The Acts of the Process of Canonization - 139 

The Acts of the Process of Canonization


Within two months of the death of Saint Clare, Pope Innocent IV is- sued the papal bull, Gloriosus Deus, October 18, 1253, in which he entrusted Bishop Bartholomew of Spoleto with the responsibility of promoting the Cause of her canonization. The Bishop of Spoleto, who had previous experience in these matters, took as his associates the archdeacon, Leonardo of Spoleto, Jacobo, the archpriest of Trevi, Brothers Leo and Angelo of the Lesser Brothers who were close friends of Saint Francis, Brother Mark, chaplain of the monastery, and a notary. On November 24, 1253, they went to the Monastery of San Damiano in Assisi and officially interviewed under oath thirteen of the sisters who had lived with Saint Clare. Two other sisters, one of whom was in the infirmary, were questioned on November 28, 1253, and, on the same day, Sister Benedetta, the Abbess of San Damiano, spoke in the name of the entire community and declared the willingness of all the sisters to testify concerning the sanctity of Saint Clare.

That same day, November 28, 1253, the Bishop and his official party proceeded to the Monastery Church of San Paolo in the center of Assisi to interrogate officially those citizens of the city who had known the saint or experienced her intercession. They examined an elderly knight, Ugolino di Pietro Giraldone, the Lady Bona Guelfuccio, Ranieri di Bernardo, and Pietro di Damiani, all of whom were associated with the family of Saint Clare and had known her intimately as a child. On the following day, the officials interviewed Ioanni di Ventura who testified to one of the miracles that had occurred after Saint Clare’s death.

The text of the Acts of the Process of Canonization, together with the papal bull, Gloriosus Deus, comes to us in an Umbrian Italian version of the fifteenth century. Nonetheless, a critical, internal study of the text, as well as a thorough examination of the parallels that exist between it and the later Legend of Saint Clare, leaves little doubt as to its authenticity. It was only in 1920 that Zefferino Lazzeri discovered and published the Acts. The text that follows provides invaluable, firsthand information concerning




Clare of Assisi: Early Documents, p. 139