Letter of Agnes of Assisi to Her Sister Clare (1230) - 404 

Letter of Agnes of Assisi to Her Sister Clare (1230)

Agnes of Assisi, a younger sister of Saint Clare, was sent as abbess to the new foundation of Poor Ladies in Monticelli, Florence, and remained there for a period of more than twenty years.a It is not difficult to imagine that there wasa considerableexchange of letters between the two sisters, however this is the only one that remains.b

The letter can be dated at some time in 1230, that is, a year or so after her arrival in Monticelli, and beautifully expresses her sorrow at being separated not only from Clare, but also from the other Poor Ladies at San Damiano. It is another marvelous example of the affective literature that is found in the early documents of the followers of Saint Clare.

1To her venerable mother and the woman beloved in Christ beyond all others, to the Lady Clareand her whole community, Agnes, the lowly and least of Christ's servants, humbly presents herself with all obedience and devotion with best wishes for her and them for whatever is sweet and precious in the eyes of the most High King.

2The lot of all has been so established that one can never remain in the same state or condition. When someone thinks that she is doing well, it is then that she is plunged into adversity. Therefore, you should know, Mother, that my soul and body suffer great distress and immense sadness, that I am burdened and tormented beyond measure and am almost incapable of speaking, because I havebeen physically separated from you and my other sisters with whom I had hoped to liveand die in this world. This distress hasa beginning, but it knows no end. It never seems to diminish; it always gets worse. It came to me recently, but it tends to ease off

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Clare of Assisi: Early Documents, p. 404

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