Pope Innocent IV (1243-1253). - 379 

drink, and other necessities, nor are they to be allowed to observe the austerity of the fast and the law of abstinence; rather, they are to be mercifully dispensed both in foods and in fasting in keeping with their sickness and weakness. Moreover, the weak, frail, or sick Sisters and others appointed to look after them while they are sick are not obliged to maintain silence in the infirmary; this applies also to the Sisters who, when they come to visit and comfort them in their illness, are allowed to speak in the infirmary.

And since you live in cold regions, we give you permission to use garments made from skins. We give you permission to have three tunics or more should necessity demand it, a full-length mantle and, should you so wish, a short one for work, woolen slippers and to use mattresses of hay, chaff, or down.

On keeping the silence, on speaking two by two to one another, and in the parlor or at the grate, we have come to the decision that the Abbess, as she sees fit, can give you permission to speak in suitable places. Moreover, those who serve you, who carry the burden of the monastery inside and outside the monastery, on single occasions, if they so wish, may wear shoes; when their work is heavy or they travel from place to place, they are not bound to fast except on fast days laid down by the Church and on Fridays. In these matters we completely forbid a visitator in your monastery to make any constitutions, by his own authority, without the consent and desire of all the Sisters, that go beyond your form and rule, and that would oblige you to something under pain of guilt or punishment; but if by chance he did make some decision you are not bound in any way to obey it.

So that any basis for disturbance in your conscience might be taken away, beloved daughters in the Lord, We determine by this letter, that We, who knew the mind of the founder of this rule, feel and know, that it was not the intention of the Lord Pope Gregory of happy memory, who was a most pious and discreet man and showed you such a profusion of love and gifts, nor is it Our intention, to ensnare you in matters of silence, fasting, bedding, and many other things contained in the form of life given to you by him. We have laid down that, for a transgression of mortal sin, if it should happen that you act in a way contrary to the regulations, to oblige you, as is suggested to you by some, to confess to your confessor at the time who may lawfully hear your confession and impose on you a salutary penance for a transgression of




Clare of Assisi: Early Documents, p. 379