Francis and Clare: The Complete Works

Saint Francis (1182-1226 C.E.) and Saint Clare (1193-1253 C.E.) are two of the most famous saints in the history of Christian Spirituality having “captured the hearts and imaginations of men and women of all nationalities and creeds through the centuries.”[1] Both saints grew up in the Italian city of Assisi around the same time though it is unclear if they knew each other before 1212 C.E. when Clare pledged herself to Christ in the presence of Francis and the bishop of Assisi.[2] In the years that followed this pledge, Clare and Francis became joined together in the minds of their followers as they lived out the ways of Lady Poverty.

            The volume in question contains all the known writings of both Saint Francis and Saint Clare. The first half of the book is focused on Francis displaying the twenty-eight works firmly established as written by Francis along with five dictated letters/blessings.[3] The most famous of these works is “The Earlier Rule” which help establish and guide the Order of Friars Minor (i.e. the Franciscans).[4] Saint Clare’s writings make up the latter half of the book. Included in this selection are her four letters to Blessed Agnes of Prague as well as “The Rule of Saint Clare” that guided the actions of the Order of Poor Ladies.[5]

            While the writings of both Saint Francis and Saint Clare were interesting from a historical view point, I have to admit that I wasn’t personally impacted by their writings. Their radical dedication to Lady Poverty, while honorable, isn’t something that tugs on my spirit, though I do embrace material simplicity which could be called a sister to Lady Poverty. I did, however, connect, as a lot of people have, with Francis’ view on all of creation praising the Creator King.[6] Lastly, I admit that Francis’ overwhelming support for the leadership of the Roman Catholic Church was a surprise to me. Though he lived during a time when corruption ran deep throughout the hierarchy of the church, Francis taught his followers to respect and obey the priests and leaders of the church.[7] This doesn’t mean that he didn’t call out the sins of the church (for he did!), but rather it shows his deep conviction and love for the Bride of Christ.[8] This, if anything, is a message the modern church needs to hear.


[1] Regis J. Armstrong and Ignatius C. Brady, eds., Francis and Clare: The Complete Works (New York City: Paulist Press, 1982), xv.

[2] Regis J. Armstrong and Ignatius C. Brady, eds., Francis and Clare, 170.

[3] Regis J. Armstrong and Ignatius C. Brady, eds., Francis and Clare, 7.

[4] Regis J. Armstrong and Ignatius C. Brady, eds., Francis and Clare, 107-108.

[5] Regis J. Armstrong and Ignatius C. Brady, eds., Francis and Clare, 170.

[6] Regis J. Armstrong and Ignatius C. Brady, eds., Francis and Clare, 19-20.

[7] Regis J. Armstrong and Ignatius C. Brady, eds., Francis and Clare, 69.

[8] Mark Galli, Francis of Assisi and His World (Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 2002), 59, 182.

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