A Rule for Hermitages (1217–1221) - 61 

A Rule for Hermitages

This text can be found in the oldest manuscript collection of the writings of Francis, the Assisi Codex 338, and in the manuscript tradition of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Names of hermitages are spread throughout the early biographies of the saint suggesting that the eremitical spirit of the primitive fraternity was quite strong. While reflecting many of the expressions of the monastic hermitage, e.g., separation from the world, private cells, the tradition of Martha and Mary, this text expresses a distinctly Franciscan character, i.e., the fraternal dimension, the begging of alms, the role and visit of the provincial minister and the custodian.

1Let those who wish to stay in hermitages in a religious way be three brothers or, at the most, four; let two of these be “the mother” and have two “sons” or at least one.a 2Let the two who are “mothers” keep the life of Martha Lk 10:38-42 and the two “sons” the life of Mary Lk 10:38-42 and let one have one enclosure in which each one may have his cell in which he may pray and sleep.b

3And let them always recite Compline of the day immediately after sunset and strive to maintain silence, recite their Hours, rise for Matins, and seek first the kingdom of God and His justice. Mt 6:33 4And let them recite Prime at the proper hour and, after Terce, they may end their silence, speak with and go to their mothers. 5And when it pleases them, they can beg alms from them as poor little ones out of love of the Lord God.c 6And afterwards let them recite Sext, None and, at the proper hour, Vespers.

7And they may not permit anyone to enter or eat in the enclosure where they dwell. 8Let those brothers who are the “mothers” strive to stay far from everyone and, because of obedience to their minister, protect their “sons” from everyone so that no one can speak with them. 9And those “sons” may not talk with anyone except with their “mothers” and with the minister and his custodian when it pleases them to visit with the Lord’s blessing.




Regula pro eremitoriis data, Fontes Franciscani, p. 215-216

Regula pro eremitoriis data

1Illi, qui volunt religiose stare in eremis sint tres fratres vel quattuor ad plus; duo ex ipsis sint matres et habeant duos filios vel unum ad minus. 2Isti duo qui sunt matres, teneant vitam Marthae et duo filii teneant vitam Mariae et habeant unum claustrum, in quo unusquisque habeat cellulam suam, in qua oret et dormiat.

3Et semper dicant completorium de die statim post occasum solis; et studeant retinere silentium; et dicant horas suas; et in matutinis surgant et primum quaerant regnum Dei et iustitiam eius. 4Et dicant primam hora qua convenit et post tertiam absolvant silentium; et possint loqui et ire ad matres suas. 5Et, quando placuerit, possint petere ab eis eleemosynam sicut parvuli pauperes propter amorem Domini Dei. 6Et postea dicant sextam et nonam; et vesperas dicant hora qua convenit.

7Et in claustro, ubi morantur non permittant aliquam personam introire et neque ibi comedant . 8Isti fratres, quisunt matres, studeant manere remote ab omni persona; et per obedientiam sui ministri custodiant filios suos ab omni persona, ut nemo possit loqui cum eis. 9Et isti filii non loquantur cum aliqua persona nisi cum matribus suis et cum ministro et custode suo, quando placuerit eos visitare cum benedictione Domini Dei.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 61