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The Clarisses And Observant Reform

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Chapter Summary

It has become a commonplace that Clare of Assisi was "rediscovered" in the fifteenth century by the reformers who sought to return the Franciscan Order to its spiritual origins through devotion to its earlier ideals. Two texts, written nearly a century apart, illustrate the dialectical tension between the principles of Observant Reform and its practice within the Order of Saint Clare. This chapter concentrates on two sources that offer privileged access to understanding how Observant Franciscans interpreted the sisters' rule in the fifteenth century. The nature of female Franciscan reform in Italy was geographically diffuse radiating from different centers, as well as temporally protracted. On 27 January 1445 nearing the end of what would be his first term as Vicar General of the Cismontane Observants, John of Capistrano prepared a commentary of sorts on the Rule of Saint Clare.

Keywords: Clare of Assisi; female Franciscan; Franciscan Order; Observant Franciscans; Rule of Saint Clare; Saint Clare



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