The Privilege of Poverty of Pope Gregory IX - 87 

to the papacy, Hugolino, now Pope Gregory IX, issued the Privilege of Pov- erty on September 17, 1228. When studying the events of the following years, however, we might wonder if he was thoroughly aware of or committed to the implications of his decree, for he subsequently offered relax- ations and dispensations to the Poor Ladies at San Damiano and elsewhere.a Clare, then, petitioned that the Privilege be conceded to the other monasteries attempting to follow her form of life.b

1Gregory, Bishop, Servant of the servants of God, to his beloved daughters in Christ, Clare and the other servants of Christ gathered together in the church of San Damiano of the diocese of Assisi, health and apostolic benediction.

2As is evident, you have renounced the desire for all temporal things, desiring to dedicate yourselves to the Lord alone. 3Because of this, since you have sold all things and given them to the poor, you propose not to have any possessions whatsoever, clinging in all things to the footprints of Him, the Way, the Truth, and the Life Who, for our sake, was made poor. 4Nor does a lack of possessions frighten you from a proposal of this sort; 5for the left hand of the heavenly Spouse is under your head to support the weakness of your body, which you have placed under the law of your soul through an ordered charity. 6Finally, He Who feeds the birds of the heavens and clothes the lilies of the field will not fail you in either food or clothing, until He ministers to you in heaven, when His right hand especially will more happily embrace you in the fullness of His sight. 7Therefore, we confirm with our apostolic authority, as you requested, your proposal of most high poverty, granting you by the authority of [those] present that no one can compel you to receive possessions.




Clare of Assisi: Early Documents, p. 87