Pope Innocent IV (1243-1253). - 378 

weakness, piously and providently tempered the rigor of this formula in certain articles, as is more fully contained in the letter he wrote and signed with his seal. Accordingly, We, favorably inclined to your requests, regard as valid and sure what has been done by the same Bishop in this matter, and We confirm it by Apostolic authority and strengthen by the protection of the present writing. By this letter We draw attention to the contents of that letter by quoting verbatim from it as follows:

Rainaldo, by divine mercy Bishop of Ostia and Velletri, to the beloved daughters in Christ, to the Abbess and Sisters of the Monastery of Brixen of the Order of Saint Damian, health and paternal blessing.

It often happens, due to the weakness of the human condition, that, when the body is put under a heavier burden, it is easily confused and quickly can suffer irreparable danger. The sacrifice of regular observance should be carefully preserved with the salt of discernment and harsh rigor tempered with the manna of sweetness as the middle way between extremes, so that, just as fervor is necessary lest religious life be excessively relaxed, so also discretion in the service of the Creator is to be more zealously applied lest one move close to a precipice. Therefore, beloved daughters in Christ, while at times the spirit may be refreshed by these extremes, the body sometimes cannot be burdened without damage to the inner person.

We then, deputed by the Supreme Pontiff to care for and direct you, consent to the prayers of your devotion, and want you from now on to stay on the middle way and walk on this royal road in your observance. In this way, the strong and weak would be able to remain firmly together to the end, so that you are not perhaps forced to give up from weakness what you have undertaken.

By the authority of this letter we have come to the decision to temper the rigor of your life. In particular, at all times, both for the healthy and for others, you may have wine and vegetables in spite of the ruling on abstinence in the same formula and, except on days set down by the Church and on Fridays, you may use eggs and milk foods. From the feast of Easter Sunday until the feast of Saint Francis you are not bound to fast other than on days laid down by the Church and on Fridays. However, with a genuine and sure conscience, Sisters who are weak in body, frail, sick, or have lost blood, are to be provided with clothes, shoes, foods,




Clare of Assisi: Early Documents, p. 378