Pope Gregory IX - 357 

Pia meditationes pensantes, May 5a

Gregory, Servant of the servants of God, sends greetings and the Apostolic benediction to His beloved daughters, the Abbess and the Community of the cloistered Handmaids of Christ of the Order of St. Damian at the Monastery of St. Francis in Prague.

Pondering in devout meditation over the fact that the Son of the eternal Father took on flesh in the womb of the glorious Virgin Mary for the salvation of the human race and that He arranged in all kindness to provide different ways for His faithful by which they might be enticed to persist in prayer to the praise of God, We certainly wish to be concerned for that by which, with the help of God, the fervor of devotion and the grace of perseverance might be increased in you for the observance of the law of God. Therefore, since it would appear that you are not able to observe, as you wish, the rigor of the Rule which was given to you, because of the cold climate of the country in which you are under the discipline of a regular observance established for the glory of our Redeemer, We have considered that because of eternal benevolence We should see to it that such austerity be tempered by a desire for salutary moderation. Therefore, by the authority of this letter We grant that, even though you ought to fast at all times on Lenten food according to the Rule, yet you should eat twice on Sundays and Thursdays, and refresh yourselves with milk products. But no one is obliged to fast on Easter, on the solemnities of the Blessed Virgin and of the Apostles, on the feast of the Nativity of the Lord, and also at the time of evident necessity, such as sickness. If any of you become ill, the Abbess, or the senior Sister, has the faculty of dispensing from the fast and from the food. Furthermore, We wish that on those days during Lent and Advent on which you are obliged to fast according to the Rule, you refresh yourselves in everything just as on other fast days. We also give you permission to have two tunics, a scapular, a felt mantle, and sandals, and to use pillows and mattresses filled with hay or straw.

Let no one try to void this concession or make a rash attempt to oppose it. If anyone should attempt to do this, let him know that




Clare of Assisi: Early Documents, p. 357