Fifty years ago, the decree Perfectae Caritatis of the Second Vatican Council called for a renewal of religious communities in the Church, based on a return to the Gospel and to the “original spirit of the institute,” as well as their adaptation to “the changed conditions of our time.”

Convinced that “each institute has its own particular characteristics” (charism), the Council asked that “their founders’ spirit and special aims be set before them.” In the Franciscan movement, this sparked scholars to provide new critical editions of the writings of Francis and Clare of Assisi and well as their early biographies.

Since the Franciscan spiritual and intellectual tradition flows from the vision of Francis and Clare, CFIT decided several years ago that one of our goals would be to make the foundational source documents of our tradition – the writings of Francis and Clare of Assisi, as well as early their early biographies - instantly accessible world-wide. To accomplish this, CFIT is gradually uploading all of the early Franciscan sources to this website: both the original Latin texts published in Fontes Franciscani, as well as their English translation found in the three volume series, Francis of Assisi: Early Documents (FA:ED), edited by Regis Armstrong, OFM Cap., Wayne Hellmann, OFM Conv., and William J Short, OFM, published between 1999-2001 and in Clare of Assisi: Early Documents (CA:ED), edited by Regis Armstrong, OFM Cap., and published in 2006. The original publishers and copyright holders have enabled us to provide this service for the Franciscan world and for all those who would like to learn more about our tradition. CFIT is grateful to the Academy of American Franciscan History for providing a grant enabling the sources to be integrated into this website. 

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The Franciscan Intellectual Tradition

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