Order and Disorder: The Poor Clares between Foundation and Reform

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Author: Bert Roest
In Order and Disorder: The Poor Clares between Foundation and Reform, Bert Roest provides an up-to-date and comprehensive history of the Poor Clares from their early beginnings until the sixteenth century. With recourse to the available secondary literature and a wealth of primary sources, this book shows how the early history of the Poor Clares cannot be reduced to Franciscan initiatives, and that the institutionalization of the order was characterized by prolonged conflicts and a series of important papal interventions. The work also provides insight in the expansion of the order, the complexities of religious reforms, and the significant cultural production of the women involved.

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Bert Roest, Ph.D. (1965) teaches Medieval History at the Radboud University Nijmegen. He has published books and numerous articles on the medieval Franciscans and the Poor Clares, including Franciscan Literature of Religious Instruction before the Council of Trent (Brill, 2004).
Introduction ... 1

1 Clare of Assisi, Cardinal Ugolino and the Emergence of a Damianite Order ... 11
The Emergence of Clare’s San Damiano Community ... 11
The Wider Context ... 17
Attempts at Regularization: The Initiatives of the Papal Legate Ugolino of Ostia ... 21

2 Damianites, Minoresses, Poor Clares ... 37
The Franciscans and the Damianites after the Death of Francis ... 38
The Rule of Innocent IV ... 48 The Rule of Clare of Assisi ... 51
Franciscan Order Policies after the Death of Clare ... 54
Isabelle of France and the Minoresses ... 60
Urban IV and the Creation of the Ordo Sanctae Clarae ... 62
How Uniform was the Order of Poor Clares? ... 67

3 The Expansion of the Order Until c. 1400 ... 75
Cautionary Remarks . 75
Expansion Estimates ... 78
Italy ... 80
The Iberian Peninsula ... 88
France . 104
Minoresses in France, England and Italy ... 122
The German Lands (Including the Alsace Region) and the Low Countries ... 128
Central and Eastern Europe, Scandinavia, Greece and the Middle East ... 145
Attempts at a Typology of Clarissan Houses ... 154
Maps ... 161, 162, 163

4 Implementing Reforms ... 165
Tordesillas ... 167
The Colettines ... 169
Clarissan Reforms Under the Observantes Sub Vicariis in Italy ... 176
Observant Reforms in Alsace, Germany and Austria ... 187
The Ave Maria Reform ... 195
The Annonciade and the ‘Argentan’ or ‘Leonist’ Observance ... 199
The Regular Observance in Spain . 202
Spanish Conceptionists ... 208
Order Expansion During the Era of Observant Reforms ... 209
The Clarissan Expansion in the Northern Low Countries: A Case Study ... 211
Closing Remarks ... 224

5 Aspects of Community Life ... 227
Socio-Economic Realities ... 227
Social and Religious Aspects of Community Life ... 248
The Position of the Abbess ... 260
The Novitiate ... 269 Wayward Nuns ... 275
Size and Shape of Monasteries ... 279

6 Forms of Literary and Artistic Expression . 283
Preconditions: Literacy and Scribal Activities ... 283
Poor Clares as Authors in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries ... 297
Poor Clares and Minoresses as Target Audience ... 301
The Impact of the Observant Reforms ... 304
Epistolography ... 312
Autobiographical Writings and Texts of Religious Instruction ... 317
Writings on the Rule ... 321
Observant Chronicles and Saints’ Lives ... 325
Prayer Texts and Devotional Poetry ... 335
Works of Passion Meditation ... 337
Teaching and Preaching ... 339
Performances, Music and the Visual Arts . 342

Epilogue ... 347
The Sixteenth Century: A Century of Crisis? . 347
Ongoing Expansion ... 359
Some Tentative Conclusions ... 364

Bibliography ... 371
Index of Places and Convents ... 425
Index of Names and Subjects ... 431
All interested in the history of the Poor Clares and the Franciscans, medieval religious orders and late medieval women's history.