Tradition has it that Pope Gregory IX journeyed with a group of Cardinals to Assisi for the Canonization of St. Francis. But before he left town, his last stop was to visit Claire at the Convent of San Damiano. So early one morning, they made the trip out to the Convent of the Poor Ladies where the sisters were waiting with great joy for the Pope.
The Pope, knowing that he was in the presence of a true saint, asked Claire to speak to them about the glory of God. It is said that all become “lost in time”, which translates to, “Claire had a very long homily.” So it was soon lunch time and the sisters were unprepared to feed the Pope and his entourage. Only stale bread was in the kitchen.
Although Claire resisted, Gregory insisted that she perform the blessing over the meal. When she was done praying, a large cross had formed on each piece of hardened bread.
It was around 1733 that the term ‘Hot Cross Bun” was first used. As years went by and the story was told, tradition lead this simple food staple to be baked on Good Friday to remind us of the crucifixion of Jesus the Christ.