Pope Innocent IV (1243-1253). - 372 

You and your sisters are concerned about a statement in the introduction to the said rule, which was confirmed by our apostolic brief: We transmit to you the Rule of Blessed Benedict. And you fear that you may commit a mortal sin if you do something contrary to the prescriptions of the said rule. Also you find it unsuitable, and indeed impossible, for your order to observe two rules.

Therefore, you humbly request that the two phrases by virtue of obedience and the Rule of Blessed Benedict be stricken from the aforementioned document and you ask Us to restore the special indults granted to your monastery by Pope Gregory, Our predecessor of happy memory.

After taking counsel, We cannot see our way, for a variety of reasons, to grant this request.

First: because Our beloved daughters in Christ, the abbesses and sisters of the Monastery of Saint Damian in Assisi and all other members of your order have solemnly professed to observe the aforesaid rule, which was carefully drawn up and confirmed by the Apostolic See.

Secondly: Because they have in fact observed this rule in a praiseworthy manner from the day of their profession to the present.

Thirdly: Since the rule itself prescribes that it be uniformly observed in all places by all who make profession of it, any alteration could result in serious and intolerable scandal, especially since the other sisters of the aforementioned order would notice that the tradition of the rule was violated or changed or, God forbid, would be confused and falter in its observance.

Therefore, with paternal affection, We appeal for your wholehearted compliance and grant forgiveness for your sins. Trusting in our Savior's loving kindness and tenderness than which nothing can be more pleasant to a humble soul and nothing more agreeable presented to the will, you should keep the aforesaid rule as your book of life, observe it reverently and faithfully and take care that your sisters observe it, but with the mitigation of its rigor mentioned by Our aforementioned predecessor and which We have provided through the plenitude of Our apostolic power for certain provisions of this same rule.

Neither you nor your sisters should be disturbed by the words by virtue of obedience and the Rule of Saint Benedict as found in this rule. The precept of obedience has as its purpose to preserve the

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Clare of Assisi: Early Documents, p. 372