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Rule of the Friars Minor, 1209-2009

Historical Perspective, Lived Realities

Michael Cusato

Publication Year: 2010

This volume makes available the results of a unique conference held at the Franciscan Institute in April 2009 to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the founding of the Order of Friars Minor through the confirmation of the propositum vitae of the early friars by Pope Innocent III on April 16, 1209. This conference brought together for a brief but intense period of time two groups of people who do not often dialogue with each other: scholars of the Rule and practitioners of the Rule–those who study the Rule in an academic manner and those given the responsibility by their provinces of teaching and modeling the practice of the Rule in daily life. To that end, this volume presents six scholarly essays and nine interventions offered by friars from nine different areas of the globe who shared the challenges of living the Rule in diverse cultural, national and religious contexts.

Published by: Franciscan Institute Publications

Series: Spirit and Life


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pp. i


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pp. ii-iii

Short Biographies of the Presenters

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pp. iv-vii

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pp. 1-2

In the Spring of 1209, on April 16th according to a long-standing popular tradition within the Franciscan Order, the penitent Francesco di Bernardone and a group of companions who had been drawn to his way of life in the contado outside the city of Assisi, arrived in Rome at the Lateran Palace to present to Pope Innocent III for his blessing the...

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“'Deservedly Approved by the Roman Church':The Context for Papal Recognition of Francis’s Forma Vitae"

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pp. 3-31

Sometime in the final weeks of his life – late summer and early fall of 1226, “little Brother Francis” dictated a “remembrance, admonition, and exhortation” – his Testament – for his brothers. He began by recalling defining moments in his own life that were now two decades in the past: first, how God’s grace led him to begin “doing penance”...

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Revising the Earlier Rule: Carlo Paolazzi and the Work of Kajetan Esser

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pp. 33-43

Carlo Paolazzi, O.F.M. has produced a newly revised critical edition of the Earlier Rule (ER) or Regula non bullata.1 This friar-scholar had a long and distinguished career teaching in the field of philology, especially dedicated to studies of Dante and Franciscan sources, both at the Catholic University of Milan and elsewhere.2 On the occasion of...

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The Early Franciscans at Work as a State-of-Nature Argument

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pp. 45-57

Steven Epstein devotes the third chapter of his book Wage Labor and Guilds in Medieval Europe to the “Internal Organization of Guilds and the Labor Market” (102-54).1 That is, he writes about master workers and their world. The masters knew their trade and financed a workshop. They did business through labor and organized the guilds accordingly...

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Alms-Asking and Alms-Giving as Social Commentary and Social Remedy

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pp. 59-79

Canon 23 of the Second Council of Lyons (1274), Religionum diversitatem nimiam, forcefully attempted to address the problem of the proliferation of new religious orders that had been created in the sixty years after the issuance of a similar decree at the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215.1 The essential difference between the two decrees...

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Clare and the Defense of Franciscan Identity

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pp. 81-97

We all know the romantic story of the conversion of Clare of Assisi. Until recently most of the literature, as well as the cinema, would make it look like she was attracted to and seduced by Francis, who then locked her into a monastery. Clare is presented as simply a chapter in Francis’s life, at best, his female shadow. And again until recently,...

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Minorite Life in the Regula Bullata: A Comparison with the Regula non Bullata

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pp. 99-120

In his most recent book, the eminent medieval historian André Vauchez commented on the recent scholarship concerning the Franciscan rule: “The question concerning the Franciscan rules is one of the most complex questions that exists and even today the specialists are far from reaching agreement among themselves on certain points.”1...

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The Rule and Life

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pp. 121-124

...In our country, there was a misuse of faith and of religious communities for political purposes in the World War II, as well as during the last war (1992-1995). The burdens from the time of Fascism, Communism and Nationalism continue to weigh down heavily upon the generations of today. It is tragic that these three monotheistic religions still do not see...

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Historical Perspectives, Lived Experiences

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pp. 125-132

On the occasion of the 800th anniversary celebrations of the Propositum Vitae of St. Francis of Assisi approved by His Holiness Pope Innocent III vivae vocis oraculo in 1209/10, the Franciscan Institute at St. Bonaventure University, New York has invited me to share some lived experiences on how the Rule is read, interpreted, lived and struggled...

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The Evolution of Franciscan Life in Australia

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pp. 133-135

Just a matter of a year or two back, we in the South Pacific also observed the anniversary of an event of considerable significance: the 400th anniversary of the first Eucharist to be celebrated in our region, a Mass at which a Franciscan, Martin de Munilla, presided. He was part of a Spanish expedition sailing westwards from Peru across the...

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The Later Rule of 1223 and Franciscan Life in Germany and Central Europe

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pp. 137-141

I. Many of us are not able to tell spontaneously what the Rule means to us and how it might affect us in a life-giving way. This is not necessarily a sign of disrespect or lack of knowledge of its contents. When friars in various German provinces were recently asked about how the Rule affects their lives, some responded that they draw inspiration...

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Lived Realities in the Province of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

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pp. 143-147

...Formation in the Rule begins in the novitiate and continues through the years of initial formation and later. Professed friars have the opportunity to study at the Franciscan Institute, the Franciscan School of Theology and other Franciscan Schools. Friars have personal copies of the Rule and Constitutions....

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Beyond the Letter of the Rule:The Spirit of Francis Alive in Asian Realities

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pp. 149-155

The papal encyclical Ecclesia in Asia has described the deep complexity and diversity of lived realities in Asia. One prominent feature of the continent is its rich cultural and religious traditions. The intricate mosaic of its religious-cultural tradition is expressed in values like “love of silence, simplicity and harmony.”1 As Asians we have deep...

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Franciscan Values in Latin America

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pp. 157-159

To understand the importance (yesterday and today) of the Franciscan presence in Latin America, we have to consider its beginning and antiquity. The first Franciscan friars arrived in the beginning of the 1500s, and during these past five centuries, the Franciscan charism has touched our people’s hearts. Since the beginning, the friars’ fraternal...

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Practitioners of the Rule – India

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pp. 161-166

The word for Friary in Indian languages is Ashram – a center primarily inhabited by a sage (guru) who attracts to it people of all hues. Ancient times the Ashrams were situated generally near a riverbed or at the fringes of a forest. Rivers and forests in olden days provided practically all the necessities of life – water, food, firewood, fruits, vegetables,...

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Observing the Franciscan First Order Rule in the UK Today

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pp. 167-173

In 1224 the friars arrived in England. There were just nine of them in the first group but within fifty years the province consisted of 1500 men. From their study centers at Oxford and Cambridge the province produced teachers for the Order and the province has a good claim to have provided an input into the Franciscan intellectual...

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Concluding Observations

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pp. 175-179

The innovative idea driving the symposium held at the Franciscan Institute on The Rule of the Friars Minor, 1209-2009, was to gather together in conversation, among English-speaking participants, “scholars and practitioners” of the Franciscan Rule: those who have devoted their lives to studying the Rule as a medieval text and those who have...

E-ISBN-13: 9781576593257
E-ISBN-10: 1576592448
Print-ISBN-13: 9781576592120
Print-ISBN-10: 157659212X

Page Count: 180
Publication Year: 2010

Edition: First
Series Title: Spirit and Life

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Subject Headings

  • Catholic Church. Pope (1216-1227 : Honorius III). Solet annuere -- Criticism and interpretation -- 21st century.
  • Monasticism and religious orders -- Rules -- Criticism and interpretation -- 21st century.
  • Franciscans -- Rules -- Criticism and interpretation -- 21st century.
  • Franciscans -- History.
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