IX. THE REFORM OF THE OBSERVANTS

Ai frati suoi, sì com'a giust' erede, Raccomandò la sua donna phù cara, E comandò che l'aniassero a fede.

DANTE*

At the time of Bernardino's arrival as a young novice in the remote little convent of Il Colombaio, the branch of the Franciscan Order which practised the "Strict Observance" of St. Francis' Rule was just beginning to gather strength again, after a long period of conflict and obscurity.

Thirty-three years before, a little community of Franciscans headed by a nobleman of Foligno, Paoluccio de' Trinci, had received permission to live, in a lonely hermitage in the hills above their city, San Bartolomeo da Brogliano, a life as strict and as austere as that of the Porziuncola1 -- observing the precepts of utter poverty bequeathed to them by their founder -- "without gloss, without gloss, without gloss," but with the approval of the Church and within the discipline of the Franciscan Order. This experiment followed upon a similar one in the same place some forty years earlier -- under the guidance of the Franciscan Spiritual Angelo Clareno and the leadership of Padre Giovanni della Valle -- but this earlier community, having accepted some members suspected of heresy, had been dissolved by the Pope's orders, and now Paoluccio, who as a young man had been a lay brother there, had returned with a few chosen followers to the same hermitage, to attempt to fulfil the same dream. It was not a spot to which, by choice, most men would have returned twice in a lifetime. It stood on a wild and lonely hillside; a plague of frogs and snakes infested the house from the marshes below and even crawled into the friars' beds, and the cold was so intense that they were obliged, after obtaining due dispensation, to wear goatskins on their shoulders and the peasants' wooden

-205-

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The World of San Bernardino
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS vi
  • List of Illustrations vii
  • SOURCES OF THE PHOTOGRAPHS ix
  • PRINCIPAL EVENTS IN THE LIFE OF SAN BERNARDINO 1
  • Preface 3
  • I. the False and the True Vocation 11
  • Ii. the World of Women 43
  • Iii. the World of Trade 77
  • Iv. the World of the Poor 99
  • V. the Charge of Heresy 117
  • Vi. Strife, Crime and Peacemaking 131
  • VII- the Preternatural And Supernatural Worlds 159
  • Viii the World of Letters 183
  • Ix. the Reform of the Observants 205
  • X. the Last Journey 229
  • EPILOGUE 241
  • PRINCIPAL ABBREVIATIONS OF TITLES USED IN BIBLIOGRAPHY AND NOTES 257
  • SOURCES AND BIBLIOGRAPHY 258
  • NOTES AND ADDITIONAL BIBLIOGRAPHY 263
  • Index 299
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