Letter of Saint Clare to Ermentrude of Bruges - 420 

Letter of Saint Clare to Ermentrude of Bruges

Luke Wadding, the Irish friar who meticulously examined the documents of the early Franciscan tradition, writes in the Annales Minorum, 1257, n. 20, that Saint Clare wrote two letters to Ermentrude of Bruges, who had founded several monasteries in Flanders where the sisters sought to live according to the way of life of the Poor Ladies of San Damiano.a However, Wadding presents only one text, which appears to be a summary of both letters; he does not indicate what manuscript or text he had at hand. Modern scholarship with all that is available to it has never been able to corroborate Wadding's findings and has continually called this text into doubt.b Nonetheless, since the sixteenth century, it has been consistently presented as part of the heritage of the Order of Saint Clare and, as such, it is presented here.

1To her very dear sister, Ermentrude: Clare of Assisi, a lowly servant of Jesus Christ, greetings and peace!

2I have learned, O most dear sister, that, with the help of God's grace, you have fled the mire of the world. 3I rejoiceand congratulateyou because of thisand, again, I rejoice that you are walking courageously on the path of virtue with your daughters.

4Be faithful, dearly beloved, till death

to Him to Whom you have promised yourself,

for you shall be crowned by Him with the garland of life.

5Our effort here is brief,

the reward Wis 10:17 eternal;

may the excitements of the world,

fleeing like a shadow, Jb 14:2
not disturb you.




Clare of Assisi: Early Documents, p. 420