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Introduction The Friars And Sisters

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Chapter Summary

Both men and women were attracted to the fledgling religious movement associated with Francis of Assisi in the early years of the thirteenth century. Bishop Jacques de Vitry recognized the nucleus of what would become the Franciscan Order, and wrote admiringly to his friends back in Liège about the Lesser Brothers - Fratres Minores - who ministered in towns and rejected a stable life of fixed communities and guaranteed income. He also praised the Lesser Sisters - Sorores Minores. Brother John of Perugia explained that in each city where the friars preached, they established houses for the women, what he called "reclusive monasteries for doing penance". The status of all of Clare of Assisi's writings matter because they represent one of the ways in which her image was appropriated by later Franciscans, both the friars and sisters, to shape the women's spiritual lives.

Keywords: Clare of Assisi; Francis of Assisi; friars; Jacques de Vitry; John of Perugia; sisters



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