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Observations placeholder

St Francis - Levitating on Mount Algeria



Type of Spiritual Experience


Friar Herbert Thurston was a Catholic priest, a member of the Jesuit order and an historian.  He wrote extensively on Catholic mysticism and psychic phenomena and was a member of the Society for Psychical Research.  He was also widely read on this subject.  He is described as ‘an honest skeptic’., and once said ‘the role of Devil’s advocate is a thankless one and does not make for popularity’.

A description of the experience

From Friar Herbert Thurston - The Physical Phenomenon of Mysticism

In the Stigmata section of the Little Flowers of St. Francis we read as follows concerning the happenings when the Saint allowed Brother Leo to visit him in the remoter solitude of Mount Algeria:

And from that hour the said Friar Leo commenced to scrutinise and to consider the life of St. Francis with great purity and goodwill; and by reason of his purity, he merited to behold how many a time and oft St. Francis was rapt in God and uplifted from the ground sometimes for the space of three cubits, sometimes of four, and sometimes even to the height of the beech-tree; and sometimes he beheld him raised so high in the air and surrounded with such radiance, that scarcely could he see him.

And what did this simple friar do when St. Francis was so little raised above the ground that he could reach him? He went softly and embraced his feet and kissed them with tears, saying:

"My God have mercy upon me a sinner; and for the merits of this holy man, grant me to find Thy grace.”

The source of the experience

St Francis of Assisi

Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items


Activities and commonsteps