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Typis Thomae Geubels, 1665.

Permiſſu Superiorum.



THE Rule or forme of life which the Religious woemen of the order of S. Clare promiſe and profeſſe to obſerue, is that, which Bleſſed S. Francis at the ear­neſt intreatie, and requeſt of S. Clare and her compa­nions, did write and deliuer vnto them, about the yeare of our Lord 1224. and the 12. after her conuerſion vnto God; which ſhe at Aſſiſi­um,4 with ſome other few Monaſteries did carefully ob­ſerue for about 30. yeares, al­though it was not as yet con­firmed by Bull, vntil the yeare of our Lord 1253. the 11. of Pope Jnnocent the forth, and the laſt of her life. She at leaſt, had that comfort, ſome few days before her departure, to ſee that Rule confirmed by Bull, which her ſelf for diuers yeares, had freely and piouſly obſerued; which her ſucceſ­ſours in their ſacred Profeſſiō, now promiſe by Vow to keep and follow, and which the ſe­raphical Father S. Francis, had with much prayer and many5 teares framed and written.

The occaſion, or reaſon of her demanding, or his writing of this Rule, is mentioned by the R: F: Lucas Wadding, in the 1. Tome of his Annals on the yeare of our Lord 1224 and 9. of Honorius the Third.

S. Clare à deuout diſciple and true follower of the ſera­phical ſpirit of ſoe great à Maſter, diſdayning all things of this world, and emulating ſuch, as were more eminent; hauing vnderſtood in the yeare of our Lord 1223. and the 8. of Honorius the third, that that hard Rule of the Friar-Minors was giuen, and6 by him confirmed; ſhe, the yeare following, with her companions of Aſſiſium, made earneſt ſuit to S. Fran­cis, that he would pleaſe to giue in writing vnto her alſo, and her ſiſters of S. Damian, ſome Rule, or forme of life, beſids what he had before deliuered vnto them, by word of mouth, conforma­ble vnto that, which was cō­firmed to the Friar-Minors the yeare before, wherby [after the death of ſoe great à Maſter] as wel they, as thoſe, who were to ſucceed them, might be gouerned.He, after ſerious deliberatiō7 communicating the matter with Cardinal Hugoline, then Protector of the Order of Fri­ar-Minors, and perceiuing the ſiſters feruour aſpired yet higher [as not cōtent with the Jnſtitution giuen them by the ſaid Cardinal Hugoline, ſome few yeares before, which the other Monaſteries not withſtā­ding [except this of Aſſiſiū] were contēt and ſatisfied with­all, wrote for them, à proper Rule; and did accommodate the ſame to that of the Friar-Minors, ſoe far forth, as their weake ſexe would permitt thē; they both ouerſeeing the work, whilſt S. Francis ſtayed8 at ſome word or periode, Hu­goline gaue him aſſiſtance and counſel, concerning the cir­cumſpection or mitigation he eſteemed needfull to be vſed in a matter of ſoe high cōcern­ment; and in writing, they could not forbeare weeping; conſidering the Virgins zeale and feruour did exceed the ordinarie ſtraine, and weak­neſſe of their ſexe.

This is commonly called the firſt Rule of S. Clare, not becauſe it was giuen firſt, for it was deliuered rather in the third place, and ſoe receiued by S. Clare; but it is called the firſt, by reaſon of fiue different9 Rules or formes of life, giuen and receiued at differēt times. For, three being almoſt antiquat­ed, it may be called the firſt of the two remain­ing. for better vnder­ſtanding wherof, J ſhal in breef only, mention theſe fiue afore-named Rules, togeather with theire beginnings.

Jn the yeare of ourThe 1. Rule. Lord 1212. and 15. of Jnnocent the third, the moſt Holy Virgin S. Clare, began the order of poore Clares, the 18. yeare of her age, in a10 Monaſterie of S. Damian, without the gates of the Cittie of Aſſiſium, in the way to­wards Rome, whēce they were know'n anciently, by the name of Damiates or Aſſiſiates: wher S. Francis tought them a certain manner of liuing in common, and gaue them an vnpoliſh't Rule, ſuch an one, as was thē fitting for thoſe, that were newly conuerted from the vanities of the world; they liuing vnanimouſly, and de­uoutly practiſing the ſaid forme of life for the ſpace of about ſix yeares.

Vntil the vertuousThe 2. Rule Cardinal Hogoline [who ſucceeded in the ſea of11 Rome by the name of Gre­gorie the 9.] wrote ſome direc­tions with Jnſtructiōs annex­ed, which he firſt ſent by his owne autoritie vnto S. Clare and her deuout Compa­nie, liuing in the Monaſterie of S. Damian, and being with zeale by them receiued, he reduced them into a better forme, and by authoritie of the ſea Apoſtolique, did adioyne theſe his Conſtitutions to the Rule of S. Benedict, and ſent them, the ſecond time, to the ſaid S. Clare and her ſiſters, which they vnanimouſly re­ceiued, in the 4. yeare of the Popedome of Honorius the third, and of our Lord 1219.

12Jn the yeare of ourThe 3. Rule. Lord 1223. the Glori­ous Virgin S. Clare, with her Companions of the Mo­naſterie of Aſſiſium, zealouſly emulating the heigth of per­fection, in moſt ſublime Po­uertie, did hūbly requeſt that great Maſter of ſpirit S. Fran­cis, that he would pleaſe to frame for them, a yet more ſetled Rule of life, for preſent ād future ages: which he wrote accordingly, and deliuered vnto them, in the yeare of our Lord 1224. they of Aſſiſium punctualy obſeruing it, for a­boue 30. yeares, vntil it was confirmed by a Bull of Pope13 Jnnocent the 4. the 11. yeare of his Popedome, and ſome few days before the happie death of the Glorious Mother S. Clare. And this is the Rule which here we declare and treate of and the ſiſters of her Order, doe promiſe ſucceſſiue­ly in their Holy Profeſſion to obſerue and follow it; which though third in number, yet deſeruedly beareth the name of the firſt Rule of S. Clare, the two former being alreadie in a manner forgotten; hauing only been in vſe and practiſ­ed about 12. yeares, beſids, that as in all beginnings, ſoe were thoſe more rude and vn­poliſh't.

14The 4. Rule, or formeThe 4. Rule. of life, deliuered vn­to the Order of S. Clare, is that, which by ſollicitati­on of ſome Friar-Minors, with­out the cōſent, or knowledge of S. Clare, was vnderhand dealt for, to be cōfirmed by Jn­nocent the 4. the 5. yeare of his Popedome; wherin diuers ſubſtantial points were chang­ed, and new ons inſerted, concerning the auſteritie, Po­uertie, ſubiection and ſuch like. J wil only touch in breife what Ludouicus Miranda a graue Author of the ſaid Or­der of Friar-Minors, doth mention concerning it, in his15 firſt part of the expoſition of the Rule of S. Clare 9. chapt. This Rule, 4. th in order, was procured, ſaith he, by the ſuggeſtion and ſollicitation of ſome Prelats of the Or­der of Friar-Minors; cer­taine Abbeſſes ioyning with them, without the priuitie or conſent of S. Clare; who, hauing vnderſtood the mat­ter, and that the Prelats of the Order intended to bind her and her ſiſters of Aſſiſium, as they had inforced other Monaſteries, to the accep­tance and obligation of this new Rule, ſhe with her ſi­ſters of Aſſiſium, highly16 reſenting it, that the ſaid Prelats had ſollicited and procured ſuch a ſubſtantial change of Rule, without her knowledge, and being greatly ſcandalifed at them, ſaith Miranda, and at all thoſe ſiſters that held with them, refuſed vtterly to ad­mitt of it, and with all hu­militie and modeſtie, pre­ſenting theſe her grieuances vnto his Holineſſe Pope Jn­nocent the 4. with much afflictiō and ſorrow, for that he gaue eare to the ſini­ſter relations of the ſaid Pre­lats and Nunnes, that held with them, ſhe humbly re­queſted,17 that he would graciouſly pleaſe to recale the ſaid Rule, and approue and confirme that, which the H. Father S. Francis had written and left them.She at length preuailed ſoe far, and with ſoe happie ſuc­ceſſe, that after 5. or 6. years, that is, the 10. and the 11. yeare of his Popedome, he ſett forth two diſtinct Bulls, by the former expreſly com­manding the ſaid Prelats, that in noe caſe they inforce the Nunnes of S. Damian, to ac­cept this new Rule, which he declared to be voide and of noe effect. By which Bull here18 annexed, [beginning Recto aſſumpto tramite, faithfully trāſ­lated out of an Authentical copie, taken out of the great Conuent in Paris, of the or­der of Friar-Minors, by the Apoſtolical Nuntius, then reſiding in France 1628. and by him ſent to the Engliſh Monaſterie of poore Clares in Graueling] it appeareth ma­nifeſt, that the ſuperiours and Prelats of the order of Friar-Minors, neither haue, nor ought to haue, or exerciſe any Juriſdiction, or Power, ouer the afore-ſayd Nunnes, ſeeing, as he ſaith, that abſolutely they haue none: And by the latter19 Bull, he approued and confirmed the Rule it­ſelfe, which S. Francis had made; declaring, that all the Nunnes of Aſſi­ſiū ought, by all means, to obſerue and keep it; this latter Bull is alſo ſett down at large, being the Rule it ſelf, and Confirmation therof.

The 5. Rule is thatThe 5. Rule. of Vrban the 4. who cre­ated Pope, 6. yeares only after Jnnocent the 4. being informed, the firſt yeare of his Popedome, by the Cardinal Protector of the Friar-Minors, that20 the Religious woemen of the Order of S. Clare, made differently their Profeſſion and Vow, in diuers Monaſte­ries, according to different Rules and formes of life, iudged it expedient to make a new Rule; collecting out of others, ſuch things, as ſeemed moſt conuenient for the con­dition and ſtate of thoſe Nunnes; endeauoring, as neer as might be, to reduce them to Vniformitie; and himſelf confirmed this ſaid Rule, by Apoſtolical autoritie, as may be ſeen in Marcus de Liſbona, in the 2. part of his Chroni­cles and 2. book.

21Hence it appeareth that of all theſe 5. Rules here men­tioned, and at different times deliuered to the Religious woemen of the Order of S. Clare, two only remaine in obſeruance and vſe, to witt, this latter, drawn in order and deliuered by Vrban the 4. cal­ed vſualy the 2. Rule of S. Clare, or of the Urbaniſts; and that other, which was written by S. Francis, as we haue ſayd and cōfirmed ſome few days before the death of the Glorious Virgin S. Clare, the 11. yeare of Pope Jn­nocent the 4. and is know'n vſualy by the name of her firſt22 of her firſt Rule, as wel in reſpect of that of Vrban the 4. which was ordered and brought into a forme of Rule, 6. yeares after her death, as of the 3. others, which, euen at that time, were either anti­quated, or annulled.

Here needeth noe further addition by way of Preface, vnto this firſt Rule of the Glo­rious Mother S. Clare; ſeeing that the following Conſtituti­ons or Declarations lately approued and confirmed by his Holineſſe Pope Alexander the 7. doe ſufficiently, accord­ing to their title, declare and explicate what might23 ſeeme obſcure and hidden in the text of the Rule.

This J only add, by way of note, that, as in all other, ſoe in this Holy Religious Order of S. Clare, ſuch reſpect and reuerence is due vnto the Ho­ly Rule, and Author therof, as each word and letter is euer to remaine without change, and inuiolable in its primi­tiue and firſt integritie; al­though the Conſtitutions or Declaratiōs of the ſame, muſt needs admitt ſometimes va­rietie and change, according to the change and circumſtā­ces of time, place and perſons, eſpeacialy, when vniformitie24 and reference to the ſacred Canons, and Holy Councill of Trent ſhal ſoe require.

Hence it followeth that a law may be made voide, that is, by it ſelf, or by authoritie of higher power, may ceaſe to oblige; and yet, that ſame law or Rule ſhal remaine as it was firſt written, and without the change of one only letter; although in practice, it is be­come voide, out of vſe and with out force; as appeareth manifeſt in this very Rule of S. Clare, wherof we treate.

And to giue you ſome few inſtances and examples: we find in the beginning of the 2.25 chapt: that there is mention of not admitting Nouices, with­out the conſent and licence of the Lord Cardinal Protector; which, ſeeing in practiſe, it can not be complyed withall, by reaſon of diſtance of place, and other inconueniences, the leaue of the ſuperiour, or Biſhop of the Dioceſe doth ſuffice; and yet the words, or text of the Rule remaine intire, as they were firſt written, becauſe once they had their effect and force, though they be voide at preſent. Againe, in the end of the 3. chapt: it is lawfull for the Chaplain to celebrate with­in the Monaſterie, for commu­nicating26 of the ſick, and yet, for many important reaſons, it hath been iudged needfull to alter it; ordering that Maſſe be celebrated without the Mo­naſterie, and that afterwards, the ſick within, if needfull, may be cōmunicated. Thirdly in the 8. chapt: it is mention­ed, that ſome ſecular Perſons may enter the Monaſterie to viſit the ſick, which now, is expreſly forbidden by the H: Council of Trent in the 25. ſeſſion and 5. chapt: that none enter, but with ſuch reſtrained conditiōs as are there ſpecified. Laſtly, to omitt diuers other ſuch like inſtances and examples, which27 in this Holy Rule occurre fre­quently, J wil only mention one more, which by miſ-vn­derſtāding, might proue a ſtū­bling-block, in ſome ons way, if not fore-ſeen in time, and maturely preuented.

Jt is ſpecified, in the 1. chapt of the Rule, that, as S. Clare, in the beginning of her conuer­ſion, with her ſiſters promiſed obedience to the moſt Holy Father S. Francis, ſoe in like ſort, doth ſhe prcmiſe to obſerue the ſame obedience inuiolably vnto his ſuc­ceſſours, and the other ſiſters are alwais obliged to obey the ſucceſ­ſours of H: S. Francis. Theſe words are wrightly to be vn­derſtood,28 not as written by the pen of the ſeraphical Father, [as appeares euident; for, he would neuer haue caled, or giuen him ſelf the title of the H: and moſt H: Father S. Fran­cis] but litterally, of thoſe Monaſteries, or Cōuents only, which, by authoritie and leaue of the ſea Apoſtolique, are immediatly ſubiect to the Ju­riſdiction of the Friar-Minors; and not of thoſe, which by their owne requeſt, or ap­pointmēt of his Holineſſe the Pope of Rome, or immediatly by them ſelues, are ſubiected to the gouernment and Juriſ­diction of the Biſhops of the29 Dioceſſes: for, theſe rendring their dutie, and obedience to their Ordinarie, neither can, nor may, any ways, ſubmitt themſelues, to the Ju­riſdiction of the ſucceſſours of S. Francis.

And if we make reflection on the eminent high dignitie of a Biſhop in his Dioceſe, and the esteeme wee ought to haue of his ſoe ſingular and choice title of Ordinarie, we ſhal find, it doth import noe leſſe, then a Juriſdiction and power deliuered vnto him, both by the natural and writtē law of God: for God, hath ſoe diſpoſed in nature, that the30 members of a body be ſubiect vnto the head, and particular perſons to the cheef of the Communitie. ſeeing therfore all Chriſtians are members of that particular Church of Chriſt, in whoſe Dioceſe they are, of which Church the Biſhop is head and cheef; it followeth, that as members and parts of the ſame Church, they reuerence and obey him, as placed by God, for their head and guide; according to that ſaying of S. Cyprian It is eſtabliſhed by GodsS. Cy­prian l. 4. epiſt:. law, ſaith he, that Churches ſhould be conſtituted vpon Biſhops, and the parts of31 euery Church ſhould be gouern­ed by the ſame Prelats; and this authoritie, or power is found­ed in thoſe words of the 20. of the Acts of the Apoſtles, wher it's ſayd; The H: Ghost hath placed you Biſhops to rule the Church of God, which he hath purchaſed with his bloud; ſoe that, it is more euident then the light at mid-day, ſaith Domi­nicus Soto a learned author of that age libro 10. de Jure et Juſtitia quaeſtione prima, art. primo, that Chriſt did inſtitute the dignitie of Biſhops which now is floriſhing in the mili­ant Church of Christ our Lord God, at whoſe Conſecration ſhe32 vſeth this prayier: lett him be a faithfull and prudent ſeruant, whom thou Lord doſt appoint ouer thy familie, to giue it meatein due ſeaſon, and to make euery man perfect. Wherfore, to deſcēd to particulars, by way of Conclu­ſiō, ſeeing the poore Clares are of them, which Chriſt purchaſed with his owne bloud, ſeeing they are parts of that houſe, which Chriſt built vpon the rock, ſeeing they are children of Chriſts familie wanting meate, and of them, who muſt be made perfect to Chriſt, they muſt therfore be alſo ſubiect onto him, who by God, is placed ouer them as Ordinarie, and33 Biſhop to rule the Church of God, vnleſſe by an extraordinarie and ſpeacial priuiledge of the ſupreme Uicaire of Chriſt, they ſhould chance to be ex­empted from this his Ordi­narie Juriſdiction and power, which the Popes of Rome haue been ſoe farr from grāt­ing, that euen the contrarie hath been at ſeueral times by them declared, in different and expreſſe Bulls, as occa­ſion required.

Which truth wil appeare more euident, if we reflect how the order of Friar-Minors eſpeacially in time of the Ge­neralate of S. Bonauenture,34 procured of the Popes Holi­neſſe, an act, wherby he de­clared them to be exempt and wholy free, frō all charge and care of the ſaid religious woemen. Hence it followed, that the Friar-Minors would by noe means admitt, or ac­knowledge, that they had any power, or Juriſdiction ouer the ſaid Religious of S. Clare, but abſolutely refuſed to come neer their Monaſteries, or to adminiſter the H: Sacraments vnto them, vnleſſe the ſiſters had firſt aſſured them, by a publique Jnſtrumēt in writing, that their aſſiſting them, was out of Charitie, and not out35 of obligation of dutie.

Hence F: Emmanuel Ro­dericus, a graue and learned Authour of the ſaid Order, in his 3. tome of Regular que­ſtions 72. queſt: 1. Artic. 3. Conclus: plainly deliuered his opiniō and iudgment, in point of the Friars hauing charge of Monaſteries of Woemen, in theſe words, as followeth. I wiſh, ſaith he, that all Nunnes, of what Regular Jn­ſtitute ſoeuer, were ſubiect to the Ordinarie, eſpecially in our Religion of Friar-Minors, in which, we can not take care, of their poſ­ſeſſions and rents, as others36 may.And the ſeraphical Father S. Francis him ſelf, doth in this point abundantly declare his intentiō and mean­ing, in thoſe his words cited by F: Wadding, in his Chro­nicles, on the yeare of our Lord 1219. S. Francis, ſaith he, intending his iourney vnto the Sultan in the Eaſt, the Cardinal Protector Hu­goline conferred with him, concerning the care and gouernment of the poore Dames of S. Damian and other Monaſteries, which began to be multiplied. The H: Father replyed, that for his part, beſid's that Mona­ſterie37 only, in which he had encloſed ſiſter Clare, he neither had built, nor pro­cured any to be built, and ſoe, had taken care of none, but of that only of S. Da­mian, in order vnto Regu­lar diſcipline; prouiding them ſome poore temporal means, by begging for thē. He added further, that nothing did ſoe much diſ­pleaſe him, as that his Bre­thren in other parts, earneſtly endeauoured to haue houſes built for Religious Woemē, and to haue them vnder their gouernmēt and charge.S. Francis, it's true, neuer38 omitted to performe this cha­ritable dutie, towards the Mo­naſterie of S. Damian, wherin S. Clare was incloſed, as F: Wadding wel noteth, and ad­deth further,that this his example gaue exteriourly occaſion vnto his Brethren, to aſſiſt other Monaſteries, who either by perſuaſion, or entreatie, did ſoe intrude thē ſelues into thoſe buſineſſes, that when the ſecret miſ­cheef broke forth ād ſhewed it ſelf [as it hapned to their owne great domage, vnder Urban the 4.] they could not withdraw in time, and ſhunne the inconueniences39 that inſued.F: Wadding in the ſame place, hath much more cōcerning this ſubiect, which for diuers reaſons, J purpoſely omitt.

Jt followeth cleerly, by what hath been ſayd, that neither S. Francis, the Au­thour of this H. Rule, euer intended to ſubiect theſe Re­ligious Woemen, vnder the Obedience of his Order, [but rather the contrarie] nor that the Order euer accepted, but rather oppoſed and ſhaked off this great charge and burden; wheras, notwithſtanding, ac­ceptance on both ſid's is ne­ceſſarie to make a contract40 valid in Law, as all Doctors vnanimouſly doe profeſſe and teach: ſoe that, as Malderus wel noteth, lib. de Jure et Juſtitia: tract: 1. cap: 9. dub: 10. Although it were certaine, ſaith he, and the caſe ſuſppoſed as true, that S. Francis, and S. Clare had made a contract, one with the other, ſhe, in the name of her ſiſters, promiſing Obe­dience, and he in the name of his Brothers, to haue a perpetual care of the ſiſters, that by this means, they might the better obſerue their ſublime Pouertie; yet, becauſe his ſucceſſours did41 not fulfill and keep this his promiſe, as we haue ſeene in the time of S. Bonauen­ture, for this reaſon, the pro­miſe of S. Clare, hath long ſince ceaſed to oblige the ſiſters of theſe ages.

Neither muſt this ſeeme ſtrange vnto any: for the obligation of keeping a Law, doth ceaſe, ſaith Malderus, in the place afore-mentioned, when the occaſion, or cauſe for which the law was made, doth ceaſe: but the occaſion, or reaſon why S. Clare pro­miſed Obedience vnto S. Frā­cis and his ſucceſſours, was her earneſt deſire of moſt42 ſublime Pouertie ioyn'd with a ſtrict incloſure, which ſhe knew fullwell, could not be effected nor hoped for, with­out aſſiſtance and releef, by the begging of S. Francis and his Brethren for them; but the Friar-Minors after the departure of the ſaint, abſo­lutely refuſing this charge and burden, and procuring more­ouer a declaration from his Holineſſe Pope Urban the 4. that they were to be exempt and wholy free from all care of the ſaid Religious Woemen, and by noe obli­gation bound to vndergoe it;it followeth by way of43 conſequence, that the ſaid ſiſters are in noe ways obliged to what ſoeuer cōtract, or pro­miſe S. Clare might chance to haue made in their behalf; ſeeing, that both the occaſion, or cauſe, why ſhe might haue made that promiſe, doth ceaſe, and the ſucceſſours of S. Frā­cis haue refuſed to accept the condition, and vndergoe the burden.

Laſtly, J conclude, that although all that can be ob­iected, were ſuppoſed and granted, yet, as all Doctors vnanimouſly affirme, a pro­miſe ceaſeth to oblige, whē an higher ſuperiour by lawfull44 autoritie doth releaſe it; and his Holineſſe the Pope of Ro­me, can releaſe promiſes made euen to God him ſelf, as is manifeſt: but different Popes, and in particular, Jnnocent the 4. by his Bull here annexed, beginning, Recto aſſumpto tra­mite, hath not only releaſed the ſaid Friar-Minors from all ſuperioritie, charge and care, which here-to-fore they migth pretend to haue had, ouer the Religious Woemen of the order of S. Clare, but doth alſo in Uertue of H: Obedience, ſtrictly commād and enioyne vnder paine of Excommunication, all and45 euery one of the Order of Friar-Minors, that hēce forth, they exerciſe noe Juriſdictiō whatſoeuer, ouer the aforeſaid Abbeſſes, Nunnes, or Mo­naſteries of S. Clare, ſeeing that abſolutly they haue none. Hence it followeth, that ſeeing the Friar-Minors haue noe Ju­riſdiction or power, ouer the Religious Woemen of the Order of S. Clare, that the ſaid ſiſters alſoe haue noe obligation of Obedience, or ſubiection towards the afore­ſayd ſuperiours, or Prelats of the Order of Friar-Minors.

And to deſcend more to particulars, in the yeare of46 our Lord 1631. his Holineſſe Pope Urban the 8. was gra­ciouſly pleaſed, to ſend a par­ticular Breue, to the Abbeſſe ād Religious of the order of S. Clare reſyding in the Towne of Graueling, dated the laſt of May, in the 8. yeare of his Popedome; which being faith­fully tranſlated, we haue alſo thought fitt here, to ſett down; where he declareth in expreſſe termes, the ſaid Religious Woemen, to be in noe wyes, ſubiect to the ſuperiours of the Order of Friar-Minors, but that they, and their Mo­naſteries are, by his expreſſe command, reſtoared to the47 Obedience and ſubiection of their Ordinarie the Lord Bi­ſhop of S. Omers; they hauing been ſubiect vnto him from the very beginning of their ſettlement and admiſſion into that Towne; their admiſſiō being limited with this con­dition, to liue vnder the Obe­dience and Iuriſdiction of the Lord Biſhop of the Dioceſe: as appears in the letters of grant, giuen by his Highneſſe Arch-Duke Albertus, dated at Bruſ­ſels the 7. of October 1608. as alſo in the letters of re­ception of the Baron Guer­nouual, then Gouernour of the Towne of Graueling, and48 Founder in part, of the ſaid Monaſterie; bearing date 26. of Auguſt. 1627. and laſtly in the letters of admiſſion of the ſaid Towne, dated the ſame yeare and day; all three in­ſerting, in expreſſe termes, this condition, as neceſſarie for their admittance, that they be euer ſubiect to the Ordinarie, the Lord Biſhop of S. Omers.

Lett it therfore remaine, as concluded and certaine, that thoſe Monaſteries of the order of S. Clare, which can not make appeare, by particular grant and priuiledge of the ſea Apoſtolique, their poſitiue exemption from the Juriſdic­tion49 of the Biſhop, that they are and ought to remaine ſub­iect to the ſaid Biſhop of their Dioceſe, who therfore is know'n vnder the notion and title of Ordinarie: and ſeeing the Poore Clares in the Towne of Graueling, haue not on­ly their admittance limited by the Prince, Towne and Go­ueruour, and by thē reſtrained to this obligation or condition of being ſubiect to the Ordi­narie; but are more ouer, by a particular Breue ſent them by Pope Urban the 8. expreſly cōmanded to liue and remaine [as we haue ſayd] vnder the Obedience of the Lord Biſhop of50 S. Omers; excluding in expreſſe words, all whatſoeuer pre­tended power, the Friar-Mi­nors haue, ore might ſeeme to haue ouer them; ſeeing, [as Pope Jnnocent the 4. aboue mentioned doth alſo declare] that abſolutely they haue none, it followeth, that they are, and ought to remaine ſubiect, and obedient to the ſaid Lord Biſhop, and that, the Obedi­ence mentioned in the firſt Chapter of their Rule, re­maines [as now it is] by ſu­preme Authoritie, transfer­red, or reſtoared to the Perſon of the afore-ſayd Lord Bi­ſhop, or Ordinarie.


THE BVLL OF POPE INNOCENT THE FOVRTH, declaring the Nunnes of the order of S. CLARE, not to be ſubiect to the Friar-Minors by their Rule giuen by S. FRANCIS, and forbidding the ſaid Friars to exerciſe any Iuriſdictiō ouer thē vnder what pre­tence ſoeuer.


INNOCENT BISHOP Seruāt of the ſeruants of God,

To our Beloued Sonnes, the General and Prouin­cial Miniſters of the Order of the Friar-Minors health and Apoſtolical Be­nediction.

THE trauailer that hath taken the right path, wherby he may con­ueniently attaine to his intēd­ed ourneys end, ſhould labour53 in vaine, and vnprofitably endeauour to find out other trackes: for the more differēt wayes he tryeth, the more doth he delay his iourney, and whiles he doth haſten, he doth the more hinder himſelf, and the way which perchance is but ſhort, he maketh long by inconſiderate digreſſions; be­cauſe one, that tryeth diuers paths, may eaſily ſtray from the right, and ſoe wander out of his way; and he that ſoe trauaileth, arriueth ſtill late to his iourny's end; yea, his going on, in this ſort, is rather a going back from the end it ſelf. Hence the varietie and54 noueltie of wayes is to be auoyded, and the ancient and firſt way carefully to beretain­ed; ſeeing the old ways are better know'n then the newer, and one may trauaile more confidently by the tracke of the one, then of the other. Wherfore, they that can walk well in the beaten path, lett them with care auoide the vnuſed.

We haue been euer deſirous that our beloued daughters in Chriſt, the Abbeſſes, and Re­ligious of the order of S. Da­mian, who flying from the ſlipperie downfalls of the world, haue choſe the ſecure55 retirement of Clauſtral ſoli­tude, might conſtantly ſerue our Lord in the obſeruance of that Rule, wherby they may more readily obtaine e­ternal reward.

Hence ſome time ſince, did We, by our letters enioyne our Venerable Brother the Biſhop of Oſtia, and Veletre, that he ſhould not permitt them to be compelled to the vndertak­ing of a new forme of life, or the ancient [by Vs, being then at Lions changed,] vnleſſe it ſhould ſeeme vnto him more expediēt for their ſalua­tion; but that he ſhould pro­cure the ancient Rule, which56 the afore-ſayd Abbeſſes and Nunnes had admitted in the firſt inſtitution of their Order, to be by them inuiolably ob­ſerued, if thereby the good and perfectiō of their ſoules might be aduanced; granting him power to compell by Eccle­ſiaſtical Cenſures, without admitting appeale, whoſoeuer ſhould contradict him.

He [as by his owne Rela­tion We haue vnderſtood] deſirous with all diligence to fulfill our Commands; per­ceiuing [after ſerious delibe­ration] it would be more pro­fitable for them, firmly to obſerue the ancient Rule,57 which in the very beginning of their Religion, they had re­ceiued by the carefull endea­uour of our Predeceſſour Pope Gregorie of happy me­morie; iudged it noe ways ex­pedient to receiue the new one, or to haue the old Rule changed; nor to forſake the former good and holeſome way, for an other newly found out, or decline the accuſtom­ed, for an vnaccuſtomed courſe of life.

Wherfore, by power of our fore-ſaid letters, he gaue in writing, a moſt ſtrict com­mand, in Vertue of Obe­dience, to the Abbeſſes and58 Nunnes before named, not to admit in any ways, the afore­ſaid new Rule at the com­mand giuen, or to be giuen by any Miniſter, or Friar of your Order what ſoeuer; but to keep the afore-ſaid old Rule for euer, in all ages to come.

And ſeeing it is contained in that new Rule, that you, the General and Prouincial Mi­niſters of your Order, haue Juriſdictiō ouer the forenam­ed Abbeſſes and Nunnes [as it appeareth indeed, that, by that Rule, Juriſdictiō is giuen vnto you, and to other Mini­ſters, who for the time ſhal be] the ſaid Biſhop gaue by Our59 authoritie, in his letters, an ex­preſſe Cōmand, to you gather­ed to geather in a General Chapter of your Order at Ge­noua, that you ſhould not inter­meddle here-after with any Ju­riſdiction ouer the forenamed Abbeſſes and Nunnes, nor their Monaſteries, nor preſume to exerciſe any authoritie ouer the ſame, for the time to come.

And by other letters to the ſame Abbeſſes and Nunnes afore-mētioned, he enioyned, that they ſhould noe more obey, or be ſubiect vnto you, nor to other Miniſters, that for the time ſhould be, but that they ſhould humbly re­ſpect60 and obey him, and ſuch Viſitours, as he ſhould ap­point for their Monaſteries.

But you, not liſtning to the precept of the ſaid Biſhop, as it was your duty, neglected to obſerue the ſame; entring the fore-ſaid Monaſteries by your owne authoritie and good pleaſure, contrarie to the tenour of their Rule; ſome­times alſo deſigning and ſend­ing thither, ſome of your Friars; vſing endeauours, that the fore-ſaid Abbeſſes and Nunnes ſhould not regard the Commands of the Biſhop be­fore mentioned; often-times encountring and ſtopping his61 meſſengers and letters; diſput­ing moreouer, yea and difi­nitiuely, affirming, that you were not bound to regard, or obey the ſaid Biſhop, but in ſome caſes only.

Wherfore, to you all and to all the Friars of your Or­der, in Vertue of Obedience, vnder paine of Excommuni­cation, by theſe Apoſtolical letters, We, by ſtrict precept enioyne, that you obey the afore-mentioned Biſhop, and his commands and letters in all things; and that, ouer the afore-named Abbeſſes and Nunnes, or their Monaſteries, here-after, you exerciſe no Ju­riſdiction62 whatſoeuer; ſeeing that ouer them, you haue none at all; and that you neither endea­uour, by word or deed, ſe­cretly or openly, by your ſelues or others, that the afore­ſaid Abbeſſes and Nunnes ſhould not regard and obſerue the commands of the ſaid Biſhop, and that you neuer oppoſe your ſelues to his meſſengers or letters.

But rather, ſeeing as wel your Order, as theirs, is com­mitted by the Sea Apoſto­lique, to the care of the ſaid Biſhop, who with a vigilant eye doth not ceaſe carefully to procure the aduancement63 of both; you are deuoutly to admit, and inuiolably to ob­ſerue his precepts, as wel in the things afore-ſayd, as in all others; eſpeacially, ſeeing that as wel you, as all the Friars of your Order, next to the Pope of Rome, are bound to reſpect and obey your Cardinal, appointed by the ſea Apoſtolique, to haue the charge and cuſtodie of your Order.

Otherwiſe, the ſentence and cenſure, which the afore­named Biſhop ſhal giue a­gainſt ſuch as diſobey, or re­bell, We wil ratifie the ſame, and make it [God willing]64 to be inuiolably obſerued, vntil condigne ſatisfaction be giuen; not admitting of any appeale to the contrarie; not­withſtanding any ſtatutes, priuiledges, or Apoſtolical letters, of what tenour ſoeuer they may be, either granted, or here-after to be granted to you, or to any of yours, or to your Order, in any ways to the cōtrarie. Giuen at Perugia the 17. day of March, the tenth yeare of our Pope-dome.



To the Engliſh Poore CLARES in the Towne of Grauel­ing, wherby he reſtoares them to the Iuriſdiction or Obe­dience of the Lord Bi­ſhop of S. Omers.
Pope URBAN the 8.

TO Future Memorie. Jt was lately propoſed vnto Us, in the name of our dearly beloued Daught­ers66 in Chriſt, the Abbeſſe, and Religious of S. Francis, of the Engliſh Monaſterie in Graueling, caled Clariſſes, of the Dioceſe of S. Omers, that the ſayd Monaſterie, from the firſt beginning of its Founda­tion, hath been ſubiect to the Gouernment and Juriſdiction of the Biſhop of S. Omers, ſince, by his conniuance, to the Order of S. Francis of Friar-Minors called Obſeruants. Whence, the ſayd ſuppliants, faling into great difficulties with the afore-ſayd Friar-Mi­nors, by Command of our Uenerable Brothers, the Lord Cardinals, deputed ouer the67 cauſes of Regulars, and by an expreſſe Decree of our Be­loued ſonne, the then Nun­tius of the ſea Apoſtolique reſiding in thoſe parts, bear­ing date the 23. of Februarie 1628. Wherby the afore-men­tioned Monaſterie, was reſtor­ed to the Obedience of the afore-ſaid Biſhop, or Ordi­narie, enioying vnder his Ju­riſdiction much tranquillitie and peace. And it being mē­tioned in the ſame expoſitiō, that the afore-ſayd ſuppliants, deſyred earneſtly, the reſtor­ing of the ſayd Monaſterie to the Juriſdiction of the afore-mentioned Ordinarie68 might be ſtrengthned by the Confirmation of our Apoſto­lical Decree: We, inclined to the requeſts hūbly preſented vnto Us, in their behalf, doe abſolue the ſaid ſuppliants, for the obtaining only of the effect of theſe, and eſteeme each one of them by force of theſe, truly abſolued from whatſoeuer Excommunicati­on, ſuſpenſion, or Jnterdict, or from whatſoeuer other Eccleſiaſtical ſentenſes, cen­ſures, or puniſhment inflicted by whatſoeuer occaſion, either by man or law, if in any ways they ſhould chāce to be intan­gled in the ſame. More ouer69 We, approue and ratifie by theſe preſēt, and by Apoſtoli­cal Authoritie, the afore-con­firmed reſtitution of the ſaid Religious and Monaſterie, vnder the Juriſdiction of the afore-named Biſhop, or Ordi­narie; adding vnto it, the ſtrength of our Apoſtolical firmneſſe; ſupplying all and euery defect [if any ſhould haue hapned] in law, or fact whatſoeuer: declaring the afore-ſayd Decrees of the Lord Cardinals and Nuntius, as alſo theſe our preſent Let­ters, to be, and be eſteemed valid, firme, and efficacious, and inuiolably to be obſerued70 by all, whome at preſent, or for the future, it may concerne; and ought thus to be defined and iudged, by whatſoeuer Judges, Ordina­ries, or Delegates, euen thoſe of our Apoſtolical Pallace. More ouer, it is declared null, and voide, if any Perſon of what authoritie ſoeuer, either wittingly, or willingly ſhould preſume to attempt the con­trarie; any conſtitutions, A­poſtolical ordinations, ſtatuts, cuſtomes priuiledges, grāts, euen ratified by oath, or ſtrengthned by whatſoeuer Apoſtolical confirmation, or letters, granted, confirmed,71 or innouated, to the contra­rie in any ways: notwith­ſtanding; leauing all and euery one of them, as at other times, in their accuſtomed force, We will [at this time only, to the obtaining of the effect of theſe] that they be ſpeacialy, and expreſly an­nulled, and derogated.


THE APOSTOLICAL CONFIRMATION OF THE RVLE. which Bleſſed S. Francis gaue vnto the Holy Mother S. Clare.

INNOCENT Biſhop ſeruant of the ſeruants of God: To our beloued Daughters in Chriſt, Clare Abbeſſe, and the other Siſters of the Mo­naſterie of S. Damian at Aſsiſium. Health, and Apoſtolical Benedictiō

THe Apoſtolical ſea, being accuſtomed to condeſcēd to the pious requeſts, and holy73 deſires of her ſuppliants; and you hauing addreſt your hū­ble ſuite vnto Us, in order to the approuing and ſtrengthn­ing with our Apoſtolical Cō­firmation the Forme of life, wherby, you ought to liue in common, vnitie of ſpirit, and profeſſion of moſt ſublime po­uertie: the ſaid Rule, hauing been giuen, by the Holy S. Francis, by you freely accept­ed, and by our venerable Bro­ther the Biſhop of Oſtia and Ueletre approued and con­firmed, as is more amply cō­tained in the letters of the ſaid Biſhop, conformable to Our Apoſtolical authoritie, com­mitted74 vnto him, in this behalf.

We therfore, condeſcend­ing to your deuout requeſts, doe againe ratifie, by Apoſtoli­cal authoritie, and confirme, by theſe preſent, what the ſaid Biſhop did in this behalf; in­ſerting herein, the tenour of his letters, word by word, as followeth.

Ugoline, by the grace of God, Biſhop of Oſtia and Ve­letre, to his moſt deare Mo­ther, and Daughters in Chriſt, Clare Abbeſs of S. Damian at Aſſiſium, and her Siſters, as wel preſent, as to come, health and fatherly bene­diction.

75For as much as you, my dearly beloued Daughters in Chriſt, contemning the pompes, and vanities of the world, and deſyring to tread the footſteps of JESUS Chriſt and his moſt Holy Mother, haue choſen to liue in pouertie, and incloſed, that you may with more libertie and puritie of ſpirit, attend to the ſeruice of his diuine Majeſtie: we, commending in our Lord, your holy reſo­lutions; doe, out of our fa­therly affection, condeſcend graciouſly vnto your petitiōs and pious deſires, and by au­thoritie of his Holineſſe and76 of Ours, confirme for you, and all thoſe, that ſhal ſucceed you, in your Monaſterie, the forme and rule of life, of holy vnion and moſt ſublime pouertie, which the Bleſſed Father S. Francis, by word and writing, hath deliuered vnto you, to be obſerued; and is, as followeth.


IN NOMINE DOMINI. Amen. THE RVLE OR FORME OF LIFE Of the Poore Siſters of the Order of S. CLARE.

J. CHAPT. Of the promiſe of Obedience.

1. THE Rule, and Forme of life, of the Order of the poore Siſters, which Bleſ­ſed S. Francis hath inſtituted,78 is this: to obſerueIn this Chap­ter, nothing is mētioned, but the 3. Vovvs: for the Ordi­nances and Profeſſion, ſpeak ſuffici­ently of the Vovv, vvhich the Siſters make, of in­cloſure. the holy Ghoſpel of our Lord Jeſus Chriſt; liuing in obedience, with­out proprietie, and in chaſtitie.

2. Clare vnwor­thy Hand-Maid of Chriſt, and lit­tle plant of the moſt Holy Father S. Francis, promiſeth obedience, and reuerence to Pope Jnnocent, and to his ſucceſſours, lawfully and ca­nonically ſucceeding, in the Church of Rome.

3. And, as in the beginning of her conuerſion, ſhe, with79 her ſiſters, promiſed obedience to the moſt Holy Father S. Francis; ſoe, in like ſort, doth ſhe promiſe to obſerue the like obedience inuiolably vnto his ſucceſſours. * AndTheſe vvords are vnderſtood of thoſe Mo­naſteries only, vvhich are ſub­iect to the Or­der; For, vvhē the Monaſterie is immediatly ſubiect to the Biſhop, then, the Obedience here mention­ed, is, by au­thoritie of the Sea Apoſto­lique, trāsferred from the Friar-Minors, and is due to the Perſon of the Lord Biſhop of the Dioceſe, vvherin they liue, and to his Succeſſours. the other ſiſters are always obliged to obey the ſuc­ceſſours of Holy S. Francis, and to obey alſo, ſiſter Clare, ād all other Abbeſſes, who ca­nonically choſen, ſhal ſucceed her.


Of the Examen, and other things to be obſerued in the Receptiō of the ſiſters into the Order, and of their Profeſsion. JJ. CHAPT.

1. When any one, moued by diuine inſpiratiō, ſhal preſent her ſelf vnto you, to imbrace this courſe of life, the Abbeſs ſhal be bound to aſke the conſent of all the ſiſters; and if the greater part giue their voiceThe Biſhop by him ſelf, or his Vicar, is to examen, and receiue the nouice thus preſented, as is ordained in the Council of Trent Seſſ. 25. cap. 17. [the licence of the Lord Cardinal your Protector, bee­ing firſt obtain­ed]81 the Abbeſs may receiue her.

2. When ſhe is to be admit­ed, the Abbeſs ſhal diligently examen her, or cauſe her to be examined, concerning the Catholique Faith and the Sacraments of the Church: all which, if ſhe doe firmly beleeue, faithfully profeſſe, and wil ſtidfaſtly obſerue to the end; then [if ſhe haue noe huſband, or if he, [with leaue of the Biſhop of his Dioceſe] be entred into Religion, and hath made a vow of chaſti­tie; more-ouer if ſhe be not too far in yeares, nor haue any ſickneſſe, or weakneſſe of82 head, which might hinder her, from the obſeruance of this courſe of life] ſhal be dili­gently declared vnto her, the contents and tenour of your forme of life.

3. And if ſhe be fitt, and willing, thoſe words of the Holy Ghoſpel ſhal be ſayd vnto her, that ſhe goe, and ſell all ſhe hath, andThis is to be ob­ſerued at the Profeſſion, as the Council of Trent appointeth Seſſ. 25. cap. 16, giue it to the poore. * Which, if ſhe can not ef­fect, her good will ſhal ſuffiſe.

4. The Abbeſs and ſiſters ſhal be very carefull, not to buſie their minds, by medling83 with her temporall goods, to the end, ſhe may freely diſpoſe of them; according as our Lord ſhal inſpire her.

5. Neuertheleſſe, if ſhe here­in, doe aſk their counſel, they ſhal ſend her to ſome diſcreet perſon, fearing God; by whoſe direction, her goods may be diſtributed vnto the poore.

6. Then her haire being cutt of round, and her ſecular habit taken away, the Abbeſs ſhal lend her three coates, and one cloake: after which time, it is not lawfull for her, to goe out of the Monaſterie, with­out manifeſt and profitable cauſe.

847. The yeare of her proba­tion expired, ſheThis is to be vn­derſtood, that ſhe be receiued, if the Superiours iudge her fitt, and ther be noe impedi­ment; other vviſe, that ſhe be ſent out of the Mo­naſterie, as is or­dained in the Council of Trēt ſeſſ 25. cap. 16. ſhal be receiued to obedience; promiſing per­petually * to ob­ſerue your mā­ner of pouertie, and forme of life

8. None ſhal receiue the vaile; during the time of Probation.

9. The ſiſters may haue little cloakes for modeſtie, and commoditie of their ſer­uiſe, and labour.

10. The Abbeſs ſhall diſcreet­ly prouide, that the ſiſters haue cloathes, according to85 the qualitie of the perſons, times, places and climats, as ſhe ſhal iudge their neceſſitie to require.

11. They, who are receiued into the Monaſterie, before ſufficient years; hauing their haire cutt of, and their ſecu­lar habit taken away, ſhal be cloathed with ſuch cloath, as the Religious; according to the diſcretion of the Abbeſs; and when they are come to fitt age; taking the habit as others doe, they ſhal make their probation.

12. And the Abbeſs, as wel for them, as for other Nouices, ſhal carefully pro­uide86 a Miſtreſſe, one of the diſcreeteſt of the Monaſterie, who is diligently to inſtruct them in modeſt manners and holy conuerſation; according to the forme of your Pro­feſſion.

13. The ſame manner ſhal be obſerued in the admittāce of the ſiſters, who ſerue with­out the Monaſterie; and thoſe ſiſters may weare ſhoes.

14. None may dwell with­in the Monaſterie, vnleſſe they be receiued; according to the forme of your Profeſſion.

15. J doe admoniſh, pray and requeſt my ſiſters, that for the loue of the moſt Holy,87 and ſweet child JESUS, who was wrapped in poor cloutes, and layd in a crib, and for the loue of his Holy Mother, that they alwais deſire to be clad in poore cloathes.

Of the Diuine Office, fasting, Confeſsion and Cōmunion. JJJ. CHAPT.

1. THe ſiſters, that can read, when they may haue breuiaries, ſhal ſay the diuine office, according to the cuſtome of the Friar-Mi­nors; reading it without ſong: and they, who ſometimes, for ſome reaſonable impediment,88 are hindred frō reading their office, may ſay Pater nosters in lieu therof, as other ſiſters doe, who can not read.

2. Thoſe ſiſters, who can not read, ſhal ſay 24. Pater noſters for Matines, 5. for Laudes, for Prime, Tierce, Sexte, and None, for each of them 7. For euen­ſong 12. for Compline 7.

3. For the Euenſong of the dead, they ſhal ſay alſo 7. Pa­ter noſters with Requiem aeter­nam, for the Matines 12. The ſiſters, who can reade, are bound to recite the office of the dead.

4. When any ſiſter of the Monaſterie is departed this89 life, the ſiſters ſhal ſay 50. Pater nosters for her ſoule.

5. The ſiſters ſhal alwais faſt; but on the Natiuitie of our Lord, they may make two refections, vpon what day ſoeuer it hapneth. With the young, weake, and thoſe who ſerue whithout the Mo­naſterie, the Abbeſs may charitably diſpenſe, when ſhe thinketh good; but in time of manifeſt neceſſitie, the ſi­ſters are not obliged to cor­poral faſting.

6. They ſhal confeſſe, with licence of the Abbeſs, at the leaſt 12. times in the yeare, and then, lett them take care,90 that they mingle nor any words, which appertaine not to Confeſſion, or the good of their ſoules.

7. They ſhal receiue the H: Sacrament of the altar ſeauē times in the yeare, as on the Natiuitie of our Lord, on Maunday thurſday, Eaſterday, Whittſonday, the Aſſumptiō of the Bleſſed Virgin Marie, S. Francis his day, and vpon the feaſt of all ſaints.

8. The Chaplaine may ce­lebrate within the Monaſte­rie, for communicating of the ſick.


Of the Election of the Abbeſs. JU. CHAPT.

1. IN the Election of the Abbeſs, the ſiſters are bound to ob­ſerue the**The Conſtitu­tion of Grego­rie the 15. vvill haue the Biſhop, or his Vicar to be preſent at the Election of the Abbeſs: And if the Siſters be vn­der the gouern­ment of the ſayd Biſhop, they are in time, to ac­quaint him, or his Vicar, to knovv his vvill and leaſure; con­cerning the future election. Ca­nonical forme.

2. Lett them procure to haue the General Mi­niſter, or the Prouincial of the Friar-Minors, who, with the word of God, ſhal exhort thē to concord and92 vnion, and to ſeek the com­mon good in the election.

3. None ſhal be choſen, who is not Profeſſed, or if ſuch an one were choſen, or otherwiſe giuen for Abbeſs, they ſhal not obey her, vnleſſe ſhe firſt vow to obſerue the forme of their Pouertie.

4. When the Abbeſs dyeth, the election of an other ſhal be made.

5. Jf at any time, it ſhal ſeeme to the communitie; that the Abbeſs elected, be not ſufficient for the ſeruiſe of the ſiſters, and the cōmon good; the ſayd ſiſters are obliged to choſe an other, as93 ſpeedely as they can; accord­ing to the forme afore-ſayd.

6. Lett her, who is elected, weigh and conſider, what a burden ſhe hath taken vpon her, and to whom ſhe muſt render an account of the flock committed vnto her. Lett her ſtriue to be ſuperiour in vertues, and to exceed others in holy manners, rather then in office; to the end, the ſiſters, moued by her example, may obey her, more for loue, then feare.

7. Lett her baniſh all parti­cular affections, leaſt parti­cularitie breed ſcandall to the communitie.

948. Lett her be the comfort and laſt refuge to the afflicted, leaſt the weak, wanting relief by her meanes, may chāce to be ouercome, by the ſadneſs of deſpaire.

9. She ſhal follow the Com­munitie in all things, eſpe­cially in the Church, dormi­torie, refectorie and infir­marie; as alſo in her attire, the which, her Uicareſs is alſo obliged to obſerue.

10. The Abbeſs ſhal aſſem­ble the ſiſters to Chapter, at the leaſt, once a weeke; wher, ſhe and the other ſiſters are humbly to acknowledge all their publique offences and negligences.

9511. Lett her ther conferr with all her ſiſters, of thoſe things, which are to be treated of, for the good and decencie of the Monaſterie; for it often happeneth, that God reuealeth vnto the leaſt, what is beſt to be done.

12. Noe great debts ſhal be contracted, or made, without manifeſt neceſſitie and com­mon cōſent of the ſiſters, and that, by meanes of their Pro­curatour.

13. Lett the Abbeſs, with her ſiſters, take care, that they receiue, nor keep any thing for others, within the Mona­ſterie; for, oftentimes, by theſe96 meanes, ariſeth trouble and ſcandall.

14. For the better conſeru­ing of mutual peace and vniō, all the officers of the Mona­ſterie ſhal be choſen by com­mon conſent of all the ſiſters.

15. They ſhal chuſe, in like manner, at the leaſt, eight ſiſters of the diſcreeter, whoſe counſel the Abbeſs is bound to vſe, in what concernes their forme of life.

16. The ſiſters may, and ought ſometimes to change the officers and diſcreets, and chuſe others in their pla­ces, when they ſhal iudge it expedient and profitable.


Of ſilence, and of the manner of ſpeaking at the Grate and ſpeakehouſe. U. CHAPT.

1. THE ſiſters ſhal keep ſilēce from the howre of Compline, vntil Tierce; thoſe excepted, who ſerue without the Monaſterie.

2. They ſhal euer keep ſi­lence in the Church and dor­mitorie; but in the refectorie, in time of refection only. And it is always lawfull for the ſiſters, to ſpeake diſcreetly in the infirmarie, for the atten­dance and recreation of the ſicke.

983. The ſiſters may neuerthe­leſſe, at all times and places, ſpeake breifly, and with a low voice, of things requiſite and neceſſarie.

4. Jt is not lawfull for the ſiſters to ſpeake at the grate, or ſpeak-houſe, without licēce of the Abbeſs, or Uicareſs; and they, who with leaue, ſhal ſpeake at the ſpeake-houſe, ſhal not doe it, but in preſence and hearing of two ſiſters.

5. None ſhal preſume to come to the grate, vnleſs three, at leaſt, appointed by the Abbeſs, or Vicareſs be pre­ſent, of the number of thoſe Diſcreet, who are choſen by99 all the ſiſters, for the Coun­ſell of the Abbeſs.

6. The Abbeſs and Vica­reſs, as neer as they can, are bound to obſerue this manner of ſpeaking; which, at the grate, ſhal be very ſeldome; but at the gate, ſhal neuer be permitted.

7. They ſhal hang a cloath within the grate, which ſhal not be drawn but in time of a ſermon, or whilſt they ſpeak vnto others.

8. Ther ſhal be, within the grate, a dore of wood, ſtrēgthn­ed with two locks and bolts of iron, which ſhal be locked principally, in the night time,100 with two keys; one of which the Abbeſs ſhal keep, and the ſacriſtan the other.

9. The ſayd dore is alwais to remaine ſhutt; except in time of reading the diuine of­fice, or for the cauſes aboue mentioned.

10. None may ſpeake, at the grate, in what ſort ſoeuer, before the reſing, or after the ſetting of the ſunne.

11. At the ſpeak-houſe, ther ſhal alwais be a cloath within, which ſhal neuer be taken of.

12. Noe ſiſters may ſpeak, at the ſpeak-houſe, within S. Martin's Lent, nor within the great Lent, but only to the101 Prieſt, for cauſe of Confeſſiō, or for other manifeſt neceſſi­tie, which ſhal be reſerued to the diſcretion of the Abbeſs, or Vicareſs.

That the ſiſters may not receiue poſſeſsions, by them ſelues, or by any perſon interpoſed. UJ. CHAPT.

1. AFter that the heauenly Father had vouchſaf­ed, through his diuine grace, to illuminate my heart in ſuch ſort,**VVhat fol­lovveth, hath been added, ſince the death of S. Francis. that by the example and doc­trine of our Holy Father S. Francis,102 J began to doe pennance, a little after his conuerſion; J, with my ſiſters, did willingly promiſe obedience vnto him.

2. The Holy Father per­ceiuing, that we feared noe pouertie, labour, tribulation, vilitie, or contempt of this world, but that we eſteemed theſe, as great delights, he, moued with pietie, wrote vnto vs a forme of life, in this manner.

3. Conſidering,**An extract of a letter vvhich S. Francis vvrote to S. Clare, and her com­pagnions. that through the inſpiratiō of God, you haue made your ſelues Daughters, and Hand-maids to the moſt high,103 and ſouereigne King the heauenly Father, and haue eſpouſed your ſelues to the Holy Ghoſpel, J wil and pro­miſe by my ſelf, and my Bro­thers, to haue alwais a ſpecial and diligent care ouer you, as ouer them.

4. The which, whilſt he liued, he diligently performed, and willed, it ſhould be allways obſerued by his Brothers.

5. And, to the end, that we ſhould in noe time, decline from the moſt holy pouertie, which we had embraced, nor thoſe who ſhould ſucceed vs, he wrote vnto vs his laſt will, a little before his death; ſaying.

1046. J, Brother Francis, being poore,**This is an extract of an other letter, vvhich S. Frācis vvrote, a little before his death. wil follow the life and pouertie of our moſt ſouereigne Lord Jeſus Chriſt, and of his moſt holy Mother, and wil perſeauer in the ſame, vnto the end. And J beſeech and counſel you all, my deare ſiſters, that you liue perpetually, in this moſt holy life and pouertie: and be carefull, that you neuer depart from the ſame pouer­tie, through the teaching, or counſel of any.

7. And, as J haue always been ſolicitous, togeather105 with my ſiſters, to obſerue theS. Clare expreſſ­eth her ardent zeale and deſire of moſt ſublime and rigorous ouertie. holy pouertie, which we haue promiſed to God, and Holy S. Frā­cis; in like manner, all the Abbeſſes, that ſhal ſucceed me in the office, and all the ſiſters, are bound inuiolably to ob­ſerue it vnto the end. To witt, not to receiue poſſeſſions, or haue proprietie, either by thē­ſelues, or any perſon inter­poſed, nor any thing, that may wrightly be called proprietie; except a little ground, which neceſſitie doth require for de­cencie, and repairing of the106 Monaſterie; and this ground may not be cultiuated other­wiſe, then as a garden for the vſe of the ſiſters.

The manner to be obſerued by the ſiſters, in their ma­nual work's. UJJ. CHAPT.

1. THE ſiſters, on whom God hath beſtowed the guift of working, ſhal employ them ſelues faithfully and deuoutly, after Tierce, in all ſuch work's, as apper­taine to the decencie and common good of the Mona­ſterie. Jn ſuch ſort, that both107 idleneſs, the enemie to the ſoule, be expelled, and the ſpirit of holy prayer and de­uotion, whervnto all tem­poral things are referred, be not extinguiſhed.

2. The ſiſters ſhal be bound in preſence of all, to declare in Chapter, to the Abbeſs, or Uicareſs, that which they haue wrought with their hands.

3. The like ſhal be obſerued, if any ſend almes for the ne­ceſſitie of the ſiſters; to the end, that in common, they may recōmend them to God. And they ſhal be all diſtri­buted by the Abbeſs, or Vi­careſs, with the counſel of the108 Diſcreet, for the good of the Communitie.

That the ſiſters ſhal not appro­priate any thing to them ſelues, and of the ſick ſiſters. UJJJ. CHAPT.

1. THE ſiſters ſhal not appropriate any thing to them ſelues, neither houſe, place, or other thing; but, as pilgrims and ſtrangers in this world, ſerue our Lord in po­uertie and humilitie.

2. Lett them ſend for almes with cōfidence: neither ought they to be aſhamed therof; ſeeing our Lord made him­ſelf109 poore, in this world, for loue of vs.

3. This is the height of moſt ſublime pouertie, which hath placed you [my moſt dearly beloued ſiſters] heires, and queen's of the Kingdome of heauen; making you poore in temporal commodities, and exalting you high in vertue. Lett this be your portion, which doth lead you into the land of the liuing; vnto which [dearly beloued ſiſters] wholy adhering, for the name of our Lord JESUS Chriſt, doe you neuer, at any time, poſſeſs other thing vnder heauen.

4. Jt ſhal not be lawfull for110 any ſiſters to ſend letters, or to receiue, or giue any thing, out of the Monaſterie, with­out licence of the Abbeſs; nor to haue any thing, which is not giuen, or permitted her, by the Abbeſs.

5. And if any thing be ſent to any ſiſter from her Parents, or from any other perſon, the Abbeſs may grant it her, and [if need] ſhe may make vſe of it; if not, the Abbeſs in charitie, may diſpoſe of it, to relieue the wantes of an other that needs. Jf mony be ſent vnto any one, lett the Abbeſs, with counſel of the Diſcreet, prouide her of ne­ceſſaries

1116. The Abbeſs is ſtrictly bound, to inquire carefully by her ſelf, or others, the ne­ceſſitie of the ſick ſiſters, and to prouide, as wel, what their infirmitie requireth in diet, as other things requiſite; and, according to the poſſibilitie of the place, charitably and mercifully to relieue them; becauſe all are obliged to ſerue and aſſiſt their infirme ſiſters, euen as they would be ſerued, if them ſelues were detained with any like infir­mitie.

7. Lett them declare freely, one to the other, their neceſ­ſitie: for if a true mother112 doth loue and nouriſh the child of her wombe, with how much greater diligence and care, ought a ſiſter to loue and cheriſh her ſpiritual ſiſter.

8. The ſick ſhal lye vpon beds of chaff, and haue vnder their heads pillowes of fea­thers. Thoſe who haue need, may vſe ſocks and quilts.

9. The ſaid ſick, when they are viſited**To enter the Cloiſter to viſit the ſick, is for­bidden by the Council of Trent; excepting the ghoſtly Fathers and Phiſitians. by thoſe, who enter the Monaſte­rie, may anſwer briefly vnto thē; ſpeaking good and edificatiue words. But the other ſiſters,113 who with leaue are preſent, ſhal not ſpeak vnto thoſe, that enter the Monaſterie, except in preſence and hearing of two Diſcreets, appointed by the Abbeſs, or Uicareſs; who are bound themſelues to ob­ſerue the ſame manner of ſpeaking.

Of pennance to be enioyned the ſiſters that offend: and the manner of dealing, out of the Monasterie. JX. CHAPT.

1. IF any ſiſter, by inſtiga­tion of the Enemie, doth ſinne mortally, againſt the114 forme of your Profeſſion, and being twice or thrice admo­niſhed therof, by the Abbeſs, or other ſiſters, doth not amend; as many days, as ſhe hath continued obſtinate and contumacious, ſoe many ſhal ſhe; ſitting vpon the ground in the refectorie, in preſence of all the ſiſters, haue only bread and water, and vndergoe greater pennance, if it ſhal ſeeme good to the Abbeſs. During her obſtinacie and cō­tumacie, lett prayer be made to God, that it may pleaſe him, to illuminate her heart to pennance.

2. The Abbeſs and ſiſters115 ſhal be carefull not to be angry, or troubled at the of­fences of any: for, anger and pertubation hindreth charitie, in themſelues and others.

3. Jf it happen [which God forbid] that ther ariſe in word, or ſigne, any contention, or ſcandal, between the ſiſters, lett her, who gaue the occa­ſion, before ſhe offer vnto God the ſacrifice of prayer, proſtrate herſelf immediatly before the others feet, not only aſking pardon, but alſo, humbly intreating her, that ſhe would interceed vnto our Lord, that it would pleaſe him to forgiue her.

1164. Lett the other then, mindfull of the words of our ſauiour, who ſaith [vnleſs you forgiue with your whole heart, neither wil your heauenly Father forgiue you] freely forgiue her ſiſter the iniurie committed againſt her.

5. Lett the ſiſters, who ſerue without the Monaſterie, re­maine noe longer abroad, thē manifeſt neceſſitie doth re­quire.

6. Lett their gate be mo­deſt, their ſpeech little, to the end, that thoſe who ſee them, may be alwais edified. They ſhal take great care, that they keep noe ſuſpected, or fami­liar117 compagnie with any one; and for the auoyding all oc­caſion of perturbation and ſcandall, which may ariſe, they ſhal not be God-Mothers vnto any ones child.

7. They ſhal not preſume to relate, in the Monaſterie, any news heard from abroad, nor declare abroad any thing done, or ſayd in the Mona­ſterie, through which, any ſcandall might ariſe. And if any, in either of theſe offend indiſcreetly, lett it be left vnto the Abbeſſes prudence, and charitie to correct her; but if ſhe tranſgreſs out of vitious cuſtome, the Abbeſs,118 with counſel of her Diſcreet, ſhal enioyne her a pennance, according to the qualitie of the fault.

Of the admoniſhment and vi­ſitation of the ſiſters. X. CHAPT.

1. LEtt the Abbeſs viſit and admoniſh her ſi­ſters, and humbly and chari­tably correct them; not com­manding any thing contrarie to their ſoules good, and againſt the forme of your profeſſion.

2. Lett the ſiſters, who are ſubiect, be mindfull, that for119 the loue of God, they haue renounced their owne will; whence they are firmly bound to obey their Abbeſs, in all things, that they haue pro­miſed to obſerue, and are not contrarie vnto your Profeſſiō.

3. The Abbeſs ſhal be ſoe familiar and cādid with them, that they may ſpeak and deale with her, as the Miſtreſſes with their Maids: for, the Abbeſs ought to be ſeruant vnto all the ſiſters.

4. J exhort and admoniſh my ſiſters in Chriſt JESUS our Lord, that they auoyde all pride, vaine glorie, enuie and couetouſneſs; that they120 fly care and ſolicitude of the world, detraction, murmura­tion, and diſſenſion.

5. Lett them alwais be ſol­licitous to conſerue the vnion of charitie, which is the bond of perfection. They, that can not read, lett them not be ſolicitous to learne, but con­ſider, that aboue all things, they ought to endeauour, to obtaine the ſpirit of our Lord, and the holy operatiō therof; and alwais to pray vnto our Lord, with a pure heart, to haue humilitie and patience in tribulation and ſickneſſe, to loue thoſe, who reprehend and perſecute them. For, our121 Lord ſaith, Bleſſed are they, who ſuffer perſecution for Iuſtice; for theirs is the Kingdome of heauen; but they, who perſeuer vnto the end, ſhal be ſaued.

Of the dutie of the Portreſs. XJ. CHAPT.

1, THe Portreſs ſhal be of conuenient age, diſcreet and of mature man­ners; ſhe ſhal keep her reſidēſe in the day time, in an open Cell, without a doore; hauing a fitt companion aſſigned her; who, as need requireth, may in all things, ſupply her office. 2. The gate opening in the122 middle, ſhal be wel guarded with two ſtrong locks, and diuers iron barrs and bolts. Jt ſhal be locked, principally, at night, with two keyes; the one wherof, ſhal be kept by the Portreſs, and the other by the Abbeſs. Jn the day, it ſhal not be left open, but always remain locked with one keye, and they ſhal take diligent care and procure, that it neuer ſtand open, ſoe neer as may be. They ſhal not**Permiſſions ſometimes giuen, by the Popes, haue ſince, been recalled, by many Apoſtoli­cal Conſtitutions; ſoe that, it is noe more permitted to any perſon of vvhat­ſoeuer ſtate, or condition, to enter into the houſe, by vertue of the ſay'd per­miſſions. See the Council of Trent, ſeſſ. 25. cap. 5. open the gate vnto thoſe,123 thoſe, who would enter, vnleſſe licence be granted by the Popes Holineſſe, or the lord Cardinal Protector.

3. The ſiſters ſhal not per­mit any to enter the Mona­ſterie, before the ryſing of the ſunne, neither ſhal they per­mit any to remaine with-in the Monaſterie, after ſunne ſett; vnleſſe manifeſt, reaſo­nable and ineuitable cauſe require it.

Jf any Biſhop haue leaue to celebrat Maſſe within the Monaſterie, either for the124 * benedictiō of theIf any ōne ſhould enter the Monaſte­rie, vvith per­miſſion, as aforeſayd, he is punctually to obſerue, vvhat the Council of Tiēt appoint­eth, in the ſeſſ. and chapt, aboue cited. Abbeſs, or to con­ſecrate any Reli­gious, or for any other very impor­tāt affaire, he ſhal, at that time, be cōtent with a very few followers and ſeruants, and thoſe, who are of the grauer ſort.

5. And when need requires, that any enter into the Mo­naſterie, for to doe any work, the Abbeſſe ſhal carefully ap­point one at the gate, who ſhal lett only thoſe enter, who are appointed. And lett the125 ſiſters take care, that they be not then ſeen by thoſe, who enter the Monaſterie.

Of the Viſitor and Chaplain. XJJ. CHAPT.

1. Lett your Uiſitor be alwais of the Order of Friar-Minors according to the will and commandment of your Cardinal;* The chapter ſpeaketh of the Siſters, vvho be ſubiect vnto Re­gulars: vvho, notvvithſtanding, muſt be viſited by the Biſhop in matters concerning Incio­ſure They that be ſubiect to the Bi­ſhop, muſt be viſited by him, or his Vicar, as vvel in vvhat concerneth In­cloſure, as in vvhat belongeth to diſci­pline and obſeruance. and lett him be126 ſuch an one, whoſe modeſtie and behauiour is experienced: whoſe office is to reforme, as wel in the head, as in the members, the exceſſes com­mitted againſt the forme of your Profeſſion.

2. Who, being in an open place, to the end, that he may be ſeen by others, may ſpeak both vnto all, and vnto each in particular, of thoſe things, which appertaine to the office of Uifitor, and according as it ſhal ſeeme expediēt vnto him.

3. We require theTheſe vvords are added, by vvay of in­treatie and deuotion. fauour of the ſame Order, through the charitie of our127 Lord, and Bleſſed S. Francis, to haue a Chaplain, who is a Prieſt, with a companion of good fame and diſcreet, as alſo two lay Brothers, of holy conuerſation, and louers of modeſtie, to aſſiſt vs, in our pouertie, as we mercifully haue had hitherto, of the Friar-Minors,

4. The Chaplain may not enter into the Conuent with­out his companion; and en­tring, they ſhal be in an open place, that they may be ſeen by each other, as alſo by the ſiſters.

5. They may enter to hear the confeſſions of the ſick,128 that can not goe vnto the grate, to giue them the Bleſ­ſed Sacrament and extreme Unction, and to read the re­commendation of the ſoule. **Since the Council of Trent, noe one may enter the Monaſterie, but vvith expreſſe leaue of the Lord Biſhop, as afore­ſaid, and in ne­ceſſarie occaſiōs. See, the Council of Trent. ſeſſ. 25. chapt 5.But to celebrate the ſacrifice of Maſſe, to read the office of the dead, ād to digg open, or pre­pare the graue, may enter alſo other ſufficient fitt perſons; according to the diſcretion of the Abbeſs.

6. Further more, the ſiſters are bound to haue for their129 Protector, Gouernour and Reformer, one of the Car­dinals of the holy Roman Church, the ſame that ſhal be ordained by our H: Father the Pope, for the Friars-Mi­nors; that being alwais ſubiect vnder the feet of the ſame holy Roman Church, ſtedfaſt in the Catholique Faith, we may euer obſerue the holy pouertie, and humilitie of our Lord JESUS CHRIST, and his Holy Mother, and the Holy Ghoſpel, which we haue vow'd. Amen. Dated at Peru­gia, the ſixt of ſeptember, the tenth yeare of the Pope­dome of our H: Father Jn­nocent130 the fourth.

Here endeth the Rule of the Poore ſiſters, and follow­eth the remainder of the Popes Bull for the Confirmation of the ſame.

THerfore, lett not any perſon violate, or diſan­null this our letter, or Bull of Confirmation, or by raſh and temerarious boldneſſe, contradict it. The which if any one preſume to doe, lett him know, that he doth incurr the indignation of131 Almightie God, and of his holy Apoſtles S. Peter, and S. Paul.

Laus Deo, Beatae Mariae ſemper Virgini, Beato Franciſco, atque Beatae Clarae. Amen.


HERE BEGINNETH THE HOLY MOTHER S. CLARE'S BENEDICTION Unto her ſiſters preſent and to come.

In the name of the Father, and of the ſonne, and of the Holy Ghoſt. Amen.

MY Deerly beloued ſi­ſters, our Lord giue you his holy Benediction, and behould you with the eye of his mercie, and giue you his133 Peace: as alſo vnto all thoſe, who ſhal enter and perſeuer in this our Cloyſter and Mo­naſterie; and vnto all other of the Order, who ſhal per­ſeuer vnto the end, in this holy Pouertie. J Clare, ſeruāt of JESUS Chriſt, and little plant of our holy Father S. Francis, your Mother, and ſiſter, although vnworthy, doe beſeech our Lord JESUS Chriſt, that through the in­terceſſion of his moſt holy Mother, of the holy Arch-Angel S. Michael, and of all the holy Angels, of our holy Father S. Francis, and of all the holy Saints, it wil pleaſe134 him, to giue and confirme in you this Benediction, in heauen and in earth. Jn earth, by multiplying in you, graces and vertues, in his militant Church, amongſt his ſeruants: Jn heauen, in his Church triumphant, eleuating you among his Saints. J giue you my Benediction in my life, and after my death, in all that J am able, and more then J am able, with all the Bleſ­ſings, wherwith the Father of mercies hath, or ſhal bleſſe his ſpiritual children, both in heauen and earth; or wherwith the ſpiritual Mother, doth, or ſhal be able to bleſſe her ſpiri­tual135 Childrē. Amen. Be alwais louers of God, of your ſoules and of your ſiſters: be care­full to keep that, which you haue vowed. And our Lord be alwais with you, and you with him. Amen.


An Epiſtle of the moſt Reue­rend Father in God Ladiſlaus, Lord Biſhop of S. Omers &c. To the Reuer. Mother Abbeſs and Religious of the order of S. Clare, in Graueling.

Health in him, who is the ſpouſe of Virgins, our Lord IESVS CHRIST.

AS it hath a cheef place in our Paſtoral ſolici­tude, to direct and aduance thoſe happie ſoules, who deſpyſing the vanities of the world, endeauour to attend to themſelues and God, in137 the Euangelical perfection of a Religious ſtate: ſoe is it our ſpecial dutie, to open our Fatherly boſome of charitie towards you [my Deareſt Daughters in Chriſt] whom, the right hand of God, leading out of Aegypt, and the houſe of bondage, hath conducted ouer the red ſea into the land of Pro­miſe exod. 20. Deutor. 8. and ſafe hauen of Religion: which doth not only giue vs iuſt oc­caſion, to bleſſe our Lord of Heauen, for hauing ſhow'red his Mercies on you, Tobiae 12. but doth increaſe our ioy, and add new glorie, to ſee you, though poore and humble,138 yet to liue vnanimous in the houſe of God, feruent in ſpirit; hauing nothing and poſſeſsing all things Act. 3. 2. Rom. 12. 2. ad Corint: 6. This Zeale of ſublime Pouertie, and higheſt Perfection was the motiue, why you humbly requeſted of the ſea Apoſtolique, to haue your Conſtitutions, [which your ſelues had ga­thered out of thoſe of Bleſſed ſaint Collett] reuewed and confirmed, without any con­ſiderable change, ſaue only, in ſome few points, therby to make them more conforma­ble to the ſacred Canons, and the Holy Council of Trent;139 and which your ſelues by long vſe, had laudably practiſ­ed; yet, in leſs perfection, [as you imagined] till they were authoriſ'd and warranted by the Oracle of truth Chriſt's Vicar vpon earth. Whervpon, his Holineſſe Pope Alexander the 7. inclining vnto your requeſts, hath been graciouſly pleaſed, out of his Fatherly loue towards you, to cōfirme, approue and command them hence forth, inuiolably to be obſerued by you, as appear's in his Breue ſent vnto you, bearing date, the 10. of March 1663. in the 8. yeare of his Popedome.

140The which ſayd Conſtitu­tions, Wee all ſoe, hauing dili­gently ponder'd, and mature­ly examin'd them, haue ſign­ed with our hand and ſeale; ordaining them to be printed, and hence forth, to be inuio­lably obſerued by you and your ſucceſſours; promiſing with the Apoſtle, in the name of Almightie God, to whoſoeuer ſhal follow this Rule, peace to their ſoules and Mercie from God. ad Galatas 6.

Jt wil be needleſs for Us, to add further incitement to your alreadie inkindled zeale, in order to a more punctual obſeruāce of theſe holy Rules141 and Conſtitutions, framed, according to the ſeraphical ſpirit of your Holy Father S. Francis, affectuouſly deſired by your Holy Mother S. Clare, brought into a more practical method by the Holy Uirgin S. Collett, facilitated by your owne experience and practiſe, laſtly approued and cōmand­ed by authoritie of his Holi­neſſe the Pope of Rome, and Ours. There wil need J ſay, noe other incitement, then only to repeate thoſe words vſed by S. Bernard in like occaſion, to the Brethren of his Order, in his 321. epiſtle, wher he ſaith. Oro & obteſtor142 vos fratres, ſic facite & ſtate in Domino Cariſsimi, ſemper ſoli­citi cuſtodire Regulas Ordinis vestri, vt & Ordo vos cuſto­diat. I beg of you againe and againe [my Brethren] that you wil ſoe doe and behaue your ſelues in our Lord [my Dearest] as to be euer ſolicitous, to keep the Rules of your Order, to the end, that the Order may keep and defend you; giuing vs here­by to vnderſtand, that ther is a ſtrickt kind of league and contract, betwixt the Religi­on, and the Religious Perſon, to help and defend each other; noe other wiſe, then in a ſtrong Cittie, whoſe wales de­fend143 the out-worke, and whoſe outwork's protect the wales; conſpiring mutually to help one an other.

Religiō is that ſtrong Cittie, wherof the Prophet Jſay ſpeaketh in his 26. chapt. Vrbsfortitudinis nostrae ſion, Sal­uator ponetur in ea murus & antemurale. Sion the Cittie of strength, a Sauiour therin ſhall be putt a wale and bul-worke. The wales, which make vp and adorne this ſtrong cittie of Religion, what are they elſe, but your ſacred Vow's, made at your Profeſſion? and what are the out-work's which fence this wale of your144 foure Religious Vow's, but the Conſtitutiōs and Rules, wher­of now we treate? If the out-wale of your Rule be ob­ſerued and defended, the ci­tie of Religion wil floriſh, and our Sauiour in it, wil ſleep and reſt in Peace; but if this bul-work of your Rule, ſuffer any detriment, or be broken down, through your careleſſ­neſſ or want of reſiſtance, a gapp is opened, the enemie [who is euer watch-ful] creeps in, and if he be not ſpeedily preuented, and the breach repared, by humble acknowledgment and pen­nance, he wil make immedi­atly,145 at the maine wale of your re­ligious Uow's, wil giue an all-arme, and cauſe diſquiet and trouble to the inhabitants of that happie Citie of Peace.

Think it therfore noe ſmal matter [my Deareſt Daugh­ters in Chriſt] the neglect of the leaſt Rule or Conſtitutiō, [though it may ſeeme little in your deceiued eye] wherby your enemie gains ground, and hath opē acceſſe to batter, aſſault, vndermine, and doe miſchief in that maine point, your Uow's J meane, which mak's you inhabitants of this happie Citie.

Who would euer haue be­lieued,146 that the caſting down of an handfull of earth, or a tranſgreſſing of a little Rule or Conſtitution, could euer haue occaſioned ſoe much euel? ād yet we ſee, that the ſtrongeſt Sampſon, who was a Nazareā, that is a type, or figure of our Religious, in the law of Grace, became a laughingſtoch, and ſlaue to his enemies the Phi­liſtyns, by reaſon only of his careleſſe looſing of the haire of his head.

Here J giue a ſtop, and dare not proceed further in this ſimilitude, for feare J diſharten you, wheras J in­tended your comfort, J know,147 that the very Iuſt falls ſeauen tims a day, Prou. 24. and as long, as you are charged with theſe veſſels of earth, your weakneſſe and frailtie, wil make you ſtumble, and euen faulter ſometimes, againſt your wil; yet all is not loſt, noe nor perfection diminiſh­ed, but it yeeldeth double occaſion to your merit and crowne, if you immediatly riſe againe, and repaire the fall, occording to vertue and rule.

Neither muſt you be ſoe abuſed, as to conceiue [ſaith S. Bonauenture in his treatiſe of the 6. wings.] That in ill gouerned communities only,148 faults are committed; for we all faulter in many things, ſaith the holy Writt, Jacob. 3. and Communities the moſt holy and perfect haue their faults and im­perfections, as you know: but herein conſists the difference, ſaith this ſaint, that in Religi­ons which are ſlack and decaying, when rules and ſtatut's are tranſ­greſſed, ther is noe care taken for the correcting, or amending of them; wher-as in a Commu­nitie, that is in it's vigour of obſeruance, noe ſooner can the leaſt rule, or Conſtitution be tranſgreſſed, but by a ſpeedie correction, ther is a mature re­medie applied vnto it.

149Hence, ſuperiours Conſci­ences are ſeuerely charged, to be euer watchfull, with a rigorous, yet charitable eye, leaſt the life and vigour of Religion ſhould ſlacken, by connyuing remisſly, to lett paſſ little tranſgreſſions of the rule, vnpuniſhed: or rather the tranſgreſſor her ſelf, as ſhe tenders the honour of her Order, and the perfection of her owne ſoule, ought to pre­uent her ſuperiours vigilācie, and her ſelf to repaire the breach, by a voluntarie hum­bling of her ſelf, and a penal ſatisfying for her fault; ſoe that, this her free and hum­ble150 pēnance, may breed more edification and profitt, then her former trāſgreſſing, gaue occaſion of grief and ſcandal vnto her ſiſters.

Jt is not our intention, [Dearly beloued in our Lord JESUS] further to oblige you, to the obſeruance of theſe your Conſtitutions, vn­der paine of any ſin, but only ſoe far forth, as God, your Rule and the Church doth alreadie oblige and bynd you: which, Pope Eugenius the 4. in his Bull, beginning ordinis tui, hath declared vnto you, and cleerly ſett down in theſe words. In the Rule, ſaith he,151 there is noe other precept oblig­ing vnder mortal ſin, then the Vowes of Obedience, Pouertie, Chaſtitie, Incloſure, Election and Depoſition of the Abbeſſe. Neuertheleſſe, We exhort you all, in our Lord JESUS, to take great heed, leaſt de­ceiued by corrupt nature, vn­der pretext of not cōmitting ſin, you make leſſe account of the tranſgreſſing of rules, [the cōtempt wherof, though in the leaſt, were noe ſmal ſin.] Lett the tranſgreſſors be therfore, ſpeedily corrected; and if the ſuperiours, [which God forbid] ſhoul be found negligent in correcting them,152 or themſelues careleſſe in their obſeruance, or in cauſ­ing them to be obſerued, they ſhal by the Uiſitor, be ſeuerely reprehended, and inioyned pennance, according to the greatneſſe of their fault.

Jf you thus become vnani­mouſly ſolicitous, and care­full to repaire the breaches of regular obſeruance, your familie wil be truly called Nazareth [that is florid] Jt wil flouriſh and bring forth ſuch varietie of choiſeſt flow­ers, in the garden of your ſoules, as he, with iuſt reaſon may require, who, though ſuppoſed only a Gardiner,153 by a Magdalen, yet ſhal be called Nazarean [that is florid] him-ſelf beeing the faireſt flower of this garden encloſed, the firſt teacher and example of ſanctitie, retiredneſſe, pu­ritie and of all Euangelical and religious perfection.

You are called and per­mitted to liue in this ſchoole of vertue, and houſe of Na­zareth, in compagnie of JE­SUS, MARIA, JOSEPH; this grace of your ſoe high a call­ing, is the greateſt of all gra­ces; be euer gratefull for it.

Lett your eares and eyes be euer open to the voice of your teacher, pointing the154 way, and calling after you, by the mouth of your ſupe­riours and guides. Lett your hāds and hearts be euer readie to performe punctually, what he requires of you, in your Conſtitutions and Rule; and if you feele a courage to vn­dergoe great matters, euen the greateſt for his loue, neglect not little on's, becauſe they are little: for, although they were in themſelues little, yet being now done for loue of him, they are become great. And ſeing you perceiue your ſelues to be ſpurred on, with an earneſt deſire to vndergoe whatſoeuer might ſeeme hard155 and difficult for loue of him, giue me leaue [my Deareſt Daughters in Chriſt] to de­clare my mind in few words; and if J ſeeme to require more at your hands, then J dare preſume to hope of others, that ſaying of S. Gre­gorie giues me the aſſurance, that when guift's or graces are increaſed, the ground, or motiue to add more, increaſeth alſo. S. Greg. Papae Homil. 9. in Eu­ang. Which our Lord God hath ſoe heaped and multi­plied in your ſoules, that all your endeauours whatſoeuer, wil fall farr ſhort of a cōdigne gratitude: for, he hath merci­fully156 lead you out of the houſe of bondage into the land of promiſe, and inheri­tance of his Children; he hath drawn you out of ignorance and darkneſſe, into the light of truth; he hath called you out of the confuſion of Ba­bilon and ſin, and placed you in the ſtrong Caſtle of wel ordered charitie, this happie houſe of Religion J meane, wher remote from ſinners, you may not only attend, with great retiredneſſe, to God and your ſelues, but procure alſo for others, the like bleſſings from heauen, and namely for your poore Countrie, and the157 inhabitans thereof.

The which to obtaine more aſſuredly, nothing is to be omitted by you, the neglect wherof, might hinder the de­ſired effect of your praiers. The habit you weare, ſhew­eth the auſteritie and rigour of your Order, the Profeſſion of your Religion and Rule now embraced, ſuppoſeth per­fection in vertue alreadie ac­quired, and obligeth you to ſtriue to the attaining of more. For although you ſhould ſeem to haue profited neuer ſoe much in vertue, yet you muſt dayly endeauour to increaſe the ſame; leaſt, by not pro­curing158 ſeriouſly to aduance, you ſtray vnperceiuedly from the beaten path of perfectiō and ſanctitie; which aſſuredly wil happen, when little ob­ſeruances, which lead you, by the more ſtrait and com­pendious way, to your end, are leſſ eſteemed, or neglect­ed. He, whoſe mind is bent to horde vp riches, mak's his profitt, and increaſes his ſtock by many a little: ſoe he that wil make progreſſs in vertue, muſt indeauour carefully to omitt nothing, that may giue him furtherance in the courſe vndertaken. For according to that ſaying of holy Writt, he159 who neglecteth little things, ſhal fall by litle and litle. Eccleſi­aſt. 19.

Which being ſoe, walke on [my Deareſt Daughters in Chriſt] as you haue begun, and ſtudiouſly apply your ſelues, to a total obſeruance of your Holy Conſtitutiōs, vntil at length, you arriue to the height of all perfection, true vnion with God. The which, that you may faithfully per­forme, and happyly attaine vnto, ſhal be our wiſh and prayer to God, and that he wil pleaſe to haſten on that day, wherin you may be re­planted in that Land, once160 bearing title of the Dowrei of the Uirgin-Mother, here­tofore holy and fruitfull in this kind, but now Alas! ouerrun with Hereſie and ſin; vntil at length, when he ſhal pleaſe to pick you out, for a yet more choice and Virgin ſoile, this Nazareth may be againe remoued, and transferred, by the help of Angels, into that heauenly Countrie, wher, in the com­panie of other Virgins, you may, for an eternitie, intone that ſong, which none can ſing but Uirgins only, and following the Lamb, wher­euer he goeth, enioy for euer161 the chaſt embracements of your Lord and Spouſe. Which from the bottome of my heart J truly wiſh you, and ear­neſtly intreate to be made partaker of your merits, and to be remembred in your beſt deuotions.

LADISLAUS Epiſcopus Audomarenſis.

Approbation of the Vicar's Gene­ral of the Epiſcopal Sea va­cant of S. Omers.

THE Uicar's General of the Epiſcopal Sea va­cant of S. Omers, hauing read and maturely examined the fore-ſaid Conſtitutions, drawn out, according to the Reformation of S. Collett, and the forme of life deli­uered by S. Francis, iudge them to be very pious and laudable, proper and profi­table; as framed, according to the end propoſed by holy men, and repleniſhed with the163 ſpirit of God. Wee eſteem alſoe thoſe few things which are added or changed, moſt proper, both to make the ſaid Conſtitutions more con­formable to the ſacred Canons and Decrees of the holy Council of Trent, as alſo that Religious obſeruance, loue and Uniō with God, may take increaſe. Jn teſtimonie wherof, We haue ſigned thē with our hand and ſeale of our Vicarial office. S. Omers 13. April 1661.

  • I. de Longueual Deca­nus Audom.
  • Petrus D'Arras Theolo­gus Audom.

Reuiſion and Approbation of the moſt Reuerend Father in God, Ladiſlaus Lord Bi­ſhop of S. Omers.

HAuing ſeen the fore-ſaid Conſtitutions, and Or­dinations, with their Appro­bation and Cōfirmation made by the Reuerend Lords, the Vicar's General of the Epiſcopal Sea of S. Omers, then Vacāt; and hauing more­ouer peruſed the like Appro­bation and Cōfirmation grant­ed by a ſpecial Apoſtolical Breue, of our moſt Holy Father and Lord Pope Ale­xander165 the 7. bearing date the 7. of March 1663. all being maturely conſidered, and examin'd by Vs; We, LA­DISLAVS JONNART, by the Grace of God, and Apoſto­lical Sea, Biſhop of S. Omers, doe commend, approue and confirme the afore-ſaid Con­ſtitutiōs and Ordinations, and command them hence forth, to be kept and obſerued. Jn teſtimonie wher-of, We haue ſigned, and confirmed them with our hand and ſeale.

LADISLAVS Epiſcopus Audom.

An Apoſtolical Conſtitution or Breue, ſent by his Holineſſe Pope Alexander the 7. to the Abbeſs and Religious of the Engliſh Monaſterie of Poore Clares in Graueling; bearing date. 10. of March. 1663.

TO perpetual memorie. This ſacred Apoſtolical office, which We beare, as de­riued from God, requireth We take a fatherly care of thoſe ſacred Uirgins, and deuout woemen, who for­getting their people, and the houſe of their father, haue167 dedicated themſelues to God's diuine ſeruice, vnder the ſweet yoak to Religion. And, to the end, thoſe Conſtituti­ons, which are prouidently or­dained for their happie dire­ction and gouernment, may more firmly ſubſiſt, and be more exactly obſerued, it behooueth, that We ſtrengthen them with the protection of Apoſtolical defenſe. Seing therfore, that as our belou­ed Daughters in Chriſt, the Abbeſs and Religious of the Engliſh Monaſterie of poore Clares, inſtituted by S. Frā­cis, liuing in the Towne of Graueling, and the Dioceſe168 of S. Omers, haue lately pro­poſed vnto Vs, that ther are ſome ſtatut's, Conſtituti­ons, and Ordinations, made and approued, by their Ordi­narie, for their, and their Mo­naſteries happie and proſpe­rous gouernment, and that the ſaid ſuppliants, intreat and deſire, that they may be ſtrēgthned with the patronage of Our Apoſtolical Confir­mation; We, deſirous to ho­nour the ſaid ſuppliants with ſpecial graces and fauours; being alſo inclined ther-vnto, by the ſupplications, which in their name, were humbly preſented vnto Vs, doe by169 theſe abſolue, and eſteeme as abſolued [for the obtain­ing only of the effect of theſe] each one of their perſons, from all other Eccleſiaſtical ſentences, puniſhments and Cenſures contracted, by what way, or cauſe ſoeuer, either by man, or law, if paraduen­ture, by any ways, they might be intangled therin. We, by theſe preſent, doe confirme and approue, by Apoſtolical Authoritie, the afore-ſayd ſta­tuts, Conſtitutions, and Or­dinations, and We add vnto them, the inuiolable ſtrength of Apoſtolical firmneſſe, and doe ſupply all and particular170 defects, either in fact, or law, if any, any ways ſhould chance to haue hapned [ſuppoſing they be in vſe, and good, per­mitted and approued by the Ordinarie, nor reuoked, or compriſed vnder any reuoca­tion, nor contrarie to the ſa­cred Canons, Apoſtolical Cō­ſtitutions and Regular Jnſti­tute, or againſt the Decrees of the Council of Trent.] We decree that theſe ſtatuts, Con­ſtitutions and Ordinations, as alſo theſe our preſent let­ters, are, and alwais ſhal re­maine firme, valid and effi­catious, and obtaine and bring forth their full and cō­pleat171 effects, and ſhal, with all fullneſſe, help thoſe, whom at preſent, or in time to come, they may any ways concerne, and reſpectiuely are by them inuiolably to be obſerued; and are thus to be iudged and defined in the premiſſes, by whatſoeuer Or­dinarie, or Delegated Judges, euen of thoſe we call of cauſ­es, of our Apoſtolical Pal­lace. And if by any perſon, in what autoritie ſoeuer, either wittingly, or willingly, any thing to the contrarie ſhal chance to be attempted, We declare it to be null and void, notwithſtanding any thing,172 in any ways to the contra­rie.


CONSTITVTIONS AND DECLARATIONS made vpon the Rule of the poore Religious Woemen of our H: Mother S. CLARE.


Typis Thomae Geubels, 1665.

Permiſſu Superiorum.


THESE Conſtitutions and Declarations, are in all, conformable to thoſe of the glorious Uirgin S. Collett; hauing been tranſlated out of an ancient copie, ſent from her Monaſterie at Gant, where ſhe dyed, and conferred with many other of her Reforma­tion: only there are certaine few alterations and additions, to make them more confor­mable to the H: Council of Trent and the ſacred Canōs: particularly in the election of the Abbeſs; partly alſo, the better to ſubmitt to the Obedience and Juriſdiction175 of the Biſhop of the Dio­ceſe, and partly to encreaſe Religious Obſeruance, loue and vnion with God, in men­tal prayer, yearly renouation of Vowes and the vſe of diſ­cipline; wherof, noe mentiō is made, in the afore-ſaid De­clarations of S. Collett.

Of the Obligation of the Rule and their ſubiection to the Ordinarie. J. CHAPT.

1. WHeras, in the very beginning and other places of the Rule, it is often mentioned, that the Rule, or176 forme of life, of the Order of the poore Siſters, which the Glorious Father S. Francis hath inſtituted, doth conſiſt in the obſeruing and keeping of the holy Ghoſpel of our Lord JESUS CHRIST; they may demand, how farr forth, they bind themſelues to the obſeruāce of the holy Ghoſpel, by force of their Vow, made at their Profeſſion; wherin they promiſe to obſerue the forme of life, which is their Rule it ſelf. To this doubt we anſwere them, con­formably to what hath been declared, by ſundry Popes, namely by Nicolas the third177 and Clement the firſt, when their reſolutiōs were required by the Friar-Minors, in the like doubts, aryſing out of their Rule: to witt, that the Siſters by force of Vow, made in their Profeſſion, obliging themſelues to the obſeruance of the forme of life, doe noe otherwiſe bind themſelues to the keeping of the Ghoſpel, then other Chriſtians; that is, precepts are to bee obſerued as precepts, counſels as counſels; thoſe counſels ex­cepted, which in their forme of life, are expreſſed, or doe import the name of precepts. To other counſels, they are178 only obliged after the ordina­rie manner of other Chriſtiās; ſauing only, they endeuour to goe beyond the perfection of the ordinarie ſtraine of Chriſtians; hauing freely de­uoted themſelues to Chriſt, by their Profeſſion, which may iuſtly require a more ſtrict following of his foot­ſteps.

2. A like doubt may ariſe, how the Obligation of the Rule vnder mortal ſinne, is to bee vnderſtood. Wher-vnto we anſwere briefly, with Pope Eugenius the 4. to witt, that the Rule containes noe other precepts, then the Uow's of179 Obedience, Pouertie, Cha­ſtitie, Encloſure, Depoſition and Election of the Abbeſs.

3. For as much as concer­nes Obedience due to their immediate, or higheſt ſuperi­ours; it is to bee noted, that although in the firſt chapter of S. Clare's Rule, mention is made of Obedience, which the Siſters are to yeald to the ſuperiours of the Order, in theſe words. And as in the beginning of her conuerſion, ſhe with her Siſters, promiſed Obedi­ence to S. Francis: ſoe, in like manner, doth ſhe promiſe to ob­ſerue the like Obedience inuiola­bly to all his ſucceſſours; and the180 other Siſters are alwayes bound to obey the ſucceſſours of S. Frā­cis. Yet theſe words are ſoe to be vnderſtood, that they expreſſe her Obedience, in thoſe her beginnings, to S. Francis and his ſucceſſours, by way only, of reſpect and deuotion towards him, from whom ſhe receiued her H: Rule. But in proceſſe of time, different Monaſteries of S. Clare, haue, for iuſt reaſons, humbly requeſted, of the Sea Apoſtolique, an exemption from the Order: the which, the ſaid Sea, was graciouſly pleaſed to grant them; ſub­iecting them by Bull, to the181 Obedience of the Ordinarie, or Biſhop of the Dioceſe wher they reſide; as appeareth namely, in the Bull of Pope Jnnocent the fourth, beginn­ing Recto aſſumpto tramite: the which original is yet extant in the Conuent of the Friar-Minors at Paris. And the Mo­naſterie of poore Clares at Graueling, hath by eſpecial grant of Pope Urban the 8. of happie memorie, obtained an exemption from the Order, and a ſubiection to the Or­dinarie the Lord Biſhop of S. Omers; as appeareth by their copies aboue annexed.


Of the entering into this Religion. JJ. CHAPT.

1. ALthough it be men­tioned in the beginn­ing of the ſecond Chapter of the forme of life, that the Abbeſſe may admitt any one for Religious; conſent of the greater part of the Siſters, and of the Lord Cardinal Pro­tector of the Order, being firſt obtained: We neuerthe­leſſe; conſidering the great difficulties, and extraordina­rie expences, not agreeing with your ſtrickt Pouertie,183 which muſt neceſſarily follow, by hauing frequent recourſe to the ſaid Lord Cardinal, in regard of the diſtāce of place, which, in the beginning of the Order, could not ariſe; being then fewer in number, and neerer to the Court of Rome; and reflecting alſo, that by grant of the Sea Apo­ſtolique, you are now imme­diatly ſubiect to the Ordina­rie, the Biſhop of the Dioceſe: We J ſay declare, that leaue firſt obtained of the ſaid Ordi­narie, and the Conditions ſpe­cified in your forme of life, obſerued, you may admitt vnto your holy habit, all ſuch,184 who deſpiſing the vanities of the world, ſhal by you, bee iudged deſeruing.

2. We therfore declare, ob­ſeruing the ordināce of Pope Jnnocent the fourth, that whē any perſon ſhal preſent her ſelf to the embracing of your holy Order: before ſhe chāg­eth her ſecular habit into that of Religion, the moſt hard and difficult points to be ob­ſerued in Religion, ſhal be firſt declared vnto her; ſoe that, after her reception, ſhe may haue noe occaſion to excuſe her ſelf by ignorance, or miſunderſtanding. And none moreouer, are to be ad­mitted,185 who, for age, corpo­ral infirmitie, or natural ſim­plicitie, ſhal be leſs able to vndertake this courſe of life; it oftentimes happening, that the ſtate and vigour of Reli­gion, is by ſuch like perſons, much ſlack'ned and deſtroy­ed.

3. Moreouer, We will, and ordaine, that in the receptiō of any one vnto your Order, this enſuing methode be ob­ſerued. That ſhe, who is to be receiued, be firſt ſent vnto ſome diſcreet perſon, fearing God, and a louer of Pouertie; by whoſe aduiſe and counſel, her meanes and eſtate may186 be diſtributed vnto the poore. And ſpecial regard is to be had, and care taken, by the Abbeſs and Siſters, that nei­ther by themſelues, or others, their Conuent be enriched, by the goods of the perſon ſoe to be receiued, vnleſs the thing were ſoe vncōſiderable, that none may take occaſion therby, to iudge ſiniſterly of you; or vnleſs ſhe, who en­treth, would of her owne free will, beſtow ſomething on you, as on poore people, to relieue, by way of almes, your pre­ſent, or neer-hand neceſſities; the Rule requiring, that thoſe, who enter, be free to diſpoſe187 of their goods, as God ſhal inſpire them.

4. The Abbeſſe and other Siſters ſhal take care, leaſt for the receiuing of any, vnto Re­ligion, they make, or permitt any contract or bargaine to be made, for themſelues, or others, by any perſon what­ſoeuer, wherin might be fear­ed any appearāce of ſimonie: neither ſhal they permitt ſuch, as are to be receiued, to re­taine any thing for thēſelues, of their temporal riches: to the end, that being wholy deſpoiled of all things created, they may more entirely re­ſigne themſelues, into the188 hands of their Crucified Lord. And if it ſhould ſoe happen, that ſome one, deſirous to cōtinue with you, could not be able to ridd her ſelf ſoe ſoone, of all her temporal riches, lett her then deliuer her ſaid ri­ches ouer, into the hands of ſome perſons fearing God, to be diſtributed by thē, vnto the poore.

5. And to the end, they proceed more regularly for time to come, We ordaine, that none be receiued vnto your forme of life, vnleſſe you perceiue, they come vnto it, not moued by perſwaſion, or Feare of any perſon, nor by189 ſlight motions, or conſtraint, but induced by ſtrong mo­tiues of the greater loue of God, ād ſauing of their ſoules; their free will being chiefly moued therevnto, by a true call and inſpiration of the holy Ghoſt.

6. We ordaine moreouer, that, according to the ſacred Council of Trent, the Nouice be examined by the Lord Bi­ſhop of the Dioceſe, or ſome other deputed by him, before ſhe be admitted vnto her Pro­feſſion. And to the end, this be euer duly obſerued, lett the Abbeſs remember to aduer­tiſe the ſaid Lord Biſhop, at190 the leaſt, a month before the yeare be expired. The like is to be obſerued, cōformable to the Rule in the ſecond chapter, before ſhe beginneth her Nouitiate.

7. They ſhal alſo take an eſpecial care, that none be re­ceiued into the Order, except ſhe be of a readie free will, a faithfull Catholique, ſound in body and mind, diſcharged and free'd of all her temporal mean's, not ſuſpected of He­reſie, or noted of publique infamie, not tyed with ſen­tence of Excommunication, or Jnterdict; and if ſhe ſhould chance to be intangled in the191 afore-ſaid like ſentence, lett her firſt be lawfully abſoluted; according to the priuiledges granted to the Order: yet ſoe, that if ſhe returne to the world, it be ſignified vnto her, that her abſolutiō wil reſume it's firſt force and vigour.

8. Lett her not be of a ſeruile, but of a free condi­tion. Jf ſhe be engaged to any one, ſhe ſhal not enter, with­out their licence be firſt ob­tained, to whom ſhe is engag­ed. Although the Council of Trent alloweth the age of ſixteen, yet the auſteritie and rigour of your habit and Rule conſidered, none ſhal be ad­mitted192 vnto Profeſſion, before the age of ſeauenteene com­pleated.

9. None ſhal ordinarily be admitted for a Quire Siſter, vnleſſe ſhe be able, by her ſelf, or with others, to recite the diuine office. Neither ſhal ſhe exceed the age of 25. vnleſſe ſhe were iudged capa­ble, without any great diffi­cultie to her ſelf or others, to learne and ſay the diuine office. Lett none be receiued vnto Profeſſion, of whom it is not manifeſt, that ſhe hath liued vertuouſly, from the age of 13. vntil the time of her reception. None ſhal be193 receiued after the age of 40. vnleſſe ſuch were her nobilitie ioyn'd with equall pietie, that her admittance might be a ſingular example of vertue vnto the people and Clergie, and ſhe, ſtrong and able enough to ſerue God and the Order laudably; according to your ſtate, and forme of life.

10. Moreouer, that none Profeſſed of any other Order, be receiued vnto your forme of life, without licence firſt obtained of her Abbeſs, or priuiledge from the Sea Apo­ſtolique.

11. Jn like manner, if it be apprehended, that the Pro­feſſion194 of the Nouice might be doubtfull, the Abbeſs, before the year be expired, ſhal, in preſence of the Siſters, declare vnto her, that, not­withſtanding her probation ended, ſhe hath noe right vnto Religion, vntil by mature de­liberation, it be reſolued, what ought to be done in order to her Profeſſion, or returne vnto the world.

12. The time of their Pro­feſſiō approaching, their haire ſhal be cutt of round, and aboue the eares; and from that time forward, they are not permitted to lett it grow; which often in the yeare, by195 appointment of the Abbeſs, all the Siſters are likewyſe to obſerue, vnleſs, for health's ſake, it were thought conue­nient to permitt the contrarie.

13. When they receiue any to Profeſſion, the partie kneeling before the Abbeſs, ſhal pronounce, with a high and cleere voice, leaſurely and with the greateſt deuotiō ſhe is able, the Profeſſion, as followeth.


In nomine Patris & Filij & Spiritus Sancti. Amen.

I, Siſter N. doe vow vnto Almighty God, the Glo­rious Virgin Mary, our Holy Father S. Francis, our Holy Mother S. Clare, vnto all the Holy Saints and you Re­uerend Mother Abbeſs, and all your ſucceſſours, ſucced­ing in your place, to obſerue, all the day's of my life, the Rule and forme of life of the poore Siſters of S. Clare,197 which hath been giuen by S Francis vnto the ſaid ſaint Clare, and hath been con­firmed by our Holy Father Pope Innocent the fourth; liuing in OBEDIENCE, without PROPRIETIE, and in CHASTITIE, alſo obſeruing INCLOSVRE, according to the ordinance of the ſayd Rule.

Then the Abbeſs, who doth receiue her, promiſeth vnto her, (if ſhe doth ob­ſerue, what ſhe hath vow­ed) eternal life.


Of the manner, and qualitie of their habit, and other garments. JJJ. CHAPT.

1. WHeras it is contained in the Rule, or forme of life, that the Siſters be cloath'd with poore and mean cloath's, we declare firſt, that this pouertie or meaneſſe is to be vnderſtood, of the price and colour of the cloath's