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Reading Clare’s Letters In Context

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Chapter Summary

The four letters attributed to Clare of Assisi and addressed to Agnes of Prague are documents of primary importance for the study of the early Franciscan movement and, in particular, for the history of early Franciscan women. Clare's first letter was known before Ratti's discovery through its inclusion in the Hall manuscript of the Chronicle of the Twenty-Four Generals, which was written by Nicholas Glassberger, dated 1491, and published in 1897. Clare closed her second letter by reminding Agnes that her vocational choice was for the heavenly rather than for the temporal. Clare's third letter to Agnes was most likely written in the year's interval between April 14, 1237, and April 15, 1238. Clare closed her fourth letter with a liturgical, "Amen". It was her last letter to Agnes, the end of a happy temporal life, and the beginning of her eschatological glory.

Keywords: Agnes; Assisi; Clare's letters; Franciscan movement



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