Form of Life of Pope Innoncent IV - 89 

Form of Life of Pope Innocent IV
(1247)

Introduction

Between 1219, when Cardinal Hugolino provided his Form and Manner of Life for the Poor Ladies of San Damiano, the number of monasteries following the ideals of Saint Clare increased greatly. Many of these were not satisfied with Hugolino’s document and its insistence on professing the Benedictine Rule. Agnes of Prague, for example, explicitly asked that mention of the Benedictine Rule be omitted from the Form of Life granted to her monastery. At first Pope Innocent IV (1243-1254) insisted on the profession of the Benedictine Rule, as envisioned in the prescriptions of Hugolino, but he later promulgated his own Form of Life, Cum omnis vera religio, on August 6, 1247, which adds considerably to that of his predeces- sor and, at the same time, omits reference to that of the Benedictines. This document of Pope Innocent IV was not widely accepted. The Pope insisted upon its acceptance in a papal decree, Quoties a nobis, August 23, 1247.a

The following document clearly shows the insistence of the gradual refining influence of St. Clare and the Poor Ladies and reveals the tensions that existed in their attempts to have their charism and ideals incorpo- rated into the Church’s official legislation. But Innocent’s Form of Life is most useful in providing insights into the significant amount of legislation concerning religious women during the twenty-eight years between its composition and the Form of Life of Hugolino.


Innocent, Bishop, servant of the servants of God, to his beloved daughters in Christ, all the abbesses and enclosed nuns of the Order of Saint Damian, health and apostolic blessing.

1Every true religion and approved institute of life endures by certain rules and requirements, and by certain disciplinary laws.b

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Clare of Assisi: Early Documents, p. 89

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