Obediences for travel and various transfers








(1536 – 1641)








from I Frati Cappuccini, a work of Costanzo Cargnoni, Edizioni Frate Indovino, Perugia, 1991, volume I, pages 1669-1688.

Translated by Patrick Colbourne OFM Cap

Tableof Contents

Introduction by Costanzo Cargnoni

53-60 General forms of obedience for travel or transfers to other provinces or to come to Rome or to return to one’s own friary or province

53. Obedience for transfer to another province

61-62 Obediences for holidays

61. For father guardians and priests of importance

Introduction by Costanzo Cargnoni

A group of obediences with their own characteristic form is that concerning the various movements and journeys of the friars outside of preaching commitments. Here too we introduce some historical documents of obediences signed by the provincial of Bologna Lorenzo da Fognano (doc. 48), by San Lorenzo da Brindisi (docs. 49-51) and by Silvestro Bini of Assisi (doc. 52).

These are documents that are not tied to the usual forms but are adapted to different circumstances. Particularly note the accompanying letter (doc. 49) of the obedience to Mattia da Salò to go to Bohemia (doc. 50) which Saint Lawrence intends to be “valid for obedience”, that is, to have the same value as the attached official document. Since the obedience of return is not noted, as normally in the forms which always conclude with the recommendation to return immediately to one’s province or friary as soon as the purpose of the journey has been achieved, for this reason there is the obedience of return (doc. 52). And this is also expected for the friars from beyond the Alps who come to the general chapter (doc. 58).

The forms provide many other possibilities. Thus the Father General can call ad pedes [by foot] a friar to come to Rome, using a stereotyped phrase which contains many meanings: “Because we need it” etc. (doc. 60); or he can assign friars from one province to another, with the aim of helping its development “with example and doctrine” (docs. 53-54). These last cases concern a direct intervention, established in the general chapter, where the problems of the provinces are dealt with in the unity of the Order; but normally obediences are issued upon request of the interested parties: either because one needs particular health care (doc. 55), or because one has to carry out special tasks, provided there is a “reasonable cause” and the superior understands the “necessity” (doc. 57, 59), or because the friar “for some particular situations and reasons can no longer remain with a clear conscience” in the province (doc. 56).

Moving now to the forms of the provincial curia, we find other subdivisions and distinctions: the friars who ask to spend a period of summer holidays to “keep themselves in better health for greater service of the Lord”, receive distinct obediences according to their functions, as local superiors or “priests of account”, that is, lecturers or preachers (doc. 61) for whom the relief period is flexible, or as simple priests or lay friars who, like students, have the right to fifteen days of “relief” (doc. 62).

The same distinction is made when a friar asks to go to another friary in the province for particular emergencies (doc. 64-65). But two obediences are directly regulated by the provincial minister: when, after the provincial chapter or the definitory (that is, a meeting of the provincial with his father definitors or councillors) the “tables” or “lists” of the various families or communities are drawn up or fraternity of friaries with the indication of the office to be carried out (doc. 63); or when it is necessary to replenish some communities that have remained stunted due to the absence of friars engaged in preaching or other commitments for several weeks, and then Father provincial sends out of the obedience and always “with the blessing of the Lord” some “supplementary friars”, often simple priests or students (doc. 66).

Even in all these obediences an accompaniment is normally marked and authorized. That is, the friar must never travel alone.

53-60 General forms of obedience for travel or transfers to other provinces or to come to Rome or to return to one’s own friary or province

53. Obedience for transfer to another province

[pages 1677-1678]

1673 Because it has become necessary to send some friars to the Province of N. to be helpful because of their knowledge and exemplary way of life, and knowing that you would be very suitable for this because of the example you set, your strong faith and zeal for the salvation of souls, we command you, in virtue of obedience to go to the Province of N. together with the companion we have assigned to you or some other friar. You are to remain there subject to the Father Provincial and those who are your superiors during your stay.

I recommend you to them in the Lord and I beg all the Christian faithful, religious and lay people, whom you will meet to receive you kindly and assist you in the name of Christ. Let them be confident that they will receive the grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ and eternal life for every little thing that they do.[1]

Stay well and go in the Lord and deign to pray for us.

Given etc.

61-62 Obediences for holidays

61. For father guardians and priests of importance

[page 1684]

1681 Because your paternity needs a change of air this summer to remain healthy to improve what you are doing in the service of the Lord; I willingly agree to what you ask. Therefore, in virtue of this letter and with the merit of holy obedience, (with the agreement of your superior), you can take another friar from your fraternity and go to the friary in N., and after staying there for N. days return with him to your friary.

In all of this you shall enjoy the blessing of the Lord and have my recommendation.

  1. Cf. Mt. 25: 21-23.