, who was preaching on the square in front of the city palace where almost the entire city had gathered.
And the basis of his sermons were: angels, people, demons. Namely, he explained these three orders of reason-endowed spirits so well and so rationally that many well-schooled people who heard the speech of this unlearned man were awestruck: he nonetheless did not hold an assembly, instead he preached.
Truly the entire content of his words pertained to overcoming hostility and renewing the alliance of peace.
His garments were simple, his personage aroused loathing, his face nondescript. But God imparted so much effect to his words that many of nobles among whom the fierce rage of old hostilities had led to much bloodshed, were thinking of peace.
There was so much reverence and love for this man, that the men and women crowded around him in a throng, attempting to touch the hem of his garment or to tear a piece off.”
Thomas, Historia Salonitana, 2003, 152-153; Historia Salonitana, 2006, p. 178-179.
“St Francis coming one day to the city of Bologna, all the inhabitants went out to meet him, and the crowd was so great that it was with much difficulty he made his way to the market-place, which was filled with men, women, and scholars. And St Francis, on arriving there, stood upon an elevated spot, and began to preach that which the Holy Spirit put into his mind to say; and he preached so wonderfully that he appeared to be an angel, not a man; and his words were like sharp arrows, which pierced through the hearts of those who listened to them. And many men and women were brought to repentance through that sermon; of this number were two noble students of the March of Ancona – one named Pellegrino and the other Rinieri.”
“IX. On preachers.
The friars must not preach in the diocese of any bishop if they have been forbidden to do so by him. And no brother should dare preach to the people unless he has been examined and approved by the minister general of his brotherhood and the office of preaching has been conceded to him.
I also admonish and exhort the brothers that in their preaching their words be studied and chaste, useful and edifying to the people, telling them about vices and virtues, punishment and glory; and they ought to be brief, because the Lord kept his words brief when he was on earth.”