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The Politics Of “Infant’s Milk”: Clare Of Assisi And The Privilege Of Poverty

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Chapter Summary

Clare's life at S. Damiano in Assisi was focused mainly on love of God and neighbor. The fruit of Clare's prayer is simply exemplary works and good words for her sisters and those coming to the monastery for spiritual or temporal needs. This chapter shows that the early companions of Clare used the opportunity of the papal investigation to fortify their claim to the "privilege of poverty" even after the death of Clare. The forma vitae that Francis gave to Clare was not a path to mature holiness but designed specifically for babes who were just beginning. Pope Gregory had given the sisters at S. Damiano legislation that was befitting those who were mature; hungering for infant's milk was inappropriate at this juncture.

Keywords: Assisi; Clare; forma vitae; infant's milk; Pope Gregory; privilege of poverty; S. Damiano



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