Introduction to Clare of Assisi: Early Documents - 32 

his uncle. Yet as the years progressed and the need for papal approval became more acute, he seems to have acquired a deeper and more comprehensive understanding of Clare's vision.

Upon the death of his uncle, Rainaldo continued as Cardinal Protector of the Poor Ladies during the papacy of Innocent IV. We know little of his contributing to Innocent's new Form of Life, but we might speculate about his contributing to its far more Franciscan tone in recognizing, among other things, the role of the Lesser Brothers as visitators and chaplains. Rainaldo appears to have been closely in touch with the ideals and aspiration of the Poor Ladies and, at the same time, close to Innocent IV who continually kept him in his entourage. Nevertheless, when Clare rejected this document for its obvious repetition of the same failure seen in Hugolino's Form of Life, that is, the failure to place poverty as the foundation of their lives, Rainaldo, must have had an important place in encouraging her to write her own Form of Life and in persuading the Pope to ratify it. Innocent's recognition of this role was recorded when Rainaldo's document of approval was placed along side the papal bull, Solet annuere, that finally ratified Clare's Form of Life.

A little more than a year after Clare's death, in December, 1254, Rainaldo himself became Pope Alexander IV and finalized the steps leading to her canonization. In his Bull of Canonization, Clara claris praeclara, he echoes the Enconium of the Easter Vigil as he praised "this woman...[whose] life was an instruction and a lesson to others who learned the Rule of living in this book of life Rv 21:27." "Let Mother Church rejoice," he proclaims, "because she has begotten and reared such a daughter.... Let the devout multitude of the faithful be glad because the King and Lord of heaven has chosen their sister and companion as His spouse... Finally, let the multitude of saints rejoice because the nuptials of a new royal bride Mt 22:2 Mt 25:10 are being celebrated in their heavenly midst."

It is ironic that most of the authors, while praising Clare and admiring her ideals, never seemed to grasp her role in creating a new form of Franciscan life. While Francis and his brothers were molding an itinerant and/or eremitical religious life held together by the bonds of brotherhood, Clare and her sisters were living in the confines of the enclosure. Both ways of life were founded on the same pursuit of a demanding personal and communal poverty, but mobility or lack of it was a deciding factor in how that poverty would be expressed. The brothers traveled easily throughout the world, working or begging to satisfy their needs. The sisters, on the other hand, were totally dependent on the care and generosity of others. Without a doubt many of Clare's contemporaries realized the practical implications of her enclosed-Franciscan ideal of poverty and tried to have her mitigate them. Did they perceive, though, that in undertaking




Clare of Assisi: Early Documents, p. 32