Letter of Cardinal Hugolino dei Conti di Segni - 129 

Letter of Cardinal Hugolino dei Conti di Segni
(1220)

Introduction

The author of the Legend of Saint Clare writes of an exchange of letters that took place between Clare and Cardinal Hugolino.a Unfortunately, only this document and one other written by Hugolino shortly after his election as Pope remain giving us insights into their correspondence.b

Hugolino wrote this letter after a visit to San Damiano during which he celebrated Holy Week with the Poor Ladies. It is difficult to determine the precise year of this visit, although it may well have been when the Cardinal was visiting Saint Francis in Assisi shortly after the saint’s return from the Orient, that is, 1220.c In that year Hugolino was officially named the protector of the Order.d


1Hugolino, a wretched and sinful man, the Bishop of Ostia, commends himself—all that he is and all he is capable of being—to his very dear sister in Christ and mother of his salvation, the servant of Christ, Lady Clare.

2My very dear sister in Christ! From that very hour when the necessity of returning here separated me from your holy conversation and tore me away from that joy of heavenly treasure, such a bitterness of heart, such an abundance of tears, and such an immensity of sorrow have overcome me that, unless I find at the feet of Jesus the consolation of His usual kindness, I fear that I will always encounter such trials which will cause my spirit to melt away. And this is reasonable because, just as an overwhelming sorrow ensued when the Lord was taken away from the

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Clare of Assisi: Early Documents, p. 129

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