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Clare’s Forma Vitae: Unique Contributions

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Chapter Summary

The forma vitae of the Order of Poor Sisters is the first example of canonically approved monastic legislation written by women and formed by the experience of women. Clare's forma vitae was composed at the end of Clare's long monastic journey. It expresses Clare's vision of religious life, and represents the end of a determined struggle to obtain juridical approval for her forma vitae. It is a text written not only by a foundress but by a community, even perhaps a small network of communities, committed to the "privilege of poverty," exemplary religious living, and the charitable care and concern for the poor surrounding the monasteries. The author outlines Clare's forma vitae in relationship to the friars' 1223 Rule, Ugolino's forma vitae, and Innocent's forma vitae.

Keywords: Clare's forma vitae; Innocent's forma vitae; Ugolino's forma vitae



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