The troubles of the Capuchins under Pope Paul III (1534-1541)

by Edoardo d’Alençon OFM Cap

The Troubles of the Friars Minor Capuchin during the first years in the pontificate of Paul III (1534-1541)[1]


Translated by Paul Hanbridge OFM Cap

Table of Contents

  • To the reader
  • Chronological Index
  • The Troubles of the Friars Minor Capuchin during the first years in the pontificate of Paul III
  • Chapter I 
    • 1. On the study of the Reform in the Order of Friars Minor of the Observance at the time of Clement VII – 2. The Reform to be done within the Religion – 3. The passage of Observant Friars to the Capuchins is forbidden until the General Chapter – 4. It may be permitted unless Reform is provided for within two months.
  • Chapter II
    • 1. Vittoria Colonna, the Marchioness of Pescara, defender of the Capuchins. 2. The close relationship of Bernardino Ochino of Siena with Vittoria Colonna. 3. Many plead with Ludovico da Fossombrone to convoke a General Chapter. 5. The ploys by which Vittoria Colonna will bend his unwillingness. 5. A Letter of the General of the Conventual Friars. 6. The Chapter is celebrated.
  • Chapter III
    • 1. Preamble. 2. The Vocals at the Chapter. 3. What was decided then. 4. Ludovico refuses to obey the new Superiors. 5. The election of Bernardino d’Asti is confirmed. 6. Ludovico’s machinations against the Capuchins. 7. A new celebration of the Chapter. 8. Ludovico is expelled from the Order. His end.
  • Chapter IV
    • 1. The date of the celebration of the second Chapter. 2. Similarly, the date of the letter of Vittoria Colonna to different Cardinals. 3. A summary of the aforesaid letter. 4. Other writings of the same Marchioness to Paul III. – Appendices to Chapter iv: a) The report of Vittoria Colonna to the Pontiff; b) Her letter to the Cardinals.
  • Chapter V
    • 1. The General of the Observance attempts to subject the Capuchins to himself. 2. The Letter of the Emperor against the Capuchins. 3. The Cardinal of Santa Croce opposes them. 4. The appointment of a Commission of Cardinals over the differences between the Observants and the Capuchins. 5. The industriousness of the Marchioness of Pescara. 6. The Emperor stays in Rome and retracts his letter.
  • Chapter VI
    • 1. Memorial of Bernardino d’Asti about the transfer of Observant Friars to the Capuchins. 2. Letter of Vittoria in support of the Capuchins. 3. The Brief prohibiting the transfer from one to the other. 4. It is decreed that the Capuchins not go beyond the Alps. 5. Continuing persecutions do not obstruct the spread of the Order.
  • Chapter VII
    • 1. The Chapter of the Friars Minor of the Observance is deferred. 2. The Marchioness of Pescara busies herself to overturn new machinations against the Capuchins and the reform. 3. A letter of hers to Cardinal Agostino Trivulzio. 4, Cardinal Sanseverino’s speech in defence of the Capuchins. 5. Again the Pontiff prohibits the Capuchins from receiving Observants. 6. He revokes the permission given verbally in person. 7. Conclusion.
  • Appendix I: The letter of Ludovico da Reggio to Bernardino d’Asti
  • Appendix II: Religionis zelus
  • Bibliography
  • Supplementary Bibliography

To the reader

The genuine history of the beginnings of our Order of the Friars Minor Capuchin will always need to be written, and the sources from which it may draw upon are scarce. Our first friars were little concerned with handing onto posterity their memories of the things that had happened. These friars had already died when their heirs wanted to compose the history of their family. The first account was produced in 1565 by Mario da Mercato Saraceno, and expounds things the early fathers had said, or which he had heard some time earlier from the mouth of Matteo da Bascio, and it is not usefully based on authentic documents. In his second and third narrations Mario enlarges the account, though not worrying about critical apparatus necessary to confirm what he says, as if everything can be taken as certain. There are so many errors in his account, as well as the accounts of the others, that it is necessary to weigh up carefully their assertions and compare them with historically certain data.

Some of this kind of data is to be sought among contemporary writings which admit no exception, such as pontifical documents, or in letters or accounts of this time as well as in other lesser witnesses. For many long years I have tried to gather these things as best I could and on every given occasion. Acceding to the repeated pleas of many of my Brothers, I have undertaken to transmit some of these things so that they may not be lost.

While putting aside to another time, God willing, the things which happened under the Pontificate of Clement VII,[2] I begin with Paul III.

I have given the title to this exposé, or presentation of documents: Tribulationes Ordinis Fratrum minorum Capuccinorum, led not only by the example of Angelo Clareno who wrote the Chronica septem Tribulationum Ordinis Minorum, but because this title echoes the truth.

Certain grave contradictions in the nascent Congregation sadly threatened its destruction. It had begun amid storms which might have cancelled the Congregation totally had not Divine Providence protected this tender shoot on the vigorous Franciscan tree. When it might appear to languish it is always found to be stronger, so that it is necessary to exclaim, “The finger of God is here!”

I trust anyone who with the patience to read this exposition of mine to the end will arrive at the same conclusion as mine. I say patience, since these pages are as intricate as the events they described were involved. One trouble was not yet settled when another, more vehement one emerged. Hence it has been necessary sometimes to invert the chronological order to avoid greater, consequent confusion. In the end I include a chronological table which shows the series of events and the documents that illustrate these.

I have already published these pages in the Analecta, but when studying some documents more carefully, I have changed my first opinion in this edition. So too I have been able to restore to its author a writing in defence of the Capuchins, until now attributed to Bernardino d’Asti. It is fitting to assign it, without possible doubt, to the famous Vittoria Colonna, the Marchioness of Pescara, tireless supporter of the troubled Friars.

I have completed this exposition to the year 1541. At the time, the Capuchins enjoyed calm for a time. In peace they gained new men so that they could sustain without detriment the imminent tribulation to come about due to the unhappy Ochino.

Chronological Index

1532 – Clement VII orders that each province of the Observant Friars Minor assign friaries for those friars wanting to live more strictly. The Bull In suprema..

1533 – The execution of the Bull In suprema is suspended until the General Chapter of the Observant Friars Minor.

1534 – When, because of obstacles, not a few transfer from the Observants to the Capuchins, Clement VII forbids their reception without permission of the Apostolic See. Cum sicut accepimus

25 September: Clement VII dies.

12 October: Paul III is elected.

18 December: The new Pontiff forbids the Capuchins to receive not only Observants, but any kind of religious, Accipimus.,

153512 January: Paul III declares that only the reception of Observant Friars is forbidden for the Capuchins, Nuper accepto.

15 May: The General Chapter of the Friars Minor of the Observance celebrated in Nice orders that reformed houses be established in all the provinces, as Clement VII had just commanded.

14 August: When the provincial superiors procrastinate on the foundation of such houses and Observant Friars migrate to the Capuchins, Paul III again prohibits such transfers, Pastoralia officii.

16 August: The Pope declares a time limit of two months for the erection of houses of reform. Nonetheless he stops the prohibition of transferring to the Capuchins, Dudum postquam.

October, final days: The General of the Observance goes to the Capuchins of Calabria and attempts to recall them to his obedience.

7 November: The General Chapter of the Capuchins is celebrated in which, with the deposition of Ludovico da Fossombrone, Bernardino d’Asti is elected.

4 December: Badly informed by the Minister General, Carlos V writes against the Capuchins.

23 December: The commission of three Cardinals appointed to resolve the differences between the Observants and the Capuchins prohibits the latter accepting those who arrive from the Observance.

29 December: The letter of Vittoria Colonna to the Cardinal of Mantua in defense of the Capuchins.

15367 January: Thanks to the Capuchin Vicar General three other Cardinals, benevolent towards the Capuchins, are added to the other three already appointed to resolve the differences.

7 January: The scheming of Ludovico da Fossombrone against Bernardino d’Asti.

7 February: The letter of Vittoria Colonna to Ambrogio Recalcati, on the support that Ludovico found while he was conspiring towards the ruin of the Capuchins, page.

5-10 April: While staying in Rome, Carlos V changes his opinion and says that he commended the Capuchins to the Pope.

29 April: To put an end to the rebellion of Ludovico da Fossombrone, Paul III confirms the election of Bernardino d’Asti, Cum sicut.

May (?): The letter of Vittoria Colonna to Ambrogio Recalcati on the machinations of Ludovico who obtained a repeat of the Chapter.

27 June: Letter of the same Marchioness to the Duchess of Urbino in which she sends the letter of convocation for the aforesaid Chapter to be sent immediately to the friars in the friary at Fossombrone.

July (?): The Chapter is celebrated. It confirms the election of Bernardino d’Asti and decides to expel Ludovico unless he obey.

August (?), before the 25th: The Letter of Vittoria Colonna to a number of Cardinals in which she confutes the accusations made against the Capuchins.

Letter of the same Marchioness to the Pope in defence of the Capuchins.

25 August: At the intercession of Vittoria Colonna Paul III confirms and spells out the Bull of Clement VII (Religionis zelus, 3 July 1528) which released the Capuchins from the jurisdiction of the Observants, Exponi nobis.

September (?): The report of Bernardino d’Asti regarding the resolution of the differences between the Capuchins and the Observants, about their reception from the beginning.

10 October: The judgement of the Chapter is confirmed by Paul III in which Ludovico is expelled from the Order, Superioribus diebus.

13 December: This sentence is made known to Ludovico.

15 December: In the Consistory Paul III appoints a commission of Cardinals to decide the arguments between the Observants and the Capuchins.

December (?): The letter of Vittoria Colonna to Ambrogio Recalcati on not forbidding the passage of Observant Friars to the Capuchins.

December (?): Another letter of Vittoria Colonna to Cardinal Contarini – that the Observants may go across to the Capuchins licentia petita, licet non obtenta.

15374 January: The Pope warns the Capuchins not to receive Observant Friars unless they have permission in writing from the superiors, until something else will be decided in the next Chapter. Again he urges the foundation of houses for friars who wish to live a stricter life, Regimini universalis.

5 January: He forbids the Capuchins from moving beyond the Alps, Dudum siquidem.

5 July: The suspension of active cases between the Observants and the Capuchins concerning the friars received before the judgement of 4 January, until the coming General Chapter to be celebrated in Rome.

153811 May: The General of the Observance has the Chapter deferred and to be celebrated outside Rome. He makes new moves against the Capuchins in the meantime. Cum sicut.

16 September: The letter of Vittoria Colonna to Paul III, that he not allow new disturbances to be brought upon the Capuchins.

3 October: Another letter of Vittoria Colonna to Cardinal Trivulzio about the battle that the friars who want to lead a reform life are forced to endure.

153920 August: When some Observants go across to the Capuchins because of the obstacles, the Capuchins are forbidden again to receive others. Accepimus.

1541June: The General Chapter of the Observants is celebrated in Mantua, in whose statues nothing is found regarding reform.

5 August: Therefore when many are migrating to the Capuchins their reception is again forbidden.

The Troubles of the Friars Minor Capuchin during the first years in the pontificate of Paul III

Chapter I

1. On the study of the Reform in the Order of Friars Minor of the Observance at the time of Clement VII – 2. The Reform to be done within the Religion – 3. The passage of Observant Friars to the Capuchins is forbidden until the General Chapter – 4. It may be permitted unless Reform is provided for within two months.

1. With the union made by Leo X of the various families living a reformed life in 1517, not a few of the professed of the Regular Observance, “inflamed by the Holy Spirit, as disciples and true sons of blessed Francis” sought to be able “to steadfastly observe the Rule of the Blessed Father purely and fully according to the letter and the declaration of Nicholas III and Clement III.”[3] Therefore it had been ordered many times both in General Chapters and by Ministers General that two or more friaries be assigned in each province for the friars seeking a stricter observance, where it would be easier to lead this reformed life. Given the opposition of the enemy of the human race, prescriptions of this kind failed to have an effect.

Hence the origin and development of the Capuchins.

2. However some, regretting division in the Order, insisted with the Supreme Pontiff “that in the Religion itself, he prescribe a way as well as houses for those aspiring to a stricter life and perfect observance of the Rule, and it may be easier to achieve it. Important among these,” continues Wadding whose words we cite, “were Francesco d’Iesi and Bernardino d’Asti, men of integrity, both pious and learned.”[4] They are the ones who petitioned Clement VII for the Bull In suprema (16 November 1532), in which the Pontiff decreed and ordered that the superiors in each province assign more friaries, four or five, as near as might be possible, according to the number of friars aspiring to this stricter life, and decreed some things for their government and peace.[5]

However the supreme authority was unable to convince their opponents who, exaggerating the danger of a new division, thwarted every attempt to repeat this reform within the Religion itself. In fact in the following year (1533), at the insistence of the opponents, the execution of the Bull was suspended until the General Chapter to take place soon.[6] This was the reason why Bernardino d’Asti and Francesco d’Iesi, seeing that they had sought in vain to preserve the unity of the Order, transferred to the Capuchins, along with certain other zealous friars of this reform. Among these was Giovanni da Fano, who had harshly persecuted the first fathers of the new family even though he himself desired a stricter life.[7]

3. Such transfers, which the historians refer to the years 1533-1534, prompted further efforts by the Observant Fathers against the Capuchins, “while they believed themselves deprived, because the flower of virtuous men, those who left them, went to the Capuchins.”[8] They obtained from Clement VII, 9 April 1534, a strict document prohibiting the transfer, without special permission from the Apostolic See, of Observant Friars to the Friars calling themselves the Capuchins.[9] It also forbad them receiving new houses or places to live in.[10]

On 25 September 1534 Clement VII died. His successor, Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, became Pope on 12 October and took the name Paul III. Fearing that perhaps the new Pontiff, who while in the lower ranks had lent his protection[11] to the Capuchins, might take action and revoke the prohibitions issued by his predecessor, the Observants immediately filled his ears with complaints against the new family and obtained the following document.

Paulus Papa III

Ad perpetuam rei memoriam.

Accepimus, quod ex eo quod nonnulli Ordinis Fratrum Minorum, de Observantia nuncupatorum professores, ob frugem, ut asserunt, melioris vitae, aut ex aliis causis eorum animum moventibus, habitum per fratres dicti Ordinis gestari solitum dimittere, et se de domibus et locis eiusdem Ordinis ad modos et loca Fratrum Ordinis sancti Francisci, Capucciatorum nuncupatorum, se transferre nituntur, Religio ejusdem Ordinis Fratrum Minorum de Observantia, plurimum perturbatur et scandalizatur. Quare Nos non valentes ad praesens ob varia et diversa negotia, quibus in nostri Pontificatus initio, in quo sumus,[12] occupamur, huic rei, ut vellemus, vacare: et cum dicti Ordinis de Observantia generale Capitulum, a quo maturius informari speramus, in proximo Pentecostes festo celebrandum sit: de consilio nonnullorum S.R.E. Cardinalium, motu proprio, et ex certa nostra scientia, statuimus et ordinamus, quod nullus dicti Ordinis de Observantia proessor ad domos et loca dictorum Fratrum Capucciatorum, quovis praetextu, sine nostra speciali licentia se transferre possit et valeat, et contraveniens excommunicationis poenam ipso facto incurrat. Inhibentes sub eadem poena excommunicationis, universis et singulis Fratribus Capucciatorum praedictis, ne aliquos dicti Ordinis de Observantia professores, aut cujuscumque alterius Religionis vel Ordinis, aut domus vel loca recipiant, donec, ut praediximus, a Capitulo generali praedicto plenius informati, huic negotio opportunum cum Domino apponamus remedium.[13]

However while other regular Orders were not opposed to the Capuchins, nor did they conspire for their destruction, on 12 January 1535 Paul III published a new letter, Nuper accepto, in which he declared that only the reception of those called Friars of the Observance is forbidden. In the words of the Pontiff:

Cum autem postea a fide dignis certiores redditi sumus, ex Fratrum aliorum Ordinum et Religiosorum ac ipsorum domorum, et locorum receptione nullum scandalum nasci seu provenire, Nos, qui ad inhibitionem praedictam solum, ut scandala tollerentur, devenimus, motu et scientia similibus mentis nostrae esse declaramus, per litteras praedictas solum Fratrum de Observantia nuncupatorum personarum et locorum receptionem usque ad dictum Capitulum generale vobis prohibere, et quoad alios, vos remanere in eodem statu, in quo antequam dictae litterae emanarent eratis.[14]

That Brief has written on the back, “Dilictis filiis fratribus ordinis minorum Cappuccinis nuncupatis.” (To the beloved sons and brothers of the Order of Minors called Capuchins.) The term Capuccinus had not yet been used in the pontifical documents, but Capucciatus to this point in the documents that follow.

Clement VII had convoked that Chapter, from which the zealous friars anxiously awaited reform within the Religion, to be celebrated in Rome in the friary of Santa Maria in Aracoeli on the feast of Pentecost 1535 “for the happy management of the Order itself and, if necessary, to better attend to reform.”[15] In the following year he allowed it to be convoked in the province of Saint Louis or in another nearby province.[16] In reality it was celebrated “in the city of Nice, in the Province of Saint Louis, in Holy Cross friary on the vigil of Pentecost (15 May). Vincent Lunel, of the province of Carthage was elected as Minister General, having fulfilled the office of Commissary General of the Curia. About the reform of the Religion it was decided that in all the provinces special friaries be established according to the number of Friars wanting to live in a reformed way, and according to the things which Clement VII had decreed in his letter.”[17]

Certainly if such a statute had been put into effect the family of Capuchins could not have survived a day. However the new superiors seemed more intent on persecuting the reform than promoting it within the Religion. They too took pains to have a prohibition made for the Capuchins to confirm that they not receive Observants. On 14 August Paul III issued a new letter. The Pontiff says:

Cum, sicut accepimus, dilecti filii Minister Generalis et alii Vocales ejusdem Capituli opportune ordinaverint et statuerint, quod ejusdem Ordinis Fratrum Minorum de Observantia professoribus, arctiorem vitam ducere cupientibus, in provincialibus Capitulis assignarentur congrua loca, in quibus eamdem vitam ducere possint… motu proprio et ex certa scientia nostro statuimus et ordinamus, quod de cetero omnes et singuli Ordinis Fratrum Minorum de Observantia nuncupatorum professores arctiorem vitam hujusmodi ducere cupientes, ad loca per Capitula provincialia, juxta ejusdem Generalis Capituli determinationem ad hunc effectum designanda se transferre debeant, nec ad domos aut loca Fratrum Capucciatorum, quovis praetextu sine nostra, aut Sedis Apostolicae speciali licentia, specialem praesentium nostrarum litterarum mentionem faciente, aut saltem absque Ministri seu Commissarii Generalium dictis Ordinis Minorum de Observantia speciali licentia in scriptis habita, sub poenis et censuris in eisdem prioribus nostris appositis ipso facto incurrendis, se transferre, aut illorum habitum assumere vel gestare possint.[18]

4. If the superiors of the Observance pressed for the execution of the parts concerning the prohibitions, they cared little for the preceptive elements, namely the things to be done concerning the allocation of houses for those wishing to live a stricter life.[19] Therefore, as it is to be believed, after the insistent petitions by such zealous friars, after a few days had passed, on 19 August Paul III declared a time limit of two months for this allocation, otherwise the prohibition of transferring to the Capuchins would cease ipso facto.

Cum autem, sicut nobis ex fide dignorum relatione innotuit, provincialia capitula dicti Ordinis Fratrum Minorum de Observantia aliqua loca, ad quae Professores arctiorem vitam ducere cupientes, juxta dicti Capituli Generalis ordinationem, se transferre possint, nondum deputaverint, Nos, ne ipsi Professores arctiorem vitam ducere cupientes, quominus illam ducere possint, praetextu posteriorum litterarum impediantur, providere, ac eos in proposito confovere volentes: Motu proprio, et ex certa nostra scientia, auctoritate Apostolica, tenore praesentium statuimus et decernimus, quod nisi Capitula provincialia praedicta, juxta tenorem posteriorum litterarum nostrarum, loca ad quae ipsi Professores arctiorem vitam ducere volentes, transferri possint, infra duos menses a die, qua praesentes dilectio filio Ministro generali dictis Ordinis Minorum de Observantia, vel dicti Ordinis Generali Commissario in Romana Curia existenti intimatae fuerint, computando, realiter et cum effectu designaverint et deputaverint: quicumque ipsius Ordinis Fratrum Minorum de Observantia arctiorem vitam ducere volentes ad loca dictorum Fratrum Capucciatorum se absque alicujus censurae et poenae incursu transferre, ac in illis permanere, et dicti Fratres Capucciati tam illos, quam etiam quoscumque etiam saeculares, et cujuscumque alterius Religionis ad eos accedentes, in eorum domibus seu locis, ac etiam nova loca, eis a quibusvis concedenda recipere et retinere libere et licite possint, nec praeterea aliquas censuras sive poenas incurrant, nec incurrisse censeantur.[20]

Given that the Capuchins did not delay the prescribed notification, the period of two months expired around the beginning of November. However, in that moment, added to the matters which external opponents prosecuted against them, there were also internal divisions. To describe these things more clearly it is necessary to go back a little.

Chapter II

1. Vittoria Colonna, the Marchioness of Pescara, defender of the Capuchins. 2. The close relationship of Bernardino Ochino of Siena with Vittoria Colonna. 3. Many plead with Ludovico da Fossombrone to convoke a General Chapter. 5. The ploys by which Vittoria Colonna will bend his unwillingness. 5. A Letter of the General of the Conventual Friars. 6. The Chapter is celebrated.

1. Caterina Cybo, the Duchess of Camerino, had been the mother of the nascent congregation of the Friars of the Eremitical Life. She had obtained from her uncle, Clement VII, the first Bull Religionis zelus, 3 July 1528. After Clement had died, Caterina lost the favour which she enjoyed in the Curia and she was unable to protect her Capuchins with Paul III. In fact, the new Pontiff expressed his animosity to her and hers, whom he even deprived of temporal goods.[21] However divine Providence gave another defender to the new family, namely the celebrated Vittoria Colonna, the Marchioness of Pescara.

It is not clear how and when she began to lend her support and protection to the Capuchins. Our early writers say that the Duchess of Camerino commended the Capuchins to Vittoria when in 1529 Ludovico petitioned Rome to find hospitality there for himself and his friars. It is said that sometime in 1530 she stayed with her brother Ascanio in Rome,[22] and afterwards she returned to the island of Enaria (today Ischia) off Naples. In summer of 1532 she went to Civitavécchia[23] and then certainly transferred to Rome. From this time until March 1535 there is no contemporary witness to prove her stay in Rome.[24]

Although staying a long way from Rome in the kingdom of Naples, Vittoria could have known about the Capuchins. She had had certain close connections with the Venerable Servant of God Maria Lorenza Longo, the founder of the Capuchin nuns, who had prepared the first accommodation for the Capuchins in the city of Naples until by her offices she obtained for them the church of Saint Eufebio.[25] Vittoria’s familiarity with her was such that at the time it might be said that the Marchioness had a mind to enter the monastery of Capuchin nuns.[26] Then from the beginning of this monastery, around the year 1532, the Capuchins heard the confessions both of Maria Lorenza and the nuns.[27] Therefore it must be concluded, it seems, that Vittoria, who frequented the Monastery of Santa Maria in Gerusalemme, had some dealings with the Capuchins.

Whatever the truth may be concerning the support offered our friars earlier we turn now to the year 1535. In early March coming from Ischia, Vittoria reached Civita Lavinia[28] where her brother Ascanio was at the time. He welcomed her with great joy. He had not seen her, nor his own daughter who was staying with her, for five years. On 7 March, always in the same place, Marcantonio was baptised. (This Marcantonio made a glorious name for himself at Lepanto.) It may be believed that Vittoria did not leave before this day. Then coming later to Rome she was received at the Monastery of San Silvestro in Capite.[29]

2. At the time, to the great applause of everyone, Bernardino Ochino da Siena had his Lenten sermons in the Church of San Lorenzo in Damaso. A large crowd took part and not a few cardinals listened to him. The Marchioness of Pescara also attended and at least from this time struck up a friendship with Ochino.[30] Let us say, “at least from this time” because we do not know when Vittoria came to know him first.[31] Very likely he joined the Capuchins towards the end of 1533. There were those who would say that he entered the new family because he had not been elected Vicar General of the Friars Minor of the Observance when Clement VII deposed Paolo Pisotti da Parma.[32] However the things he did before Lent of 1535 are unknown to us. After Easter, Vittoria visited the Holy House of Loreto, went again to Civita Lavinia, then to the town of Genazzano, where she called Ochino, who towards the end of the month of June was preaching in the church of San Pio, which at that time belonged to the Conventual Friars.[33]

3. Let us recall the order of events from which we have strayed. Everyone knows how Matteo da Bascio, elected superior general in the first chapter celebrated in Albacina (1529), resigned the office after a short period, to which Ludovico da Fossombrone succeeded him in the government of the family. The little flock and congregation of Friars Minor of the Eremitical Life had grown and numbered hundreds and hundreds of friars.

In the words of Boverius, when so many friars of holy life and outstanding in doctrine flourished (in the Congregation) it seemed that a greater and more prudent administration of matters was required than what Ludovico could have provided, being more a shrewd man rather than prudent and suitable for governing. Also the precept of the Rule required and decreed for optimal government, and decreed that general chapters be celebrated every three years. No mention was made of all these things with Ludovico. Rather, he alone administered the Religion as he pleased. Therefore, since those more prudent among the fathers were aware that Ludovico’s administration lacked counsel and prudence, for the benefit and profit of the Congregation, they persuaded him everywhere to convoke a general chapter. He, with his heart set against a chapter, either offered them a deaf ear or had tried to satisfy them with long drawn out, false hopes.[34]

4. This event showed the attitude he had towards it. We can speculate about the scheme others had. One of those was Bernardino da Siena, who “hoped that dignity the others seemed to despise or flee from would come to himself easily.” Therefore one particular day, when Vittoria was with him, Ochino was extolling the observance found among the Capuchins. The occasion presented itself, among other things, that for the good of this observance it is necessary to celebrate the Chapter prescribed by the Rule. He persuaded the Marchioness to exercise her authority with the reluctant Ludovico. Mario da Mercato Saraceno narrates at length about the ways, “some gentle, some harsh,” by which she achieved this. He advises that he heard these things from the Duchess of Tagliacozza, the wife of Ascanio Colonna. Unable to bend Ludovico with words, he says, Vittoria detained him in her home and at night, under guard, sent him to Marino where Giovanna was staying, who attempted in vain to bring him to convoke a chapter. Because of this the Marchioness ordered him transferred to Rocca di Papa, indicating to him that he would not go free until he satisfied the wishes of the Friars. The Vicar promised. She was concerned however about his trustworthiness and went to Paul III and explained what she had done. The Pontiff paternally reprimanded Vittoria because she had laid violent hands on a priest and the superior of a religious family. However, approving the purpose, he ordered that she immediately release Ludovico, whom he then had instructed to convene the chapter.

5. Among the gentler tactics which the friars could have used to bring Ludovico to call a Chapter was an intervention by the authority of the General of the Conventuals, who by virtue of the Bull of Clement VII, had the competence to admonish and compel the companions of our family whom he might find not observing the Rule. Our writers fail to say how those who wanted new superiors elected according to the precept of the Rule, appealed to the aforesaid General who was visiting the friaries of France (Gaul) at the time. However a certain Conventual author presented a letter which he would have as a rescript to our Ludovico. We write out here what has come down to us.

Admodum Reverendo Patri in Christo dilectissimo F. Ludovico de Forosempronii Vicario.

Cum nostrae pastorali sit demandata curae, juxta editam Clementis VII Constitutionem, tutela ac defensio vestrae Congregationis Eremiticae, cujus propagationi, quantum in nobis est, non sinamus incumbere, ad salutem animarum in ea degentium, et (quum) per multas epistolas acceperimus, V.P. contra ordinationes et leges ejusdem, nulla ratione, nisi probabili, in longum protrahere Comitia Generalis; tranquillitati vestrae consulentes, Te, cui vinculo charitatis conjuncti sumus, peramanter exhortamur, et quatenus opus est, per Patrem Magistrum Riverium, in laboribus nostris socium fidelissimum, quem Romam mittimus ad negotia vestrae Congregationis fovenda, monemus vehementer ut dicta Comitia Generalia indicere et indicta celebrare debeatis. Dat. Parisiis die 23 novembris.

Fr. Jacobus Anconitanus
Totius Ordinis S. Francisci
Minister Generalis[35]

6. Such a letter arrived after a certain time, for the chapter was celebrated in November in the friary of Santa Eufemia. Colpetrazzo writes, “First, six Definitors were elected. These were Bernardino da Siena, Bernardino d’Asti, Giovanni da Fano, Eusebio d’Ancona and two others whose names I have forgotten. Then with the common approval of everyone, Bernardino d’Asti was declared Vicar General.”[36]

Chapter III

1. Preamble. 2. The Vocals at the Chapter. 3. What was decided then. 4. Ludovico refuses to obey the new Superiors. 5. The election of Bernardino d’Asti is confirmed. 6. Ludovico’s machinations against the Capuchins. 7. A new celebration of the Chapter. 8. Ludovico is expelled from the Order. His end.

1. Concerning the said general chapter celebrated in the month of November, we should dwell longer because apart from those things which are certain, some things are to be discussed and it is necessary to correct those things which I wrote in the first edition of this Commentary.[37] I am not embarrassed to acknowledge that I had been misled by our early writers who say that the Chapter had been celebrated in the month of September. Today, better, after having scrutinised contemporary documents I am convinced this new celebration should be brought forward to the month of July or August, as I will attempt to prove in the proper place.

2. It would be of no small importance to determine those who had been the Vocals at this Chapter. However we have no contemporary record to resolve this question except for one. In this it is shown as clear as day that the superiors of Calabria, whom Boverius affirms as present,[38] did not participate in the assembly. Nevertheless that province had been constituted and had its Vicar, namely P. Bernardino Giorgio da Reggio. It is to be believed that he was called. However he did not go because of infirmity, by which he had been exhausted by 19 December, since he had already deteriorated. His principle companion was also absent, Ludovico da Reggio, as is clearly discovered from his letter that you will find at the end of this discussion.

Few provinces had been erected, for our writers would have it that such a division was made during this chapter, They say that Vicars were appointed then, which is not proven from the documents since even after the Chapter there are still provincial Commissaries.[39]

3. Concerning the decisions of that chapter our writers only report two things: namely the aforesaid division of provinces and the revision of the first Constitutions which were then expanded and arranged better according to the twelve chapters of the Rule.

Do not be amazed that I place the revision and extension of the Constitutions in 1535, even though it has always been said by everyone that the Constitutions were set out in 1536. According to all the early writers of our history this revision was carried out in the celebration of the first Chapter, therefore in November 1535. Since, contrary to the facts, these writers determined this first convocation for Pentecost 1536, by necessity the have erred also regarding the date of the revision.[40]

The text of the Constitutions is unknown to us.[41] However we do know from the document to be cited below that is was decreed that the general chapter be celebrated each year and that the Vicar General might not remain in office beyond three years.[42]

It is also probable that the admonition was inserted then into the Constitutions regarding submission to the Supreme Pontiff and the Prelates of the Catholic Church, which until now we have found in the Constitutions published in 1577.[43] From a certain letter of the Marchioness of Pescara[44] we know that the opponents of the Capuchins reprimanded them regarding their submission to the Ordinaries of the places where they were living, the prescription of which, in accord with the mind of St. Francis, they had introduced into the last chapter.[45]

Similarly a clause had also been included about expositions and declarations on the Rule. The clause always reads, “we renounce in perpetuity the privileges and glosses which, while relaxing the Rule, turn us from its pure observance … and as the only one, enduring and authentic commentary on the Rule, we accept the declarations of the Pontiffs, especially Nicholas III and Clement V, of happy memory.”[46]

Bernardino da Colpetrazzo preserved the memory of the other statute for us. While speaking in his Chronicle about the life of Giovanni da Puglia, who came to us from the Discalced, Colpetrazzo says, “finding himself in Rome in 1536 when the first Constitutions were composed, he had it written there ‘that the friars must give to the poor everything left over from the table, since that is the practice among the Spanish discalced friars.”[47]

4. Mario da Mercato Saraceno tells that Ochino, who in his carefully concealed ambition expected the first position, was disappointed. At the same time Colpetrazzo writes the opposite, that he declined this offer (which seems hardly likely), presenting some Pontifical Brief that would have him immune from this prelature. Whatever may be the story with Bernardino Ochino, it is certain that Fossombrone did not consent to the election of the new Vicar General, to whom he refused to offer even signs of obedience. Instead, with some friars, his rebellious companions, he withdrew to a certain church dedicated to Saint Thomas.[48] It is difficult to discern the sequence of the things he schemed afterwards because our writers, who defer the first celebration of the chapter to Pentecost (4 June) of 1536, while it is certain that it was concluded in November 1535, restricting to a few months the things which lasted a full year.[49] The things which we can surmise support with documents are these.

Ludovico probably contended that the election of Bernardino d’Asti was null, since the convocation of the chapter on his part was neither free nor voluntary, since he alone, in virtue of the Bull of Clement VII Religionis zelus was competent to govern the congregation, and because the Bull imposed no obligation upon him to convoke a chapter. Therefore all the things that happened in the chapter were invalid, and only those who adhered to him could legitimately wear the Capuchin habit. He went to the Protector of the Order, Cardinal Santa Croce, asking him to intervene with his authority, for which he promised to bring the Capuchins back under the authority of the Minister General of the Observance. He came at the opportune moment, since at that time, as will be said, that Minister was working with all this strength to achieve this union, promising support and goodwill to the Capuchins whom he would permit to remain in their reform and stricter observance. He also went to other Cardinals whom he knew to be benevolent, such as Giovanni Domenico de Cupis, called the Cardinal of Trani, and Andrea Matteo Cardinal Palmieri, and it seems that he got them on his side. In fact in a letter which Vittoria Colonna sent before the end of February 1536 to Ambrogio Recalcati, the secretary of Paul III, she wrote, “My sins are the reason why fra Ludovico, while he was doing good, never found support. Today, however, since he intends to destroy this congregation, he is aided by impious piety and malevolent charity. May Your Lordship do what I humbly ask of the Reverend Palmieri and see his letter. It is certainly amazing! The supreme Pontiff is of benevolent regard towards me, and the Reverend Palmieri intends to support me. I regard you as the greatest friend. Nonetheless where it concerns the good of five hundred souls, to be attended to by just one, countless impediments are removed.”[50]

5. In order that his pronouncements about the invalidity of the Chapter and the authority granted him by the Bull of Clement VII, which were disturbing the consciences of many, be brought to an end, the new Superiors appealed to the Pontiff. The Apostolic Letter of Paul III Cum sicut Nobis of 29 April is known. However since, regarding its results, not all the things they had asked were granted them, it will be useful to publish here the first redaction of that letter. Many things, which had been erased and are copied out here in italics, are of great importance for our history.[51]

Dilectis Filiis Fratribus Ordinis Minorum

Capucinorum nuncupatis.

Paulus Papa III

Dilecti Filii, Salutem et Apostolicam benedictionem. Cum sicut Nobis nuper exponi fecistis alias, postquam fel. rec. Clemens Papa VII, praedecessor noster, dilectis filiis Ludovico et Raphaeli Forosemproniensibus Ordinis Fratrum Minorum, ut secundum Regulam beati Francisci Vitam Eremiticam ducere, et habitum cum Capucio quadrato gestare, necnon tam Clericos saeculares et Presbyteros, quam Laicos ad eorum consortium recipere, et barbam deferre, et ad Eremitoria seu loca alia quaecumque, [cum consensu dominorum eorundem locorum], se conferre [et in eis habitare, vitamque austeram et eremiticam inibi agere, et in quibuscumque locis mendicare, necnon omnibus et singulis privilegiis, indultis et gratiis Ordini Fratrum Minorum huiusmodi, ac eremeo Camaldulensi beati Romualdi illiusque eremitis in genere, vel in specie, eatenus concessis et in posterum concedendis, aeque principaliter uti, potiri et guadere libere et licite valerent], plenam et liberam per suas tam in forma Brevis, quam sub plumbo litteras, facultatem concesserat: ipseque Ludovicus facultatis litterarum hujusmodi vigore, nonnullos Clericos Saeculares, ac Religiosos et Laicos ad ejus consortium receperat; ac ex tunc vos, sub ipsius Ludovici tamquam Congregationis vestrae Vicarii cura et Superioritate, gratum Altissimo famulatum exhibere studueratis. Cum dictus Ludovicus officio Vicariatus hujusmodi in Capitulo Generali ipsius vestrae Congregationis in Alma Urbe de mense Novembris anni proxime praeteriti celebrato cessisset: vos ad electionem novi Vicarii vestri procedentes, dilectum filium Bernardinum Astensem, ipsius Ordinis vestri professorem, in Vicarium ejusdem Congregationis vestrae elegeritis, et alia pro ipsius Congregationis salubri directione statueritis et ordinaveritis; Nobis humiliter supplicari fecistis ut gestis per vos in capitulo hujusmodi, pro illorum subsistentia firmiori, robur Apostolicae firmitatis adjicere, ac alias in praemissis opportune providere, de benignitate Apostolica dignaremur.

Nos igitur prosperum et tranquillum statum et felicem successum vestrae Congregationis hujusmodi supplicationibus inclinati, omnia et singula in dicto capitulo, provide et laudabiliter gesta, ac licita et honesta, et sacris canonibus non contraria, necnon litteras vobis a praefato praedecessore nostro concessas, quarum tenores praesentibus habere volumus pro expressis, Auctoriate Apostolica, tenore praesentium approbamus et confirmamus et innovamus, ac omnes et singulos juris et facti defectus, si qui forsan intervenerint in eisdem, supplemus, eaque valida et efficacia existere et perpetuo firmiter observari, necnon litteras Clementis praedecessoris hujusmodi praefato Bernardino ac suis successoribus ipsius Congregationis vestrae Vicariis, vobisque omnibus et per omnia, proinde ac idem Bernardinus Vicarius et ejus legitimi successores in ipsis litteris nominati fuissent, et nullius alterius mentio fieret, suffragari debere decernimus. Nosque ac etiam praefatum Ludovicum jure correctioni et superioritati Bernardini moderni Vicari, ac ejus successorum praedictorum subjicimus. Necnon amnem auctoritatem eidem Ludovico ac cuicumque fratri ejusdem Congregationis, tam a vobis in certo Capitulo quam a praefato Clemente praedecessore, et forsan a Nobis concessam, nisi in quanto ipsi Vicario vel ejus legitimis successoribus, ad commune bonum ejusdem Congregationis vestrae, secundum Deum judicaveritis expedire, revocamus, casamus et annullamus; ac vobis ut Capitulum ipsius Congregationis vestrae singulis annis celebrare possitis, sed tamen quod Vicarius eujsdem Congregationis ultra triennium in officio Vicariatus hujusmodi permanere non possit indulgemus; districtius inhibentes, quibuscumque personis cujuscumque conditionis existant, sub excommunicationis latae sententiae poena, eo ipso incurrenda, ne habitum per vos deferri solitum, nisi sub ejusdem Bernardini Vicari obedientia et cura permaneant, gestare quoquomodo praesumant; ac decernentes irritum et inane quicquid secus contigerit attentari; [necnon mandantes curiae vobis in praemissis efficacis defensionis praesidio assistendo faciat, auctoritate nostra, praesentes litteras et in eis contenta firmiter observari; contradictores quoslibet et rebelles per censuras et poenas ecclesiasticas, et alia opportuna iuris remedia appellatione postposita, compescendo, ac censuras ac poenas ipsas iteratis vicibus aggravando, invocato etiam ad hoc, si opus fuerit, auxilio brachii saecularis.

Non obstantibus praemissis ac piae memoriae Bonifatii papae octavi et praedecessoris nostri de una et concilii generalis de duabus dietis et aliis apostolicis constitutionibus necnon quibusvis privilegiis et indultis apostolicis sub quibuscumque tenoribus et formis ac cum quibusvis clasulis et decretis concessis et concedendis quae adversus praemissa nullatenus suffragari posse volumus, ceterisque contrariis quibuscumque.

Decernentes transumptis praesentiarum manu notarii publici subscriptis et sigillo alicuius personae in dignitate ecclesiastica constitutae munitis, eandem prorsus fidem in iudicio et extra adhibendam fore quae ipsis praesentibus adhiberetur, si forent exhibitae vel ostensae.]

Datum Romae apud Sanctum Petrum, sub annulo Piscatoris, die 29 aprilis mdxxxvi, pontificatus nostri anno secundo.

(On the back): Dilectis filiis fratribus Ordinis minorum sancti Francisci capuciatorum nuncupatis.[52]

In the letter sent, the first lines[53] printed here in italics had been erased and the others substituted in this way: “Nos igitur[54]… supplicationibus inclinati, electionem de persona dicti Bernardini, ut praefertur factam, Auctoritate Apostolica, tenore praesentium approbamus et confirmamus. Necnon litteras Clementis praedecessoris hujusmodi praefato Bernardino, quoad exercitium Vicariatus hujusmodi, perinde ac si ei directae fuissent, suffragari debere decernimus: disctrictius…”

Where did such a retraction of the text come from?

The retraction should be attributed to Ludovico’s supporters, who could not take kindly the confirmation and renewal of the Bull of Clement VII, which they tried to have abrogated. Therefore they had those words annulled which meant the approval and confirmation of the aforesaid Bull, so that they could take up this question again, if the hope they nurtured of seeing the Capuchins themselves obtain this simple abrogation be frustrated.

6. Having become more obstinate with such help from patrons, despite the Pontifical confirmation, Ludovico continued to deny obedience to Bernardino d’Asti, under the pretext of a more faithful zeal for the Bull of Clement VII that allowed the Capuchins “to take themselves to hermitages and to dwell in them, to live there an austere and eremitical life.” He lamented that his friars had severed themselves from that pristine vigour of life and forgetful of humility desired the applause of men; and Ochino was not immune from his rebukes. With his wicked ways he deceived and won over the Cardinal of Trani.

However Vittoria Colonna does not hesitate to assert the important part the Cardinal of Santa Croce had in these machinations. She testifies that Ludovico was an instrument in the Cardinal’s hands. She says, “The Cardinal of Santa Croce saw that he was unable to oppress this congregation with the help of the Emperor, who while he was staying in Naples had written to Paul III against the congregation. Then, however, on coming to know the truth, he commended them himself.[55] The Cardinal moved a certain fra Ludovico to throw the congregation into confusion, bearing in his breast a brazen attitude.”

Ludovico believed and applied himself willingly to persuade the good and simple friars that it would be better, for the good of the Congregation, if they lived under obedience to the General of the Observants rather than that of the General of the Conventuals. He encouraged many to want to persevere in that first simplicity, namely, to dwell in solitary places far from the tumult of men, and having forgone study to apply themselves to work with their hands. He petitioned, therefore, for a new chapter to be celebrated, in which everyone who wanted might be able to take part, to treat of such things and to establish them at the same time. Using the authority of the Protector as if it had been given to himself, the Cardinal of Santa Croce granted him these things on his own initiative or petitioned to have them granted by the Pontiff. Consequently a new celebration of the Chapter was decreed in which that traitor hoped to be elected as Vicar by the multitude of friars who very likely were ignorant of his schemes. He will take back from them later the very thing which he had pledged to obtain.

The Marchioness of Pescara was careful to inform the Cardinal of Trani and even the Supreme Pontiff about the truth and about Ludovico’s manifest and deceitful schemes. The aforesaid Cardinal to whom Paul III had entrusted the whole affair, having learned of these things, ordered the troublemaker to leave Rome until the time of the chapter.[56]

On 27 June the same Vittoria sent the letter of convocation to the Duchess of Urbino and asked that it be handed immediately to the friars in the place in Fossombrone. At the same time she advised the Duchess of Urbino to warn the friars not to be deceived by Ludovico. He had shown his intention to return to his town and to visit the Duchess to importune her.[57]

7. At the pre-established time (that date will be examined later because now the things relevant to Ludovico’s rebellion have to be brought to a conclusion) the chapter was celebrated, presided by the Cardinal of Trani, who for a more satisfactory direction and outcome of the chapter itself, was prefect by order of the Pontiff.

The things which happened in the chapter are known. The Cardinal wanted to be one of the three Scrutineers who, according to the method then observed in chapters, took a public vote viva voce. He derived the greatest edification from the simplicity and harmony of the Friars. The Friars were unanimous in re-electing the superiors appointed by the previous chapter, whom he confirmed in the name of the Supreme Pontiff.

Then later, when there was a discussion about matters of great importance, Ludovico, who had been admitted to the Chapter – “although he could have been excluded” – to fulfil his role – proposed to take the Congregation back under the protection and correction of the Minister General of the Observance, from whom the confirmation of the Vicar General should be obtained. By unanimous consent everyone rejected such a plan. This touched upon the very existence of the Congregation, and the persecutions to which those who wanted to live in the Order in a reformed way were exposed. The learned easily recognised the snares which the mellifluous promises of the General concealed.

Seeing this and his other proposals rejected, “forgetful of his proper profession and salvation, without any legitimate reason, but because of a real ambition and pride,” Ludovico refused to obey the confirmed superiors. In vain “both the Cardinal of Trani and the rest of the chapter kindly exhorted him many times to return to obedience and having put aside his earlier obstinacy be able to conform with the other friars. He was promised paternal and charitable treatment. He barely returned to his senses, however, but persisted day by day in his perfidy and disobedience, and applied himself to live separately with other friars, and live according to his will, a great scandal to Christ’s faithful and the worst example. Seeing his obstinacy, the Chapter saw no other means by which he might withdraw from his harmful intention. To remove the scandals which his disobedient and licentious life could provoke, with the consent of the aforesaid Cardinal, the chapter decreed and ordered that within a certain time Ludovico either fulfil some things to which he was bound, or renounce the habit usually worn by the Friars of the Order.” Since that time had elapsed, “Having a hard heart, Ludovico did not want to relinquish the obstinacy conceived in him, but continued to worsen.” The superiors had recourse to the Pontiff to intervene on his part and confirm the statute and order of the chapter. In their name Cardinal Palmieri went to Paul III and with a Letter given on 10 October the judgement of the Chapter was confirmed.[58]

8. However wanting to leave room for a change of heart, and after a period of two months had elapsed, the Superiors informed Ludovico the Brief of Paul III and the judgement of the Chapter by Apostolic Courier. On the reverse of the aforesaid Bull one reads the following statement:

Anno a nativitate Domini millesimo quingentesimo trigesimo sexto, Indictione nona, die vero decima tertia mensis decembris, Pontificatus domini nostri Domini Pauli divine providentia Papae Tertii, anno ejus tertio, praesens retroscriptum breve apostolicum una cum quadam coppia cujusdam decreti, sive sententiae aut ordinationis, in capitulo generali per vicarium et fratres ordinis minorum de Capucinis vulgariter nuncupatorum, Romae in domo seu ecclesia Sanctae Euphemiae, Regionis Montium de Urbe capitulariter ad hoc congregatos, finito et celebrato, contra fratrem Ludovicum de Forosempronio, olim vicarium ejusdem ordinis, factorum seu latorum et promulgatorum, praesentata, intimata, insinuata et notifficata fuerunt praefato fratri Ludovico, Romae in domo cujusdam dominae Brigidae Castagna,[59] in Regione Parionis commorantis, per me reperto et apprehenso, ipsum monendo et requirendo, etiam sub poenis et censuris in eisdem brevi et coppia decreti, sive ordinationis contentis, ut eisdem brevi et decreto, sive ordinationi, in omnibus et per omnia juxta earumdem vim, formam, extensionem et tenorem pareret et obediret, coppiamque brevis et decreti praedictorum sibi obtuli quam habuit et retinuit, per me Johannem Philippum, praelibati Sanctissimi Domini nostri Papae cursorem.

Federicus Chemille
pro magistro Cursorum.”

Forlorn Ludovico, thoughtless of his situation! Since he had been an instrument in the hands of God, he considered himself necessary, and God brings to nothing the proud. At about the same time the Marchioness of Pescara was writing, “Saint Francis wanted his religion to be reformed, but he did not want someone to presumptuously assume the title of reformer to himself. Yet this reform was done by a certain very holy man fra Matteo, who still lives among those Fathers. Immune from this ambition. He went around preaching since it had been published in the Bull of Clement VII of holy memory that Saint Francis alone was its founder.”[60]

What was the end for the poor Ludovico? Mario da Mercato Saraceno writes that he fell into such destitution that he sought his bread by a manual activity.[61] Colpetrazzo says he led the eremitical life, always offering a good example of himself.[62] Mattia Bellintani, who agrees with Marius, adds that he spent some time in Perugia[63] with pious priests, Don Bino Pantani and Don Mario Baldeschi.[64] Ludovico’s sojourn in that region of Perugia is demonstrated by two contemporary witnesses. In the year 1549 we find him, together with Matteo da Bascio, in Foligno in the home of a certain nobleman, Michelangelo Jacobilli, an outstanding friend of the Capuchins who had met both of them the same day and invited them to lunch.[65] Marius, who narrates these things, advises that he had heard these himself from the nobleman when he was passing through Foligno himself a few days later, with P. Giuseppe da Collamato, going to Naples to take part in the general chapter. In a later chapter (1552) Eusebio d’Ancona was elected Vicar General, and he ordered Bernardino da Colpetrazzo, who writes about these things, to go to Ludovico staying then in Perugia to invite him to return to the Order. He accepted joyfully. “It has been fifteen years,” he exclaimed, “since I have been obliged to relinquish the Order, and no one had proposed a day such as this to me.”[66] Therefore he returned to the friary at Ameria and lived happily in our friary until cardinal Rudolfo Carpi, Protector of the Order, hearing of this, ordered him expelled from the Order again. “The reason he ordered this is not known,” continues Colpetrazzo, “nor have I been able to find out about him afterwards. They told me this unhappy man died in the mountains near Cagli where he was living the solitary life, unknown to everyone, except a certain friend who brought him the necessary bread once a week. I do not dare, however, to affirm these things,” he concludes. Similarly Mario writes that he does not know about Ludovico’s end.

Another author, however, chronologically the last,[67] adds that Ludovico then went to the Camaldolese hermitage at the Grottoes of Massaccio, where he had formerly found the Fathers supportive. He conveniently celebrated Mass each day for the Hermits in a certain little chapel and received from them the food he needed. There he died, given the sacraments according to the rites of the Church, the same author continues. The one who had remained with Ludovico, who found him in his cell, lifted him wrapped in linen. Aware of an unusual weight, he unwrapped him. He was weighed down with gold coins. — What will be the truth?

Chapter IV

1. The date of the celebration of the second Chapter. 2. Similarly, the date of the letter of Vittoria Colonna to different Cardinals. 3. A summary of the aforesaid letter. 4. Other writings of the same Marchioness to Paul III. – Appendices to Chapter iv: a) The report of Vittoria Colonna to the Pontiff; b) Her letter to the Cardinals.

1. Now is the time to investigate the date of the celebration of this Chapter. Boverius writes, “At the beginning of the month of April;”[68] and the last one chronologically to leave manuscript chronicles[69] states the feast of Pentecost (4 June). The letter of Vittoria Colonna dated 27 June manifests the error of both. In that letter she speaks repeatedly about the Chapter.[70] Mario da Mercato Saraceno and Bernardino da Colpetrazzo, whom Mattia Bellintani follows, assign the month of September.[71] What faith we should lend them we can derive from the common error of both concerning the date of the first chapter. They would have it that the chapter was celebrated on the feast of Pentecost of 1536. However the contrary is doubtless. Going from the Brief of Paul III given 29 April, the chapter was held “in the month of November,” that is, of 1535. Anyone who erred about the date of the first chapter could have erred about the second. Mattia refers all this to 1535! Because of this, I do not worry about their assertions and do not hesitate to propose another date.

As has been said, on 27 June Vittoria Colonna sent the letter of convocation to this Chapter to the Duchess of Urbino. It is opportune to recognise that letter in the open letter which she attached to hers and which asked be handed to the Friars in the place at Fossombrone immediately.[72] Therefore she was urgent regarding the matter dealt with in the open letter. This would not have been the case if the chapter had been convoked for the month of September.

However there is another document of great importance and which is the main one, namely the Bull of Paul III, given on 25 August the same year. In the Chapter there was to be discussion about subjection to the Minister General of the Order of Observant Friars, which Ludovico was proposing contrary to the disposition of the Bull of Clement VII, in virtue of which the right of visitation and correction belonged to the General of the Conventuals. The Pontiff had granted the celebration of the Chapter so that the friars might make known their will. How then would he not have withheld judgement before he knew of this proposal? Logically therefore it must be concluded that the chapter preceded the confirmation Bull of Clement VII. Therefore it had been celebrated before the Bull of Paul III, given 25 August, which begins with these words which confirm this opinion of mine: “Exponi Nobis nuper fecerunt Ordinis Minorum Capuccinorum nuncupatorum..”[73]

In this document the Pontiff amply approved and renewed the letter of Clement VII and determined especially the relationship between the Capuchins and the Conventuals, whose Master General was commissioned to confirm the Vicar General elected in Chapter, “sicut hactenus servatum fuit.”[74] That Master General was obliged to confirm the election within three days of its presentation, otherwise it was to be regarded as confirmed by the authority of the Apostolic See. Also the right of the visitation and correction, as before, belonged to the same Master General.[75]

Then to blunt the accusations of those who reproached the Capuchins that in withdrawing from the jurisdiction of the Minister General they were not observing the Rule, the Pontiff decreed that the things which Pius II declared in favour of the Observant Friars who were governed by Vicars,[76] namely, that they fully and completely satisfied the Rule in obeying their own Vicar; and that this is valid for the friars of our Congregation.

Therefore the Bull followed the Chapter, whose decisions it confirmed.[77]

A third argument is found in the letter that Vittoria Colonna, as has been said, wrote to a number a Cardinals. Among the things that testify to the integrity of the life of the Capuchins, she refers to their holy Chapters in the presence of a very reverend Cardinal.[78] Since in fact the Cardinal of Trani presided in this second Chapter, it had been celebrated before this letter was written.

Beyond alluding to that Chapter, she does not hesitate to say that it would be regrettable to have called them from the furthest parts if their wishes were not fulfilled.[79] It will also be shown later that this letter predated the Bull. First it must be seen whether it may be possible still to grasp the date of the celebration of the Chapter.

In her letter, already cited, to the Duchess Eleonora Gonzaga on 27 June, Vittoria Colonna advises her about her intention to go to Arpino after twenty days, namely around the 17 July. It is difficult to believe that she had in mind to leave Rome before the celebration of the this Chapter, since she had petitioned for it so energetically. That date is also confirmed by the thrice copied Brief of Paul III of 29 August 1535, since the main theme was in favour of the Capuchins for the reception of Observant friars, which then had been suspended. The copies had been made on 15 July 1536 “at the request of the venerable friars minor of Saint Francis called the Capuchins.” In my sure judgement, these prove the will of the Vicar General to press for a solution to this always undecided dispute of the Cardinals in assembly. How could Bernardino d’Asti have done this if he had not yet been confirmed in the Chapter?

2. I come now to the letter of the Marchioness of Pescara that I said preceded the Bull of 25 August. That she sent it to a number of Cardinals as is clearly obvious from the composition. It often uses the plural form: “DD. Vestrae”

Furthermore it seems that she had various copies written by the hand of the secretary, of which we have the one she addressed to Cardinal Contarini, with an autograph inscription of the name and for whom she added a long postscript in her own hand. At that time, in fact, as will be explained, a special commission of Cardinals had been appointed over the differences between the Observant Friars and ours. Three of these were for the Capuchins, and one was Cardinal Contarini.[80] It is to be believed that Vittoria sent this letter to him and to the other two, admonishing them about the need to leave her clients in their condition and exempt from the General of the Observants. “It is necessary,” she says, “for this congregation to remain separate.”[81] This separation is the main argument of the Bull of Paul III, which had been requested mainly to get a confirmation and extension of the Bull of Clement VII,[82] in which only the right of visitation and correction would be conferred on the Master General of the Conventuals. The Bull does not deal with the Confirmation of the Vicar General of the Capuchins. Hence we must conclude that the letter of the Marchioness is earlier than the Bull.

This is confirmed from the list of writings that the Capuchins had in their support, among which she does not include this Bull. Certainly she would not have omitted it, because she petitioned for it most, as is testified by the little note which Cardinal Ghinucci attached to the bottom of the original page: “R.D. Prothonotarius dicit esse de mente S.mi Domini Nostri, et quia Ill. D. Marchionissa Piscariae, cujus intuitu Sanctitas Sua facit gratiam hanc, desiderat quod expediatur sub plumbo, videtur posse satisfieri. Hie. Card. Ghinuccius.”[83] Given the efficacy of her intervention, the silence of Vittoria is a sure clue to the precedence of the letter, most of which would have been otherwise pointless.

No difficulty is posed either by the mention of ten years to which the Marchioness of Pescara recalls the origin of the Capuchins and their subjection to the Conventuals. Our friars in fact count the beginning of the Order from the Letter of the Sacred Penitentiary on 12 May 1526. (This is incorrect since canonically the Order began on 3 July 1528, when the Bull of Clement VII was given.) She considered herself their advocate. It is a useless way out to pose a contradiction between the things that she wrote at the beginning of the year concerning the number of Capuchins, which she said at the time to be five hundred, and the things that she asserts in this letter, speaking about seven hundred friars. The number she put in the first letter was simple conjecture. In the second letter, however, better informed, she indicates the exact number.[84]

The last remaining argument to prove that this letter was written in 1536 is found in the very copy of the letter kept in the Vatican Archives. On the reverse side of this letter, as with others, the name of the sender is written in by a hand of that time, “La S.ra Marchesa di Pescara,” and below that “Scapucinj 1536.”

What more is needed to decide the date of the letter?

3. With this discussion completed, which the gravity of the aforesaid letter made necessary, it seems useful to summarise the letter.[85] In it she defends the Capuchins from the accusations of their opponents. She reduces the accusations to six headings.

I. The Friars seem to be Lutherans because they preach freedom of spirit.
II. They subject themselves to the Ordinaries of the places (where they live.)
III. They do not have the approval of the Holy See.
IV. They do not obey the Minister General.
V. They wear a different habit.
VI. They receive Observant Friars.

An event showed all too clearly that the first accusation is not without foundation, at least for some preachers of our family, as I follow Vittoria in her defending discourse. They were certainly not open heretics yet, however some were sliding towards the abyss.

I have already discussed the second accusation in part about the prescriptions of the general Chapter.[86]

The Marchioness answers the third accusation, that the Capuchins have the Bull of Clement VII and various Briefs, one of which was for the confirmation of the Vicar General.[87]

The fourth accusation, which was of great importance, at least on the part of the adversaries, she subtly confutes. She says,[88] “The Observance needs reform, as had been declared in three Chapters. However they have done nothing. Either they were unable to do anything or did not permit it to happen. Nevertheless there is a certain Bull of Clement VII which decrees it (i.e. reform, In suprema, 16 November 1532), and there are two Briefs of Paul III, one obtained by the Observant Friars and the other by the Capuchins, which deal with the matter of this reform (Accepimus, 18 December 1534; Nuper accepto, 12 January 1535). Therefore the Observant Friars need reform. However since the various reforms begun by them failed, while the one exempt from them is flourishing, it is necessary that (this reform) remain separate. Just as your Reverend Lordships well know,” continues the Marchioness, “those who are strangers to a proper reform likewise abhor it in others, since the candour of the other reveals more one’s own darkness. And this is the greatest cause of this persecution. The Most Reverend Cardinal of Santa Croce (Quiñones) knows how much he longed for reform. I do not understand why today he intends to destroy this work, for which he provided the opportunity because he sees in the others increasing laxity in clothing, buildings, churches, the acceptance of legacies, in provisions, in ownership hidden beneath various disguises, etc. Furthermore the General of the Conventuals to whom the Capuchins submitted, was the first in the Order of Saint Francis, even though the Conventuals brought about change so as not to be challenged in their lax life.[89] Indeed if the Capuchins subject themselves to this General, they do this to lead a stricter life in peace, not because he may be better than the other but because he does not impede or persecute them. How many outrages have they suffered and continue to suffer from the other General who is driven by his ambition to dominate. The Capuchins were ready to flee to deserted places rather than be accomplices in their own ruin. This is certainly not from a lack of humility, since they are subject to all, but in order not to be called back from their holy purpose. Therefore every good man, hence His Holiness and Your Lordships, should protect them, support them and avert from them all opposition so that they may observe securely the things they have promised to God and to Saint Francis. Indeed it is because of theMinister General’s ambition to dominate that he wants them to be immediately subject to himself in order to destroy them. Nor does he tolerate their being indirectly subject, as they are, and in this way they are preserved and grow.”

Omitting the fifth accusation, Vittoria turns to the sixth, namely that the Capuchins receive Observant Friars. “Hence,” she says, “in my opinion, this storm has arisen.” She then examines at length whether the door should be closed to those who wish to enter, “at the risk of offending Him who said, ‘Woe to you who close the kingdom of heaven.’ I do not understand,” she adds, “why it is more difficult in this Curia for those who want to act with Saint Francis than with the other saints.[90] In the Order of Saint Benedict there have been around ten reforms, and they wear a certain white habit to distinguish themselves from the black monks. In the order of Saint Augustine, and in all the religions where reforms have been made. Therefore what wonder is it if Saint Francis should want reform in his order. An imperfect one has already been done,” she continues, speaking about the Observance. “Now there is a perfect one.”

“Your Reverend Lordships know that the Cardinal of Santa Croce increases the scandal that he asserts to come from this poor little reform. The scandal is not their life, but the persecution which they sustain. In fact many in the Observance who hope for reform, envy them and secretly encourage them in letters, so that standing firm and enduring in their proposal they beg God to allow them to follow this life. They write letters because they are forbidden to speak with the Capuchins. They live in such fear of being seen adversaries of observance that they promised to God and of reform that many of them have desired for many long years. There would be no scandal if the Reverend Protector and those ten who command with him said, ‘They are our brothers and sons of the same Father. They live more austerely than we because God inspires them and gives them strength to sustain this pristine rigour. We do not want to stop those who desire to enter this kind of life. On the contrary, we rejoice that our Rule flourish in its original purity, and little by little we may imitate them and reject the glosses that have relaxed this Rule. Everyone should be happy that in the Religion of Saint Francis there may be ‘good, better, best.’ And if not everyone is able to return to this perfection, at least let them not offend the more perfect. Let that which is a gain for the Church of God not be called a loss. Certainly the Observant Friars who enter such a reform are drawing much closer to Saint Francis. What harm may come from this to the Order? Those who enter this reform are either good or bad. If they are good, it is a clear sign that the Rule is not observed perfectly among the Observants. If they are bad the superiors should rejoice over this purification of the Order. Such friars are led either by the spirit or, as they say, with a bitter heart. If by the spirit, it is a grave sin to hold them back. If by bitterness, that fortunate bitterness leads them to a more perfect life. However this objection is empty. Who would believe that to flee discipline they choose a more austere life; or because of disappointed ambition they are led to the perfect renunciation of honour and dignity? There is no shortage of ways to flee discipline. Hundreds and hundreds leave each year, but not to draw closer to Saint Francis in fact. Therefore it is not zeal for the perfection of the subjects that leads the superiors of the Observance. Rather, it is because the life of the Capuchins is a clear demonstration of their own imperfection. All the arguments have come from this. I am not capable of understanding how human respect prevails over divine, and how the ancient and holy constitutions of the Church that allow religious persons to transfer to a more austere life may be destroyed with new laws.”

The Marchioness adds many other things. She asserts that these harsh persecutions are contrary to the Supreme Pontiff himself and his intention because when he was a cardinal he had protected the Capuchins. She says that in the last Chapter they decided that only a few Observants should be received so that the fervour of the Congregation not decline due to the admission of unsuitable friars.

Returning then to the fifth accusation that she had omitted, she writes a few things in her own hand about the change of the habit. “While,” she says, “so many scandalous habits are permitted, why should the one be prohibited which the images, seals, relics and pictures show that Saint Francis wore? The one who wears this habit is ready to endure every evil as he thinks of the one who first wore it.”

Finally she concludes. “Why destroy the perfection in which the Capuchins have been living now for ten years just to satisfy the ambition of those for whom the Generalate, which they have obtained, has brought grave harm? Which laws, offensive to reason and charity, is he imposing so that they may be not disturbed in any way by the perfection of others?”

Petitioning Cardinal Contarini that they not destroy the Capuchins but favour them, she adds, “My Most Reverend Lord, the Cardinal Protector and the General have already brought the Capuchins much harm. Let them attend to their own defects; let them refuse the excesses in which they abound and let them leave these poor fellows in peace. Your Lordship, who has been better informed, may not find an excuse before God if he permits himself to be dominated by human respect, when Christ himself was not ashamed of death for us.”

4. A double copy of this text is kept in the Archives of the Order. This agrees in many ways with the letter just cited. The author of the Chronicles, whom Boverius often refers to under the name ‘Salodensis,’ knew this text and inserted it verbatim in his work. However he does not affirm the date of its composition as certain. He attributes it to Bernardino d’Asti “who at the time,” he says, “or in a another similar controversy, had produced it for the information of the Cardinals.”[91]

Boverius takes this informazione from the codex of the aforesaid “Salodiensis.” However he inappropriately divides it into two parts, the first of which he would have handed to Cardinal Sanseverino in 1536, and the other part to the Supreme Pontiff in 1537. He does not hesitate to change the content in this from the original words to agree with his inventions contrary to the historical truth.[92] He also leaves out many things in his version and adds many others, and exaggerates the harshness of its vivid language with biting words.[93]

Our Giuseppe da Monterotondo has followed Salodiense with him and attributes this writing to Bernardino d’Asti.[94] I also in the first edition of this Commentary accepted this opinion. However I wanted that Bernardino gave this report to the Marchioness of Pescara.[95] Today however, having recalled that writing to balance and weigh it up more fully, I am off a completely different opinion and refuse to believe that Bernardino d’Asti is the author of this report in which the Capuchins are extolled with so many praises, while the Observants are not spared. I consider it impossible that the Vicar General, whom everyone acknowledges to be a holy and just man, would attribute so many praises to his friars, even to defend them from attacks by others.

Therefore I have no hesitation to assert these things. Bernardino d’Asti is not at all the author of the report, but it was written by Vittoria Colonna herself, whose manner of speaking is apparent in these pages. Generally many things are expressed in the same words in the letter to the Cardinals not because, as I used to believe, she had this text before her eyes, but because she was so convinced. She did not copy the words of Bernardino, but she used her own words which she had already put into writing.

My opinion on this is confirmed because in the two copies the author of this report uses the feminine form in speaking about herself: “Et ego notitiam habens de eorum (the Observants) conventibus in Regno et in Campania, clare sum edocta.” And in another place, in one of the copies, one reads, “sum certa.”[96]

The words, “Let them think that Lent is near.” In the year 1536 Ash Wednesday fell on 1 March. When she wrote, “he saw Christ in the desert,” that clearly indicates the time between Epiphany and 14 February.[97]

Therefore she wrote this report before she went to Naples, for she says, as has been said above, that she would go to Naples in the month of February and be present in the city of Parthenope when, on the 29th, Alessandro de Medici married Margaret of Austria.[98] Nor should this contradict the things she asserts about the Emperor staying in Naples at the time, who wrote a letter to the Pope against the Capuchins. However, on becoming aware of the fact she was quite amazed at the error to which he had been led. At the side of Carlos V was Ascanio, her brother, who was united with her in equal devotion to the Capuchins. He easily could have informed the Emperor of the truth about the clients of himself and his sister.[99]

Now something should be said about to whom this report was directed. I do not hesitate to affirm that it was directed to the Supreme Pontiff Paul III. Once in the body of the text one reads “Vostra Sanctità.”[100] One should not object to the freedom of the language as inappropriate for a letter of petition from anyone to the Pontiff. Vittoria herself, it has been discovered,[101] wrote to the Pope another time with the same reverent freedom, and Paul III, who had a high regard for the Marchioness and was well aware of her right intention, accepted such things from her without offence. In those days Vittoria was proud of the kind disposition the Pontiff had towards her.[102] Not was this the haughtiness of feminine vanity. For not long afterwards Paul III openly demonstrated this benevolence when, with a Bull given on his own initiative as I said, he confirmed the exemption of the Capuchins from the jurisdiction of the Observants.

It is regrettable that this writing has not come down to us in its genuine form, because more likely there would be a confirmation of this personal conviction of mine. It could have easily begun with the usual words, “Beatissime Pater…” and concluded with another formula of reverence. However nothing of such is found in the double copy that we have. However that bombastic title had been given it: Information de la verità, anzi una stilla sola appo l’infinito pelago del vero,[103] from which it is plausible to conjecture that our friars divulged this writing to obtain support for themselves in the undecided argument with the Observants.

Many things expressed in this report, as I have noted, are in the letter to the Cardinals, briefly summarised above. Nevertheless it is useful for the history I am writing to touch upon it briefly, even though it will be included in its entirety at the end of this Chapter.

“It is the tenth year,” it begins, “since this holy congregation was founded, and even though it has always been attacked, it made progress in fervour, number and order. The miracle is obvious; and since this cannot be denied it is asked whether it had been done on the sabbath.”[104]

It continues then, speaking about the need for reform in the Observance, which the superiors recognise in the Briefs they have asked for, and which they always promise and always postpone. They want the Capuchins to be subject to them, but this is not appropriate because the shepherd should go ahead of the flock and the superior should give example to the subjects. They say that the Capuchins do not acknowledge the Superiors. According to the Rule they obey the Supreme Pontiff and are subject to the General of the Conventuals, who is himself subject to the General of the Observants.[105] Hence they are subject to him, though intermediately.

The perfection of the Rule does not consist in words, for Saint Francis calls the Minister Custos also, but it is necessary for its observance that those who lead minister spirit and life. It is not because they are zealous about observance that they want the Capuchins to be subject to them, but because of ambition and because they are losing popularity and alms are diminishing. Let them reform themselves and then the Capuchins will willingly submit to them, however every reform begun under them has perished, while only that of the Capuchins, which is free of them, is doing well. When they have reformed well, then it will be possible to say, ‘let there be one flock and one shepherd’ since it will be permissible to unite to the holy shepherd with the Gospel, ‘I am the good shepherd.’

They gossip that the Capuchins were never approved. However they have the Bull of Clement VII and other Apostolic Letters directed to them. The great Paul III knew them well. As Cardinal he defended them. He loves the truth and seeks it, but so many considerations coerce him, for the adversaries to prevail against his holy intention. While there are Cardinals who tear at this Religion, others, although benevolent, are afraid to contradict them in the consistory. That is why the reasons of the Capuchins go unheard.

They prohibit transfer to the Capuchins so that scandals might not come about. Therefore no one should give good example because it offends the wicked who do not follow him. Therefore let transfer to a stricter religion be forbidden. Let the words of Saint Paul, Saint Francis and the other Saints about the obligation to tend to perfection and follow the surer way, be cancelled out. Such a prohibition is the real cause of scandal. Let them allow those who wish to come to the Capuchins and they will see then that no scandal comes from this. Let them not fear that everyone may want this freedom because the austerity of the Capuchins pleases few, so that in the three months when transfer[106] has been allowed, barely twenty may be counted who have used this permission. Let them not say that the way is opened hence for the cantankerous, to flee punishment from the superiors and go across to the Capuchins. Not all those who come are accepted, nor are they admitted without due precautions. There are so many who return to the world, but they do not complain about that scandal. The scandal occurs, however, if one of them goes across to the Capuchins!

With equal reason the transfer of other religious to the Observants should be prohibited too, because other superiors cannot chastise their friars. Would that zeal to chastise and reform have moved them, because they might have attended to other things rather than the destruction of these reformers!

They proclaim this reform as useless because they are already reformed, nor do they need another reform. The General regrets them and, as he has confessed to me on many occasions, that he admitted such a need in the abovementioned Briefs. Oh, if only they were all saints! However I see quite well their friaries in both Campania and the Kingdom of Naples. I know, and everyone knows just as well, how much reform they need. Given also what they assert to be true, they cannot deny that the life of the Capuchins is stricter, which everyone knows. Hence it would be a great mistake to close the way to those wanting to follow it.

Appendices to Chapter IV

a) Letter or report of Vittoria Colonna to Paul III.

Two copies of this text are kept in the Archives, produced by the same hand, but not immune to mistakes. Both fully agree, although the spelling in one had been corrected by another contemporary hand. I transcribe it faithfully, though I do make a few small changes in the form of the words. For example, the scribe always writes tuto, tuta, tuti, whereas I always put down tutto, tutta, tutti. I changed lasaro to lassarò, he to è, since the Marchioness used it in this manner. In the other places where the meaning remains obscure, either because the scribe omitted some word through negligence, or from the particular style of the author herself, who sometimes also, carried away by a thought, develops it imperfectly.[107]

Dieci anni sono che se comenzò questa sancta congregatione per vivere austeramente nella propria regola de San Francesco, et sempre con tutta la possibile repugnantia humana, causata da alcuni che han preso a destrugerla, è cressuta in fervore, numero et ordine, sì che se vede el chiarissimo miracolo, nè se nega, nè se po negare, et van cercando se è facto in Sabbato.

La religione ditta de la Observantia, non nega el Generale et più gli altri frati, nei proprij brevi da loro expediti, che hanno necessità de reformarse, et che lo vogliono fare, et ha molto tempo che durano queste dilationi et promesse. Hor queste due propositioni: de la optima vita et observantia de questi reformati, et la necessità hanno quelli de reformarsi,[108] sono cose chiare, palpabili et certe, che solo quelli non le vedono che non le vogliono veder. Hor como è possibile dunque che se parli de meter questi, per longo spacio esperimentati in sì rigorosa vita, a la obedientia de quelli, che essi medesimi confessano che non la possono fare. El pastore deve in lume, virtù, spirito et sanctità excedere le sue percorelle, andarli con lo exempio nanti et condurle sempre a Dio piu vicine. Dunque omni pecorella di questa seria in merito, in perfectione de vita et in streteza de Regola superiore ad soj pastori; et tante fatighe che X anni, con tanta gratia di Dio conservate, serian subito perdute, et la obedientia, ordinata per observare la Regola, seria casion de alargarla. Et per dirlo piu chiaro dico così:

La Regola non è facta per la obedientia, ma la obedientia per la Regola, però se caminano per la via de Dio, con maxima observantia de la Regola, con obedire lo optimo Pontefice Paulo, non so che nove obedientie bisognino; ultra che recognoscono el Generale de San Francesco de Conventuali, non per che sia meglio de l’altro, ma per che li lassa nella loro observantia et pace, non li proseque, non se li monstra inimico, non calumnia el ben fare, non va informando el mondo contra di loro. Et per che dicto Generale de Conventuali recognosce el Generale de li Observanti, questi vengono ad esserli subiecti mediate, se non immediate. Sì che non esta el pensiero de costoro, non esserli subiecti, ma in conservar loro austera vita et vera observantia, como per experientia se è visto che questa sola se conserva, che non è in lor mano, et tutte le altre principiate da loro se sono alargate. Et essi medesimi dicono che trenta milia frati et non piu, che sono, è quasi impossibile reformarli. Dunche non so perché tanto esti encresce de questi pochi, che chiaramente monstrano posserlo fare. El cercare questo primato con tanta anxieta, precipitatione, è offesa de Dio, é etiam loro infamia, et un dare ad intendere che non fanno per zelo, ma per che perdeno el credito et le elemosine, vedendo si che questa vita vera de San Francesco se pò fare ogni tempo.

El ministro San Francesco hora lo chiama ministro, hora custode. La perfection de la seraphica et evangelica Regola non consiste in sillabe o dictione, ma importa bene che siano in verità ministri, et che, ad exempio de Christo, ministrent spiritum et vitam. Et così faciendo stare questi ad altra obedientia, quale se vede essere più larga, farria el Ministro el contrario del officio suo, per che li mitigaria el spirito et le togleria la radice de la vera Regola.

El dire: volemo recognoscano el Generale, ma che non se gli impedisca la vita loro; dunche questa seria vera ambitione et perdia, et non servitio de Dio, metendoli in periculo, dubio et fastidio, senza cambiare altro che la apparentia. Et per che anderiano primo per le selve, como son andati et come San Francesco prophetiza, che comportarlo. In questo non dirò altro.

Reformensi quelli, attendano, mo che Christo esta al deserto, considerlo lì et non impedire quelli che lo vanno imitando; pensino che la quaresma viene, che deveno attendere che sì gran Religione pasca el christiano grege. Comensino non dico a lassare cose de quali non se deve parlare, per che non è Capucino che non mettesse la vita per honor de la Religione, ma dico le cose chiare contra la Regola; mettansi un poco nella vera austerità, povertà et umil vita, come San Francesco comanda, lasseno tante pompe, sumptuose fabriche, canti gurati et superfluità. Vedasse un poco de fervente spirito fra questi che li governano, sian veri pastori, intreno per la porta de la charità, non per la fenestra de la ambitione; sian veri frati, guideno ben le anime che li son date in cura; non voglian credere che non si possa quel che se vede si pò, et quel fece con piu austerità San Francesco et quaranta anni poi. Facian per opera cognoscere che li mena zelo optimo, et como seran reformati e li monstrarano bona voluntà, li obedirano, anzi el minor homo del mondo, per che vivan como loro. Tanto più che questi hanno optima, sincerissima, sancta, evangelica obedientia et mirabile ordine come ogni homo pò vedere. Et mandino pur Commissarij per li lochi, et li troverano come li primi compagni de San Francesco et la regola in summa observantia. Et quando quelli et loro conventi serano tali, alhora potran dire fiat unum ovile et unus pastor; et il ministro sancto alhora (potrà dire) quel che precede al evangelio, ego sum pastor bonus; che stando le cose così, con lo ovile differente, non pò essere un solo ministro. Et però San Francesco vole che la sua Regola se observe, et questa é la importantia. Et sempre che se é tropo alargata ha mandato nove reforme. Et per che questa é la più perfecta et la più simile al suo principio, et trova el mondo più deteriorato, però ha più repugnantia et più difficultà de tutte le altre, si che veramente repugna a ogni christianità el tanto molestarli, che pare tutti quelli militano. Siano sancti et in pacifica observantia de la Regola, et ad questi soli se faccia tanta et sì continua guerra. Immo sono obbligati Sua Sanctità, il R.mi Cardinali, tutti principi et più il loro Protectore adiutarli et favorerli, come sola luce nelle nostre tenebre, et come quelli che soli in sì licentioso seculo observano la evangelica et divina doctrina de Christo et de San Francesco. Tanto più che tutti quelli che lassano li respecti humani et le complacentie terrene, et miran solo Dio vedeno la sua gratia in costoro, et le contrarietà nascere da pensieri né recti, né sinceri. Venuti ad tanto inganno che non curano calumniare il glorioso sancto, con dire che non fé habito, ma pigliò un panno, come se nella Regola non si distinguesse l’abito, o non se ne vedessero conservati per reliquie, et sigilli, et picture, et mille modi. Ma per che l’habito non fa la vita bona lassarò stare queste impertinentie, ma solo pregarò Dio che li inspire ad reformarse, acciò che poj possino parlare con qualche fondamento. Ultra che senza le tante ragioni in fructo, se sono ancor de quelle che usano loro, cioé hanno la Bolla de Clemente, Brevi, approbation delli pontifici, et supra tutta la cognitione del optimo Papa Paulo, che Cardinale li defese, et però credo Dio lo sublimò, et mo Pontifice ama la verità; ma va con tanti respecti che prevalgano contro lo intento sancto suo quelli che oppugnano, et per esserci Cardinali che la pigliano a denti, et l’un mal volentieri contradice al’altro in consistorio et a la presentia de molti Cardinali, che sono apena auditi, non che intesi. Ma Dio inspirerà i boni ad sì chiara intelligentia.

Hor veniamo al prohibire che non vengano quei fratri ad questa reforma, per che se causa scandalo. Dunche lassi ogni uno de far ben per che causa scandalo ad chi non lo fa. Non si comporti più che i glioli lassano i patri ed intreno in religione, per che a le loro case causa scandalo. Non se sofra più che de le religion de San Benedeto, de San Dominico et le altre vadino ad quella de San Francesco, per che ad quelli altri causa scandalo. Guastensi le lege tutte, non si consideri le parole de Paulo et de tanti sancti, che se deve tendere a la perfectione et eligere la vita più secura, et che la Regola de San Francesco é tale, immo de Christo, che bisognerebbe conversare con li angeli per pienamente observarla; et costoro vogliono impedire lo andare a la perfectione, non recordandose che cum sanctus sanctus eris, etc. Anzi é offitio de boni togliere tuti li impedimenti al santo vivere di questa reforma, la quale edifica et non da scandalo alli veri observanti. Anzi é certo che la più parte de la religione dispiace questa prohibitione, legami, brevi et streteza. Et solo da molestia ad octo o X persone che governano, quali vogliono che per auctorità se li creda. Et se vede chiaro el poco motivo che fa la costor vita in quelli, che in tre mesi hor maj che sta la porta aperta non se ne sono venuti XX. Non sono oggi sî ferventi li spiriti che questa austerità piacia ad molti; si che in chiuderla si fa grandissimo deservitio a Dio, per che si chiude la meglio vita a 3,000 anime,[109] quali tutti credeno che possano venire; et de quanti, per essere impediti, nol sanno se ha de dar conto a Dio; et in lassarla aperta ultra che se evade tanto periculo de offendere la divina voluntà et si observe ogni bona lege et costume. Se vede che non se fa danno alcuno per che qui se acceptano con tutte le cautele et consideratione del mondo, como Vostra Sanctità per alcune lettere ha visto che non son vere le falsità che li oppongano.

Lassarò stare che li Observanti se separarono da Conventuali, et non hebbero tanta repugnantia, et fò optimamente facto; che ha molti anni tutti seriano stati conventuali, che fra il molto fango non po’stare bianca la neve.

Lassarò stare che non se deve ragionevolmente prohibire. Lassarò stare le cose humane cerca la informatione data ad Sua Magestà et molti altri, quali poj se admirano con intendere il vero. Lassarò stare che costoro humilmente non ardiscono dire la verità, et quelli sì audacemente et non veramente gli oppungnano. Lassarò stare che questi non domandano niente, se non che se lasseno in la pace de Christo et che viva la evangelica libertà de recevere et observare qui venit ad me non eiciam foras. Et quelli demandano prohibitioni, legami, impedimenti et scomuniche, che par proprio contenda la legge de Moyse con la gratia de Christo, la carità con la ambitione, et la humiltà con la grandeza. Et veramente non me dole de questi che ponno ben dire quis me separabit a charitate Christi, ma me dole de quelli che in tanta luce son cechi, et che tante volte habiano hauta invidia a quelli che servirono Christo in terra; et ogni di diciamo: fortunati pastori, beati Magi, felice ab Arimathia, gloriosa Magdalena et Marta; et poj habiamo le cose de Christo in terra chiare et vive, et la observantia de la sua evangelica vita, et le perseguitano. Et se vede questo povera congregatione ogni giorno abbassare la testa et humilmente dire cur me caedis. Per amore de Dio non se metano tante nube intorno che adombrano la vera luce a la sancta bontà del Pontice, che questo seria più presto pena a chi lo ama et più scandalo a tutta la christianità che cosa potesse succedere.

Oyme! Come non tremeno quelli che le son contrarij? Come ponno mai dormire, che non temano la justicia de Dio? Como el verme de la conscientia non li rode tanto che ormaj desistano? Che merito rendeno a Dio de la gratia che li fa? O che conto gli darano che per loro non é restato de guastar un opera de reformare migliaria de persone, sapendo che per un anima sola Christo tornaria in terra de novo!

Io non so che move questa cosa, si non tentatione. Tanti frati incogniti, tante religioni infructuose, che non se sa che nome habiano, tanti de San Joanne, tanti de San Francesco, che ogni di escono de la Observantia per farsi seculari preti, confessori, abbati, episcopi et cardinali, et nisciuna cosa offende, nisciuno dà scandalo et nisciuno importa, si non questa per che é la meglio de tutte. Sempre le cose de Christo et de soi servi han dato admiratione, conturbato gli respecti humani; et desso medesimo dice non veni mittere pacem. Dunche se deve lassare la austera, optima vita, divina reforma, per non causare scandalo a X persone che governano?

O cum quanta certeza poteria monstrare che questo impugnare non é con la volonta de la religione de la Observantia; e quanti monasterij fan fede che staban et de l’altra parte se dogliano che non stano. Anzi del prohibire nasce infinito scandalo; provino per un anno lassare la porta aperta, poj tante volte han provato el contrario, et vederano che maj dal bene nasce scandalo. Anzi ne nascerà vera reforma in quella, et optima conrmation in questa, et se parlarà al hora con più proposito.

Certo non se po’ admetere adesso nisciuna lor ragione; et dicono non ponno castigare li frati per che se ne saltano i qui.[110] Dunche may l’altre religione han possuto castigare li frati loro, perche ponno andarsene ad San Francesco, che é più streta. Volesse Dio che movesse zelo de castigare et reformare, che attenderiano ad altro che a ruinar li reformati!

Dio per sua bontà conservi la bona voluntà ai boni et la conceda a quelli che non l’hanno. Le cose del mondo sempre in prima facie apparent bone, ma non restano al martello. Cosi le vision delectano in principio, più le false che le vere. Però, per amor de Dio, non se ne stian a relatione, gustino, intendano, pensino questa verità, che son certa l’intrarà nel core.

Et perche, intendo, dicono addesso una nova cosa, cioé che son tutti reformati et che han ben visto et non han bisogno, et che se penteno de haverlo ditto ne i brevi; et il General ad me et in mille lochi. Dico che Dio il faccia, et che dico son tutti sancti. Io che ho vera noticia de tutti i loro monasterij del Regno et de Campagnia ne son chiara, et tutti el sanno se han bisogno de reforma. Ma sia como lor dicono, non negarano, o per dir meglio non ponno negare che la vita de Capuccini non sia austera, più stretta, et tale che chi non ha occhio non vede, siché questa basta a negar la obedientia per le ragion sopra dicte, et a far tocar con mano che é maximo errore dirlo et cosi sì chiuder la porta al venir a la più stretta vita.

b) Text of the original letter of Vittoria Colonna

With diligent care I examined the copy of the letter of the Marchioness of Pescara kept in the Vatican Archives. I compared it word for word with the edition given by Bartolommeo Fontana. I have corrected none of the errors which occur in his transcription, and I offer today the genuine original text, accommodated however with punctuation for meaning and a moderate use of capital letters. The letter begins: Reverendissimi Domini. However the plural form is corrected here and in other places. Nonetheless the plural form is found throughout the whole letter.,[111]

La devotion che ha al glorioso San Francesco, il stimolo da le conscienza con la fede che mi causa la bontà della S.V.,[112] me rendono secura che non attribueranno il mio scrivere ad presumption, ma ad devotione, non ad temerità, ma ad zelo della verità. Et quanto la femminil ignorantia et soverchio ardir mi toglie di credito, tanto la raggione et il solo interesse cristiano, qual me muove, mi presta d’autorità.

Pensava, Signore,[113] che le cose dece anni per opere provate non bisognasse provarle ogni giorno con parole, chè come il Signor Nostro dice: Ipsa opera quae ego facio, testimonium perhibent de me, onde la perfettissima vita di septecento frati veri mendicantj, laudata hor maj da tutte le Città d’Italia non ne fusse in dubio persona alcuna; et quelle maxime, che son più de cinque annj, che dicevano che volevano anchor vedere un altro anno come questa sancta reforma seguisse. Et con questo colore ferno chiudere la porta, che frati de la Observantia non possesser venirve con dir che quelli se reformariano: et questi non potrian seguire. Et cossì quando con la porta aperta et quando chiusa, han sempre dato ad intendere che la Observantia se reformaria; et come chiaramente se vede, quella se è continuo allargata, et questa è continuo augmentata in ordine, in spirito, in numero di perfectissimj et doctissimi Patrj. Sichè le S.e V.e deveriano hor maj esser securj che è opera di Cristo. Et li loro sanctj Capitoli con un Cardinale, e del primo ordine, oltra l’altre sue degne qualità, che ne fa fede l’infiniti lor bonj exemplij, le humili et docte praedicationi, non li fussero cagioni di rinovarli affanni. Per donde se cognosce che alcuni, non per ignorantia del vero, ma per dolor del vero cerca fatigarlj et far credere che siano in dissentione, odio et errori. Ma al fine questo oro nel foco s’affina et le legna delle loro insidie se consumano.

Molte cose m’han dicto che l’oppongano; che, ponendosi Cristo e San Francesco dinante, saranno resolute.

Prima che pajono Luterani, perchè praedicano la libertà del spirito; che se son subgiugati alli Ordinarij delle terre, che non han scripture; che non obediscano allo Generalissimo, che portano differente l’habito; et che acceptano li fratj de la Observantia.

Circa al primo se risponde, che si San Francesco fu haeretico, li soi imitatori son Lutherani. Et si praedicar la libertà del spirito sopra li vitij, ma subgietto ad ogni ordinatione della Sancta Chiesa, se chiama errore, sarria anchora errore observare lo Evangelio, che dice in tanti lochi: Spiritus est qui vivificat, etc. Oltra che apertamente dimostrano che non li han inteso praedicare questi che lo dicano; chè si li intendessino, practicassino un poco con loro, intendessino la loro humiltà, obedientia, povertà, vita, exempj, costumi e charità, li sarriano tanto devotj che piangeriano d’haverli fatti venire quattro cento miglia senza nisciuna necessità, et farlj andare ogni giorno per tribunalj fatigando, solo per posser in pace observare la loro povertà.

Al secondo de subgiucarse alli ordinarij, se responde, che non se fe mai più humile et più cristiana opera di questa. Che anchor bastasse dire, che chi biasma questa ordinatione viene contra la mente di San Francesco, il quale ad suo tempo puose questo medesimo in observantia. Et perhò epsi, como quellj che non mirano in altro che redurse alla pouertà[114] della Regola et mera intention del suo autore, non in li cantoni privatamente, ma nel Capitolo publico, ultimamente da lor celebrato, hanno non innovato questo articolo, ma essendo stato corropto da altrj, ristaurato e reductolo a la prima observantia. Chè sottoponendose prima alla Sanctità di Nostro Signore, come ad capo, se vogliono stare alla obedientia de li prelati, lo fanno come ad membrj di tal capo. Et è molta più humiltà et devotione amano, et observano, et vogliono esser sottoposti al capo con tutte le membra, che di colloro che vogliono, et dicano altrimente, vedendose maximo il scandalo che segue, et de la ruina delle anime da questa dissentione et altercatione, che seguita tutto il giorno ne le città et diocesi. Di che sento parlare con signori che ne hanno vera experientia.

Circa le scripture se risponde, che quante ne sonno expedite in l’ordine di San Francesco in tantj annj, cioè quelle che strengono et che son fundate sopra l’observantia et la Regola, tutte sono dirette ad questi Patri, come quelli che se sforzano quanto è possibile puramente observarle. Oltra che hanno la copia autentica de la Bolla concessa ad questa congregatione per la sancta memoria di Clemente, qual non deve servire ad particularj, come molte scripture di Papi passatj determinano. Ce son de più li Brevj che confirmano lo Capitolo et lo presente Vicario, et altri Brevj. Benchè le miracolose scripture ch’hanno sonno le ferventissime opere, che denotano ciascun d’epsi et tutti insieme havere la Bulla de le Piaghe di Christo nel core et li Brevi delle Stigmate di San Francesco ne la mente, confirmate da infinite benedictioni, che ogni giorno hanno havuto et hanno da la Sanctità di Nostro Signore. Et acceptano tutte quelle scripture che li ponno stringere l’observantia della loro Regola; et quelle che in alcun modo la allargano tutte l’han renunciate et renunciano.

In quanto che non obediscano al Generalissimo, se risponde che se vede, se prova, se sa che la religion de la Observantia have bisogno di reforma, et in tre loro Capitolj generali hanno concluso reformarse, et poi non l’han fatto, nè possuto fare. Immo in li Capitolj Provincialj poi han guasto, et dalla radice funnitus extirpato ogni principio di reformatione. C’è sopra di ciò una Bolla de la sancta memoria di Clemente che ce l’ordina et doi Brevi de la Sanctità di N. S.r, l’uno impetrato da loro, l’altro da questi: sì che chiarissimamente hanno bisogno di reformatione. Et perchè tutte le riforme fatte tra loro son guaste, et questa sola, che non li è subgetta augmenta, bisogna che stia separata. Che, come le S. ie sanno,[115] quelli che odiano la reforma in sè stessi, l’odiano anchora ne lj altri; per chè pare che quel bianco scuopra più il negro loro. Et questa è la potissima causa di tanta persecutione ad costoro. Hor se non la ponno comportare absenti, como la potrian comportar presenti? Anzi li pigliano ad consumar di sorte che ò bisogna che se ne fugano, ò concorrano con gli altrj, exclamando solo ad Dio, qual per sua pietà l’intende. Et il Sancto Croce sa[116] quanto exclamava luj che la Religion se reformasse; et non so in che modo adesso voglia guastare, impedire et ruinare quella opra, che se pò dire che Sua Signoria ne dette occasioni; maxime sapendo che da tantj annj in qua sempre se sono allargati; como da quel che se vede publico nello habito, nelle cerimonie, nelle fabriche, nelle musiche, nelli testamentj che acceptano, nel conservar che fanno, nel modo di esser propietarij coloritamente, se pò intendere quel che per honestà se tace. Ma son cose contrarie ad ogni reforma, qual anchor che con molto dispiacere loro per honor de Dio et zelo de la verità, le diranno loro alle S.V. Oltra che lo General, ad chi questi obediscano, è il primo di San Francesco. Se loro obtennero mutatione al loro proposito, per non havere contraditione al largo vivere, questi anchora, per posser viver stretto, et in pace hanno obtenuto altro. Non per che questo General sia meglio di quello, ma per che questo non li impedisce, non se ne impaccia, et non li odia. Maxime che se vede quanto questo sancto Generalato l’ha offesi et l’offende; et quella ambitione li è cagione d’ogni male. Et prima andariano per le selve questi poveri Patri, che arrisicarse alla certa rovina loro. Et se cognosce che non è per poca umiltà, che se subgiugano ad tutto il mondo, ma per non esser impediti, nè revoltj da sì sancto proposito. Immo penso che sia obligato ognj buono et tanto più Sua Sanctità et le S.e V.e favorirlj, defenderlj et proibir ogni cosa che in ciò li fosse suspetta, non che contraria, acciò che quel chan promesso ad Dio et ad San Francesco, senza timore se possa securamente observare. Che pare una disputa di ambitione che vogliano sian subgetti immediate per ruinarse, et non mediate, como stanno per substinerse.

In quanto al recever di fratj, che è quello, unde, al mio giudicio; orta est haec tempestas, ciò è voler chiudere più che Dio non vole questa porta, oltra ce siano molte cause, che mi pongono gran paura[117] che chi lo fa dispiaccia a Dio, dovendose ricordare di quel dicto del Signore: Ve vobis qui clauditis regnum coelorum, ce son tanti oblighi che tenemo tutti di aiutare, spronare et infiammare li hominj a la via de Dio, et le Religioni alla professione loro, che deveriamo andar pregando frate per frate, et secular per seculare che se reformasse. Nè posso intendere per che San Francesco debbia haver minor sorte che gli altri Sancti in questa Corte. Come le S.V. sanno, nell’ordine di San Benedicto son circa diece reforme, tutte separate, immo se vestono bianchi per più separarse dal negro; et è necessario ogni modo di separatione; sancto Agostino et tutte le religioni hanno fatto reforma. Hor che maraveglia è che San Francesco vogli, che doi volti se siano reformatj li soj, l’una prima mediocremente, quest’altra perfettamente: et chel suo sancto habito, la sua evangelica Regola sine glosa se observj ad tempi nostrj; et che ne abbia exclusa ogni prosumptione di fundatore e di frasche. Che benché fusse un fra Matteo, sanctissimo huomo, che cominciò questa reforma, il quale vive hogge et sta fra questi Patri, et curando di ambitione, andava praedicando quando se fece la Bolla de la sancta memoria di Clemente, pur dico che San Francesco è il fundator lui, (nè questi hanno altra guida,)[118] nè camino con altro lume.

Sanno le S.V. quanto Mons. Sancta Croce se fa cavaliero sopra il scandalo, che vol dare ad intendere che nasca dalla reformatione di questi poverellj. Non è piu che quanto lo figura et ingrandisce luj. Immo è summa edificatione et utilità di tutta la religion di San Francesco et allj doj terzi di fratj observantj, non vò dire più che potria dirlo, dispace la persecutione che ad questi se dà; anzi ogni dì scriveno con grandissima istantia che preghino Dio che possano liberamente andare ad reformarse; et per amor di Dio li pregano che resistano alle persecutionj, che insistano per la fraterna carità ad aiutarlj, per chè ad loro è prohibito lo parlar, bisogna che in secreto scrivano. Immo le carceri, le crocj, li minaccj son tali, che li convien mostrarse nemici di Cappocini et de la vera observantia di quel che a Dio han promesso. Et si le fusseno nel core di costoro, che sanno che pena fu la loro mentre lì vixero aspectando oportunità di andar ad questa reforma, che non c’è nisciun d’epsi che non habbi aspectato diece, dodecj et venti anni, con speranza che là se reformassero, li havrian compassione quando receveno. Et si ‘l Protectore, et diece che governano, la pigliassino per un altro verso, non ce sarria mai stata parola; maxime si dicessino: questi son nostri fratelli, del medesimo Patre figliuoli; hanno più austerità, Dio li inspira et dà forza di observare quella rigidità, che prima se ordinò: non vogliamo impedire quellj che vogliano seguirli, immo godiamo di vedere la nostra Regola nella prima purità; et noi ad poco ad poco ce anderemo reducendo almeno alle glose de la Regola: starriano quieti et contenti tutti, perchè tra la religion di San Francesco sarria Bonus, Melior, Optimus. Et si pur non possano redure l’altre ad quel che conviene, almen non offenda questa, che è la più perfecta, che pareria inditio di poca voluntà al servitio de Dio, al vivere christiano, purità evangelica et seraphica Regola. Et non se chiame damno quel che è chiaro guadagno a la chiesa di Dio. Se quelli de l’Observantia vengono ad questa strettezza, vanno per certo pur ad San Francesco. Che di perdita nasce questo ad Dio, ad Sua Sanctità et a l’ordine? O son buoni, o son tristi, questi che vanno ad reformarse: si son buonj, è segno evidente che fra epsi non ponno observare bene la Regola loro; se son tristi devono havere caro di purgare di questa feccia la loro observantia. O vengono per spirito, o vengono per sdegno: si per spirito, è grandissimo et mortal peccato ad impedirlj, si per sdegno, felicissimo sdegno che poi li fa sì perfettamente vivere, come se vede. Benchè questa è falsa obiectione, nè è da credere che per fugire una disciplina piglieno una perpetua penitentia, et per una ambitione di non havere un officio (come dicano) vadino ad perdere per sempre ogni grandeza di officio et di ambitione. Nè comanda San Francesco che con carceri, morti et supplitij se sostenga la sua Regola, ma con humiltà, povertà et carità. Chi recusa l’obedientia per carità ha si poco amore, che non andarà ove non è altro che amor et carità; maxime che hanno mille modi da fugirla, come se vede, che ogni anno ne escano da quattrocento per altri habiti, che per quelli di San Francesco. Onde se cognosce che non duole l’andar di frati alla perfectione, ma la poena di non dare ad intendere di essere i primi alla strecteza, como han fatto da molti anni in qua in causa questo rumore. Ma Dio non vole che quell’argento non se scuopra hor maj da questo oro: et che per venti frati, che hanno questa fantasia, se consenta che tante centenara di persone ogni giorno inganneno Dio, la professione, il voto che fanno et tutto il mondo; chè la maior parte de la religion se ne duole. Et quasi in tutte le città, quando vedono l’une et l’altre scripture, dicono a quelli de l’observantia che consideraranno la cosa, et ad Cappuccini che vadino ad vestirlj. Si che non so per che con argomenti humanj se guastino li divinj, con nuove leggi se rompeno l’antique et sancte constitutionj de la Chiesa, che permettano il restrengerse ad qualunque persona regolare, et la optima intentione di Nostro Signore, che Cardinale li difese, et Papa li duole del fastidio che in ciò li danno. Di modo che si se chiude nuovamente, è roina di tuttj buonj. Meglio è dunque determinare con la ragione, con Christo, con Paulo, con le leggi, che indivinare col nostro giuditio.

Nel stato in che questi se ritrovano, se vede il mirabile utile che fanno, et quanto crescano in numero et perfectione. Io non so como le S. non tremano ad mettere la mano in cambiare una minima cosa del vivere et essere loro. Questi non domandano grandeza, non vogliono essere ricchj: solo per amore de le piaghe di Christo et de le stigmate del patre loro, pregano che siano lassati stare ne la pacifica quiete de Dio et vera observantia de la loro regola. Et certo da questo molestarli ogni dì, nascono tre inconvenientj grandissimj: primo il favorire, fomentare et notrire li relaxati nel stato et largheza loro, et farli parere invidi, superbi, ambitiosi et privj di carità et di ragione. Secundo il male odore che se manda in tutte le città de Italia, et fuor de Italia, ove hor maj son noti questi, che habbia tanta repugnantia l’optima vita loro; per che ciascuno vede le bone opre loro, ma non ogniuno intende qualche syreneo canto che li offende. Tertio perchè si non se ne parlasse più, quelli, per non cadere se emendariano ad poco ad poco, et questi, per mantenerse acceptariano pochissimj, altri et tutti ferventj, como già in questo Capitolo hanno expressamente ordinato. Si che per lo amore di Dio e del officio de le vogliano aiutarlj. Et sappiamo che bisognaria conversare con l’angiolj, per observare questa santa regola. Como ponno adunque esser tutti rubi incombusti che stiano nel foco senza brusciarse. Et si non fusse volontà de Dio che cossì simplicemente se observasse, nè quel gran Sancto l’havria fatta, nè quel bon Papa l’havria approbata, nè tante volte se saria reformata. Immo quando il Papa primamente l’approbò, ce fu qualche repugnantia di Cardinali; et un Cardinal spirato da Dio disse: si Vostra Sanctità non approba questa regola, bisogna negar l’Evangelio di Christo, ove è fundata. Hor quanto infinito ben fece quella sola parola, parlando di questa cosa dubia futura; et quanto infinitissimo ne potran fare le parole de le S.V., lodando questa reforma, già diece annj ordinata, conservata et cresciuta. Questa è la vera vocatione ove son chiamatj tutti li fratj di San Francesco. Queste ferventj predicationj ponno fare utile alla Chiesa de Dio. Si che io non credo che Dio permetta questa impropria tribulatione si non per che il lume loro penetre più l’internj occhj de le, et ne facciano capaci li altri; acciò che in pace preghino per sua Sanctità et per le S.V. et non habino occasione di andare exclamando et piangendo ad Dio ed ad Sua Sanctita di questo torto; nè si dia occasione d’alegrezza ad tanti hereticj che ce ne sonno; che se vede hoge il mondo come sta, et ad quante cose se deve attendere. Et questo solo nerbo de la fede di Christo, del servitio di Sua Santità, et de la Chiesa se vole rompere o attenuare, cosa extremamente da fugire a la prudentia de le S.V.

(The Marchioness has added in her own hand:). Circo l’abito me par si impropria querela che non ce convegna resposta. Oimè se comportano mille abiti lascivi, se consenteno mille varietà alle religioni, fundate senza proposito, se comporta che per parer un ghelfo,[119] l’altro ghebellino portino li pennacchi contra la scomunica, et questi non ponno renovar l’abito del glorioso patre loro; qual per mostrarsi si despetto et povero, al mondo dà grandissima devozione. Immo non ce è frate devoto che sotto quel capuccio non comporti ogni fatica, pensando chi lo portò, et li serve per una cellina ove ponno sempre meditar li affanni loro; et non senza causa quel gran Sancto lo portò, et poi di lui sexanta anni, el che l’imagini, sigillo, reliquie et pinture chiaro dimostrano.

Hor che proposito ce è di cambiar l’obbedientia, ove X anni sono stati con summa perfettione questi, per satisfare l’ambition di quelli, a quali se sa el danno che li ha fatto et fa el generalato? Che convenientia vole che se manchi alla legge, antiche costitutione, alla carità e alla ragione ai questi, per che se tema el disturbo mondano circa l’intrare a stregnersi? Et che conscientia pate che se toglia la devotione del abito a questi per la passione di quelli? Signor mio, non li ruinano Capucini; immo li edificano. Li ha fatto danno el Cardinalato protectore et Generalato magiore; et delle pecunie et delle indulgentie et favore attendano a levar le loro superfluità a gli errori, et lasseno in pace questi poverelli. Et V.S., che più el cognose, non serrà scusato innanzi a Dio, se i respetti humani l’intepidiscono; chè Christo non ebbe respetto a morir per noi.

Serva di V.S. La Marchesa di Pescara

(On the riverse side, in her own hand🙂 Al Monsignor mio Contarino, so ben non bisognava mandarla a V.S., ma per amor di Christo habia patentia di legerla quando potrà.

(Vatican Archives, Concilio di Trento, vol.37, ff.170-176.)

Chapter V

1. The General of the Observance attempts to subject the Capuchins to himself. 2. The Letter of the Emperor against the Capuchins. 3. The Cardinal of Santa Croce opposes them. 4. The appointment of a Commission of Cardinals over the differences between the Observants and the Capuchins. 5. The industriousness of the Marchioness of Pescara. 6. The Emperor stays in Rome and retracts his letter.

1. It is opportune to go back a little to consider more fully some of the things that, for the sake of simplicity, I earlier omitted or only touched upon in passing. Let us go back to the year 1535.

After the Pontiff confirmed his election by the Observant Chapter celebrated in Nice on 15 May, Vincent Lunel[120] came to Rome. After putting the affairs of the Religion in order, and in possession of the letter given on 14 August,[121] which forbade the Capuchins to receive Observants, he set out on the visitation of the provinces of the Kingdom of Naples. On 18 August the Pontiff delegated him to go to the Emperor Carlos V,[122] returning in those days from Tunisia (17 August.) He berthed at Trapani, the port of western Sicily. The Emperor and the General met in Palermo and until October they remained together in Messina.[123]

From here, the Minister General Lunel, having visited Sicily, came to Reggio around 25 October, where he met with Bernardino Giorgio, the Vicar of the Capuchins of Calabria at the time. Then heading to Nicotera he called Ludovico da Reggio, staying in a nearby friary, to a dialogue on 28 October. In his letter, which I will present in its entirety in the appendix, Ludovico describes amply the things they discussed. The General wanted to induce him to have them return to his obedience. Disapproving the actions of his predecessor, he promised the necessary goodwill and freedom to the Capuchins to lead a stricter life in suitable, separated friaries. Cognisant from the experience of long years, Ludovico prudently deferred a reply until he could seek counsel from Bernardino Giorgio, the Vicar of the province, and from the other friars. For three days they persevered in prayer, begging for heavenly light. Then they expressed in a letter the conditions under which they would not refuse to renew the union. Impeded by illness, Bernardino Giorgio wrote back saying he was unable to attend to these grave matters. At the insistence of the General a second time, Ludovico advised the delegate the General had sent of the reasons they had deferred the reply. He also made known to him the conditions laid down for a union, although they would not oblige themselves without consulting the Vicar General. Ludovico was inclined to the union and he revealed the reasons for this inclination, however he wanted agreements to be confirmed by Papal Bull, with the appropriate clauses, so that the Bull not turn out to be useless, as happened with the one which Bernardino d’Asti and Francesco d’Iesi had obtained (see above, In suprema, 16 November 1532.) We do not have to doubt the good will and upright purpose Lunel presented. However it must be stated that during his government in the Religion that reform made little progress. So that we may conclude the things done in Calabria at the time it should be said that Bernardino Giorgio died on 19 December 1535, the fourth Sunday of Advent, even though all the writers until now have protracted his life until 1536.

2. The Minister General of the Observants met with the Emperor again in Naples. Since he saw that he was wasting his strength with the Capuchins of Calabria, he moved Caesar to write a letter to the Pontiff against this “new sect.” Such a letter had been unknown until recently and seems too little known even today. Therefore we believe that it is useful to publish it again.

Muy sancto Padre, Señor,

Enteniendo que en la Provinçia de Italia se ha començado á instituyr nuevamente una çierta secta que se llama de los Capuchinos eximiéndose de la obediençia del ministro general de la orden de Sant Francisco y conosciendo per experiencia quánto más escándalo que edificaçion en nuestra sancta fee Cathólica engendran estas novedades, nos ha paresçido scrivir á V. y suplicarle lo mande mirar, y no permita ny dé lugar que se proçeda adelante en esto, y specialmente no consienta que en ninguna manera se introduzga en España por el escándalo que en la religión podria traer, remytiéndonos al muy Cardenal de Sancta Cruz protector della que le hablará más largo çerca destos, á quien supplicamos á V. dé entero crédito, cuya muy sancta persona nuestro Señor conserve por muchos años para el felice regimiento de su sancta y universal yglesia. De Nápoles a IIII° de Deziembre Año de M.DXXXV.

Don Carlos por la divina clemencia emperador
de los Romanos, augusto Rey de Alemania, de
las Españas, de las dos Siçilias, de Hierusalem, etc.
El rey

(A tergo) A nuestro my sancto Padre.[124]

3. From the composition of the letter it is credible that this letter was sent to the Cardinal of Santa Croce to give to the Supreme Pontiff. However since the name of this Cardinal will have often come up, certain things about him should be known. Born to the noble stock of Quiñones, a son of count de Luna, bidding the world ‘good-bye’ the young man was professed in the reformed province of ‘los Angeles santos,’ under the name of Francisco de los Angeles. Liked by all, he came to the supreme position of the monastic hierarchy in the General Chapter of 1523, and one of his first acts was to create statutes for the friaries of Recollects in the province of the Conception, that is, for the friars “who desire to lead a stricter, solitary and more tranquil life far from the crowds of men, a life free from tedious offices.”[125] Himself giving the example of a stricter life during his visitation of the provinces he ordered that friaries of recollection be assigned[126] and took care to eradicate abuses. Involved in various legations by Clement VII who had great faith in him, he was not capable of being vigilant over the government of the Religion and those whom he would have as collaborators in instituting reform he found completely different in spirit. Created Cardinal under the title of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme,[127] he had Paolo Pisotti da Parma as his successor in the Cismontane provinces. Pisotti was elected General in 1529 and always showed himself contrary to those friars who desired to live in a reformed way.[128] With the death of Cardinal Andrea della Valle (4 August 1534), who showed himself benevolent towards the Capuchins, the Vicar General of the Observants petitioned that Cardinal Francisco Quiñones, called the Cardinal of Santa Croce, be given him as Protector. The Pope appointed him on 17 August.

In 1525, as he visited the provinces of Italy, the aforesaid Minister General Francisco de los Angeles, came to the Marches in November. Hearing about the furtive departure of Matteo da Bascio, whom very likely the two Fossombrone brothers, Ludovico and Raffaele, had already imitated, he declared them excommunicated as apostates.[129] Therefore he certainly knew about the beginning of the Capuchin family. Even though a zealot for reform he always opposed the new congregation because, as it is to be believed, its members had distanced themselves from the communion of the Order and shattered unity. Vittoria Colonna inveighs against him, she who made the Capuchins her cause, as has been seen. One of our early writers says that the Cardinal of Santa Croce, in his last illness, implored the prayers of the Capuchins and promised, if he recovered, to love and favour them like a good father.[130] However he paid the debt of nature in the town of Veroli in Lazio on 27 October 1540.

4. Perhaps General Lunel himself brought the letter of the Emperor. He returned to Rome before 12 December, called by the Pope to explain in person the actions taken with Caesar[131] (about the convocation of the Council.)[132] In those same days he brought back the letter to the Pope and opportunely it has survived. He urged to close the way of transfer for the Observant friars to the Capuchins. By virtue of the Brief of Paul III on 19 August,[133] the way was open to all. The two months granted by the Pontiff to the superiors to assign places for the friars desiring to lead a stricter life had lapsed, without their taking care of the necessary assignment of many places.[134] Consequently they managed to have appointed three cardinals, friendly to them, “to settle the differences in the Order of Friars Minor between the Friars of the Observance and those called Capuchins.”[135]  Without hesitation  “these wanted to make provisions for the contentions between the same friars so that no scandals arise in the meanwhile.” Under pain of excommunication, they strictly forbad the transfer of Observant Friars to the Capuchins “until Our Lord the Pope provides a fitting remedy for these contentions.”[136]

5. For their part the Capuchins and their supporters were not idle in averting the threatening storm. The Marchioness of Pescara, who was in good grace with many Cardinals, attempted to win their support for her clients. On one particular day, since their cause with Ercole Gonzaga, the Cardinal of Mantua, might prove ineffective, she wrote a letter to Matteo Giberti, the bishop of Verona, so that he might testify himself to their good and holy life. He sent his letter to the aforesaid Cardinal on 29 December, also saying: “May Your Eminence know that Caesar has written to the Pope against the Capuchins, after extraordinarily having received a report from the General of the Observants. However he has already regretted this. When he comes to Rome he will make this known. Meanwhile may Your Eminence work with the Pope so that he not allow the harm which is threatening them.”[137] In fact Paul III, as Wadding correctly observes, seemed “to fluctuate between the vehement ardour of opponents one minute, and the next minute he gave them a kind response.” In fact, “each side, in various ways and with favours obtained from the great, tried to win the support of Paul and did not stop beating his ears so that he might want their particular family safe and sound.”[138]

Bernardino d’Asti, to whom the three Cardinals orally declared the judgement brought down by them, “humbly answered that if His Holiness wanted this, he would obey.”[139] However he got three other Cardinals benevolent to him added to the commission, in around the month of January 1536. The writers of our history have not handed down their names, however I have not hesitated to assert that one of them was Gaspare Contarini, and very likely Girolamo Ghinucci.[140] Hence Antonio Sanseverino, to whom Boverius attributed a principal role in the defence of the Capuchins in 1536, should be excluded. He defended them capably later. However his name is not found in the contemporary records of the time.

While these things were being discussed in the Curia the Vicar General, not without some concern, heard about an agreement, which was more or less faithfully reported to him, that the opponents claimed begun between the General of the Observance and the Capuchins of Calabria. So as not to lose time he wrote a letter then to both Bernardino Giorgio, the Vicar Provincial, whose death he had not yet heard about, and to Ludovico da Reggio, advising them about the pending dispute. He insisted that they not conclude anything prior to the judgement of the Supreme Pontiff. The letter Ludovico wrote back, dated Melito 16 January 1536, I will present fully in the Appendix, since I have already described the things he says about the discussions with the General. Let us return therefore to the sequence of events.

6. In her letter to Cardinal Gonzaga of 29 December, Vittoria Colonna wrote that the Emperor regrets the letter he wrote against the Capuchins and will show this in Rome. A blood-relative of Carlos V,[141] the Marchioness was very influential with him and it is to be believed that she took care to better inform Caesar immediately. Nor did she miss an opportunity. Her brother Ascanio, who looked upon the Capuchins with equal devotion, was the Grand Constable of the Kingdom of Naples, and as such was with the Emperor in the first days of his arrival. Vittoria freely discussed with her relative the deceased Alfonso de Avalos, Marquis of Vasto, who had married Mary of Aragon, the sister of Giovanna (the wife of Ascanio.) Ascanio also remained close to Caesar’s side. She could have easily known the mind of Carlos V.

I have said that she stayed a few days in Naples towards the end of February. She certainly commended the Capuchins to the Emperor at that time. Nor was it necessary for Carlos to come to Rome to see them for himself. In this year in fact, during Lent, in the Church of San Giovanni Maggiore in Naples, Bernardino Ochino preached with such fervour “that he might make the stones weep” and the Emperor willingly listened to him.[142]

In Marino on 3 April the Emperor was the guest of Ascanio Colonna. On 5 April he entered Rome solemnly. On 8 March he visited the Marchioness of Pescara, who the next day, Palm Sunday, came with him for dinner to the house of her brother Ascanio and they say that Carlos discussed many things with Vittoria at the time. Therefore we can easily believe that Caesar, who for the next two days of Monday and Tuesday of Holy Week rode through Rome to various churches and places, with a few his companions and very informally,”[143] went to the house of Santa Eufemia not far from Santa Maria Maggiore to visit the Capuchins, as our chroniclers are in agreement in narrating after Colpetrazzo, to whom we can lend our trust. He says that he heard this himself from a certain fra Angelo of Spain, who was a soldier at the time accompanied the Emperor.[144]

Unhappy with the things which he had written against the Capuchins, or which had been written in his name. Retracting those things, he commended the Capuchins to the Pontiff. The Marchioness herself testifies to this. Without a doubt she had been the organiser of this conversation. A little later she said that “the Emperor, who in Naples wrote to the Pope against the congregation of Capuchins, commended the same congregation to him once he had heard the truth.”[145]

Chapter VI

1. Memorial of Bernardino d’Asti about the transfer of Observant Friars to the Capuchins. 2. Letter of Vittoria in support of the Capuchins. 3. The Brief prohibiting the transfer from one to the other. 4. It is decreed that the Capuchins not go beyond the Alps. 5. Continuing persecutions do not obstruct the spread of the Order.

1. In her letter to a number of Cardinals, reproduced above, Vittoria Colonna presented the many accusations which their adversaries were going around saying against the Capuchins. One of those accusations was their exemption from the jurisdiction of the Minister General which the Bull Exponi Nobis, 25 August 1536, confirmed a little later. Another was the transfer of Observant Friars to the Capuchins “from which,” she says, “this storm has arisen.” That cause always lingered, for which the said Commission of Cardinals had been appointed to pass judgement.

The Vicar General was not slow to urge a solution of this dispute. To this end, in the first days of the following September, he produced a Memoriale for a particular benevolent Cardinal or Prelate, whose identity is unknown.[146] I copy it here from the original itself, which is kept in our Archives, with the corrections perhaps of P. Bernardino himself, which in various places makes the reading uncertain. As is my custom, I will present everything faithfully. in Christo Pater et Domine, Domine observandissime, salutem ac humilem commendationem.

Sanctissimus Dominus Noster, jam fere novem mensibus elapsis, commisit tribus R.mis D.nis Cardinalibus quatenus auditis querelis fratrum minorum de observantia nuncupatorum ac responsionibus filiorum ac servulorum Vestrae R.mae Dominationis, fratrum ejusdem ordinis nuncupatorum de capucinis, Beatitudini Suae referrent. Qui praeceperunt Vicario ipsorum fratrum capucinorum quatenus neminem fratrum praedictorum de observantia reciperet, quousque idem Sanctissimus Dominus Noster super eorum differentiis de oportuno remedio providisset.[147] Qui Vicarius humiliter respondit, quod si Sanctitas Sua hoc volebat obediret; qui R.mi Litteras patentes de praedicto mandato confectas dictis fratribus de observantia nuncupatis tradiderunt.[148]

Praeterea jam sunt fere octo menses quod idem Sanctissimus Noster Dominus[149] tribus praefatis Cardinalibus tres alios similiter R.mos Cardinales adjunxit, qui ab utraque praedictarum partium informati, multotiens tres primos, vel saltem duos ipsorum requisiere quatenus omnes sex simul congregati utrarumque congregationum praedictarum fratres audierent, eidemque Sanctissimo Domino Nostro referrent; qui (ut creditur) a dictis fratribus de familia seu observantia retenti, hoc facere hucusque distulerunt, prout Ipsi Sanctissimo Domino Nostro pluries fuit intimatum. Sed praedicti fratres de observantia nuncupati duobus mensibus, etc.[150]

Praeterea R.mus D.nus Cardinalis Sanctae Crucis, dicti ordinis protector, unus ex tribus praenominatis Cardinalibus, dixit uni Ill.mae personae quod si mille bullae, vel brevia obtinerentur, numquam intendebat dictos fratres capucinos impediri quin recipere possent quinquaginta dictorum fratrum de observantia, quos sciebat Sanctissimum Dominum Nostrum, vivae vocis oraculo eidem Ill.mae personae concessisse.[151]

Praeterea ab aliquibus doctissimis viris, etiam quibusdam R.mis Cardinalibus, ac de ritu Romanae Curiae ad plenum instructis, decisum extitit et dictis capucinis declaratum, quod litterae patentes praenominatae non derogabant brevibus et multo minus Bullae Sanctissimi Pontificis:[152] et inter praefatos est unus auditor Rotae.

Cum igitur ultimum breve, a praefato Sanctissimo Domino Nostro super negotiis inter dictos fratres de observantia nuncupatos et praedictos fratres capucinos emanatum, dicat quod si ipsi fratres de observantia nuncupati reformationes suas non fecerint realiter et cum effectu, infra duorum mensium terminum a dicti brevis prasentatione computandum, sui fratres possint ad dictos fratres capucinos libere transire, et ab ipsis recipi[153]: et dicti fratres de observantia dictas reformationes, saltem infra praefatum terminum minime fecerint, ipsi fratres de observantia nuncupati licite potuerunt ac possunt a dictis fratribus capucinis acceptari, et maxime quia hoc omni juri pontificio, divino ac naturali valde est consentaneum.

De primo clara est illa certe divina sententia Capituli Licet, De Regularibus, si bene videatur.[154] Quod omnibus religiosis licitum esse debet transire ad arctiorem vitam et maxime in eadem religione, quod est omni juri consonum; et ejus oppositum facile probari posset juri divino ac pontificio contraire.

Et si dicatur quod aliquod bonum omitti debet ne scandalum oriatur, respondetur: Nullum ex hoc scandalum oriri, nisi passivum, sicut si parentes, divitiis ac filiis abundantes, scandalizarentur quod aliqui filiorum vellent in Religione Altissimo deservire.

Et si dicatur quod ex dicta receptione sequitur inobedientia et impunitas ipsorum fratrum de familia, seu observantia nuncupatorum, respondetur: Hoc falsum esse, quia non debent praelati dictorum fratrum propterea non arctare fratres suos ad sibi obediendum, nec omittere delinquentium punitiones; quia si propter hoc transeunt ad praefatos fratres capucinos, nullum sequitur inconveniens; nec propterea deberent praelati ipsorum contristari, quia filii transeunt ad arctiorem vitam, ad perfectionem Christi ac beati Francisci sequelam, ad strictiorem cum ipso Christo unionem et ad perfectiorem consiliorum Christi ac suae regulae observantiam.

Propterea si argumentum suum valeret nec ipsi deberent permitti quod reciperent ipsi fratres sanctorum Augustini et Dominici aliarumque religionum, quia parimode sequitur inobedientia et impunitas ipsorum fratrum; quod manifeste absurdum est et contra Capitulum Licet praeallegatum.

Praeterea lex naturalis dictat, lex divina, sacri doctores clamant quod unusquisque debet tendere ad majorem perfectionem, et juxta inrefragibile dictum Christi, contendere per arctam viam et angustam portam: debet etiam unusquisque eligere viam tutiorem; quanto magis a praelatis non debet impediri; immo certe omnes aures hoc debent abhorrere.

Et certe omnes impedientes (quicumque sint) strictissime de hoc in die mortis suae ac impediti contra eos clamabunt, sicut et nunc clamant, et piissimi eorum clamores in aures Domini Sabaoth intrant. Propter quod difficile videtur et quodam modo impossibile, quod tales impedientes, etiam in hac vita prosperari possent, immo nec diu vivere; quia et si malum sit bona non agere, certe pessimum est alios a bonis impedire.[155]

Et si a praefatis fratribus diceretur quod etiam ipsi regulam observant secundum declarationes Pontificum, vel ad minus secundum ipsorum dispensationes, vel saltem quod volentes inter ipsos et in eorum congregatione possunt ad plenum regulam observare, respondetur: Quod ipsi fratres capucini nollent aliorum discutere nec palam facere defectus, et quod habent ad tria puncta, quae ibi tanguntur, verissimas responsiones quas dabunt, si opportuerit; tamen pro nunc conditionaliter loquendo respondent: Quod si praefati fratres de observantia nuncupati non observant, difficillimum est inter ipsos regulam ipsam observare: et periculosum est et transgressionibus commorari; et quod in dubiis animae tutior pars est eligenda, et qui amat periculum incidet in illud.[156] Et quod dato casu praefato, scilicet, quod ipsi non observant regulam secundum declarationes Summorum Pontificum (sicut pro nunc supponitur), sequitur quod sicut ipsis permissum ac concessum est quod possent recipere fratres conventuales ad se venientes, licentia petita licet non obtenta, sic pari modo permitti ac concedi debet ipsis capucinis quod recipiant ipsos fratres de observantia nuncupatos.

Summa praedictorum est quod Dominationis Vestrae filii ac servuli, fratres Sancti Francisci capucini nuncupati, licite potuerunt ac possunt recipere ad eorum Congregationem fratres Sancti Francisci de observantia nuncupatos, immo debuerunt ac debent (Sede Apsotolica permittente) eos recipere:

1° Ex duplici praecepto legis naturalis, quia unusquisque deberet velle recipi ad melius vivendum, et sic alium recipere: et nullus deberet velle repelli, et sic nec alium ab hoc repellere.

2° Ex jure divino, quia nullus debet quemquam impedire vel non admittere ad perfectiorem consiliorum Christi observantiam.

3° Per jus canonicum, ut egregie habetur Cap. Licet, De Regularibus.

4° Per bullam felicis recordationis Clementis VII.

5° Per multa brevia Sedis Apostolicae.

Nec obstant litterae patentes trium R.morum Cardinalium, quia ipsarum fuerunt facta transumpta duobus mensibus vel circa post additionem aliorum trium Cardinalium, et absque mandato ac sine satis ipsorum missa, nec hucusque praesentaverunt eas vicario generali, et quia non derogant brevibus ac multo minus bullae Summi Pontificis.[157]

Clementissimus Deus, nimia sua clementia, pie vivere cupientibus bonae voluntatis fervorem augeat, eisque debitam opem et favorem praestantibus abundantissime etiam in hac vita ac futura retribuat, impedientes vero coerceat, vel etiam ipsis saniorem intellectum rectamque ac amore suo ferventem voluntatem concedat.”[158]

Nonetheless the matter was handled in such a way that with the ongoing quarrels between the parties and the daily clamour would have been a nuisance to everyone, as a one witness wrote. In order to impose an end to all this, on 15 December, after the consistory, the Pope assembled the commission of nine Cardinals to make provision for the various cases occurring at the time, in particular the controversies among the Observants and the Capuchins.[159]

2. The Bull of Paul III had aroused the animosity of the opponents lest it would have constrained them, and they appealed to the Pope against the confirmation of the Council.[160] The Marchioness of Pescara did not fail her clients and during these days did not stop working to defend their almost desperate cause. There are many letters which, although without a date, had been written evidently at that time. In one letter to Ambrogio Recalcati, the private secretary of the Pope, Vittoria says this, “Cardinals Contarini, Ghinucci and Simonetta, who have heard the truth, call it a completely great sin to close the door (for the Observants wanting to enter the family of Capuchins). Let a way be found so that only the good ones may come, and not the ambitious and scandalous, as the Observants gossip about, and who would be wiser than Saint Paul.”[161]

In another letter to Cardinal Contarini she discusses the controversy more fully. It will be worthwhile to publish this letter, which I have translated faithfully as best I could.[162]

Reverendissimo Monsignor mio.

Della legge divina s’intese più Cristo e Paulo che Bartolo e Baldo[163]: però V.S. bisogna pugni per li servi del Signore. Intendo pensino dire che possan venire i frati licentia obtenta, questo seria una porta più chiusa che fusse mai, perchè quando questi poverini hebbero tutti i disfavori et le desgratie, se remetteva la licenitia al Papa,[164] et hera malissimo, hor quanto peximo seria remetterla a chi li carcera et li ruina: se dicesse petita, como el capitulo Licet, la bolla eugeniana[165] ed ogni legge vole, serria comportabile benchè puro dannoso; per l’odio che li mostrano; ma obtenta è far proprio ottener al demonio contra Dio quel che vole.

Similmente de l’obedientia e de l’abito che ne sono in possessione X anni con la bolla di Clemente,[166] che bisogna dir sin a concilio per scrittura, se mai scrittura in ciò s’è fatta, basta dirlo a parole per non metter le cose certe in dubio, che seria un’injustitia como sesse dicesse a uno: possedi la tua casa sin al tal tempo. Sí che V.S. che ha piú conscientia, et vede piú la verità è piú obligato dirla senza respecti, che è un periculo di far danno a mille anime bone, immo danno a tutta la religione, ché con queste provate speranze mai quelle se emendano, anzi ogni dì se ruinano, che se vedessero che in verità li bisogna proveder di comodità de ben vivere a frati loro per detener i boni, serrian forzati a farlo; che così li abbatteno, li conculcano, et se fa da ogni banda summo disservitio a Dio; et però seria assai iusta conclusione che nelle altre cose si observasse la bolla de Clemente, et nel venire licentia petita como vole el capitulo Licet, benchè sia pur con periculo.

Serva de V.S. La Marchesa di Pescara.

Not content with what she had already written, she added:

La S.V. sa che tanto è a dir licentia ottenta quanto scomunicar da mo’ tutti boni, pensi V.S. como sonaria bene che scomunicassero quelli voglion far bene, et così è questo maxime a l’orecchia divina; è troppo dir petita, che subito l’incarcerano, ma ottenta non se è ditta mai, immo la peggio scrittura contra questi fu che quelli non venissero sin al Spirito Santo, sin che se reformavano;[167] et che adesso poi ch’è dato tanto lume di loro, selli facesse peggio che mai pensi V.S. che errore.

Nostro Signore Dio li (namely the Cardinals of the Commision) faccia dir quel che so che vorria, che però la immensa bontà di Dio non li fece haver audientia quel dí, perchè ce pensassero meglio, e sapessero che mai se prefisse tempo alla bolla, nè se disse licentia ottenta, et se’l capitulo Licet se potesse allegar contra questi, milli anni sono che li haverian chiuso la bocca; ché bisogna dir ottenta a quello che se sa non se pò ottenere?[168]

3. The minute shows that this supporter of the Capuchins was well informed, as she always was, about the Brief published at the time and it seems that this minute had been show to her.[169] In fact, on 22 December she asked Cardinal Contarini that in the dispatching of the Brief, which was especially unfitting, “he might not let his goodness be denigrated by others.”[170] Contarini did not fail in the office of defender assigned to him, although there was little he could achieve. It seems almost necessary to reproduce the Brief of 4 January 1537, even though it is in Wadding and in our Bullarium.[171] The erased fragments, which are quite relevant to our history, are included in italics.

On the reverse of the minute is this note of the Secretary who used to relate to the Supreme Pontiff the judgments or graces granted by the Briefs: “Super differentia fratrum ordinis minorum de observantia et Capuccinorum Sanctitas Vestra, cum deliberatione nonnullorum cardinalium quibus hoc commisit, motu proprio etc. statuit quod donec per Eam in capitulo generali dicti ordinis, de speciali mandato S.V. in urbe celebrando aliud determinatum fuerit, dicti de observantia non possint recipere aliquos ex capucinis nec e converso, sine generalium vel provincialium praelatorum suorum licentia in scriptis habita; et si quo ex dictis de observantia vitam arctiorem ducere voluerint, ad loca ad hunc effectum designata de suorum praelatorum licentia, se transferre debeant, sub eadem obedientia et retento habitu; ubi vero non fuerint dicta loca debeant deputari per praelatos et si secus fiet S.V. providebit. Viderunt Cardinales Campegius, Sanctae Crucis, Sanctorum Quatuor, Symoneta, Contarenus et Ghinucius.”[172] We have no hesitation in asserting, contrary to Boverius and our other writers, that they were the six Cardinals to whom the Pope had assigned the matter. Therefore Cardinal Antonio Sanseverino was not included.

And so to the Brief.

Paulus Papa III

Ad futurm rei memoriam

Regimini universalis Ecclesiae, disponente Domino praesidentes, inter caetera, quae commisso Nobis Apostolicae Servitutis incumbunt officio, hoc praecipuum arbitramur, ut opem et operam, quantum Nobis ex alto conceditur, exhibere curemus, quod hi, qui abdicato saeculo, sacrae Religioni ac piae vitae studio se dederunt, semotis perturbationum molestiis et discordiarum dispendiis, votivae pacis et quietudinis amoenitate jugiter in Domino gratulentur. Cum itaque, sicut accepimus, inter dilectos filios fratres Ordinis Minorum de Observantia nuncupatos et fratres ejusdem Ordinis Congregationis Capucinorum nuncupatae graves contentiones et lites, quibus eorum status plurimum deturbatur, exortae sint, quae, si diutius durarent, in eorum perniciem ac perniciosum exemplum et scandala plurimorum vergere possent;

Nos, qui Ordinem ipsum propter uberes frustus quos in agro Dominico hactenus attulit et in dies afferre non cessat, inter caeteros Ordines, quos caelestis Agricola summa benignitate plantavit, paterna charitate prosequimur, cupientes hujusmodi contentiones et lites nostrae provisionis auspiciis terminari, matura ac digesta super his cum nonnullis ex Venerabilibus Fratribus Nostris S.RE. Cardinalibus, quibus causam hujusmodi examinandam commisimus deliberatione praehabita, Motu proprio et ex certa scientia, Auctoritate Apostolica, tenore praesentium statuimus et ordinamus:

Quod de caetero dicti fratres de Observantia nuncupati nullum ex dictorum Capucinorum professoribus ad se venientes, quovis praetextu, absque Praelatorum suorum speciali licentia in scriptis habita recipere, seu in eorum domibus retinere possint, nec ipsi de Observantia nuncupati, absque hujusmodi Generalium seu Provincialium Praelatorum suorum licentia speciali, etiam in scriptis habita, ad eosdem Capucinos transire, aut eorum habitum assumere seu gestare valeant, donec per Nos, in dicti Ordinis generali Capitulo, in hac alma Urbe, nostro speciali mandato celebrando, aliud determinatum fuerit.

Si qui vero ex ipsis fratribus de Observantia nuncupatis arctiorem voluerint vitam ducere, ad loca ad hunc effectum designata, de Praelatorum suorum licentia se conferre debeant, ibidem sub eorum obedientia, servata forma habitus et capucii, quem eatenus gesserint, ne novam Religionem inchoare videantur, in suae professionis puriori observantia Domino vacaturi. Ubi vero dicta loca ad hujusmodi effectum adhuc designata non fuerint, volumus quod in eorum provincialibus capitulis proxime celebrandis, juxta capacitatem et numerum dictorum fratrum hujusmodi vitam sectari volentium, per Generales Ministros et Commissarios dicti Ordinis, seu per Ministros Provinciales respective in suis provinciis, juxta ipsorum generalis Capituli procime celebrati determinationem,[173] omnino designari et cum effectu deputari debeant. Quod si secus factum fuerit, Nos tunc fratres hujusmodi, sub arctioris poenitentiae jugo Altissimo famulari cupientes, in eorum salubri proposito paterno affectu confovere volentes, quantum cum Deo poterimus, opportune providere curabimus.

Fratres vero Capucini nuncupati nullo modo dictos fratres de Observantia nuncupatos, etiam praetextu alicujus licentiae oraculo vivae vocis a Nobis obtentae, seu in posterum obtinendae, etiam vigore quarumcumque litterarum Apostolicarum non facientium de praesentibus plenam ac de verbo ad verbum expressam et individuam mentione, absque suorum Generalium, seu Provincialium Praelatorum licentia in scriptis habita, recipere, aut in illorum domibus retinere, seu ad eosdem fratres de Observantia nuncupatos se transferre, vel contra praesentium tenorem quicquam attentare paresumant.[174]

(This part followed the first section in italics). Liceat nihilominus eis usque ad generale Concilium, vel ad ejusdem Ordinis generale Capitulum, in hac alma Urbe, nostro speciali mandato clebrandum, vel alias ad beneplacitum nostrum, in eo quo modo sunt statu Altissimo famulari, dummodo ad partes ultramontanas se non transferant, nec loca de novo inibi acceptent. (In the margin next to the deleted paragraph had been added:) Nec ad partes ultramontanas accedere, aut loca de novo inibi usque ad dictam determinationem acceptare praesumant. (This correction was also deleted. The Brief continues where it left off.)

Mandantes omnibus et singulis dicti Ordinis, tam de Observantia quam Capucinis nuncupatis, in virtute sanctae obedientiae et sub excommunicationis ac privationis officiorum, quae obtinent, et inhabilitatis ad quoscumque actus legitimos exercendos, poenis ipso facto incurrendis, ut praemissa omnia et singula, firmiter et inviolabiliter servent. (In the margin after the words “Omnia et singula”): Donec per Nos in generali Concilio, vel in dicti Ordinis generali Capitulo in hac alma Urbe, nostro speciali mandato celebrando, aliud determinatum fuerit, firmiter et inviolabiliter observant. (These words were also cancelled.)

Then follow the usual clauses of invalidation and penalties, which are of no importance to our narration and which we omit. At the end of the page are the autograph signatures of the Cardinals.[175]

Ita determinatum est, F. Car.lis. S.† protector.

Ita est L. E.pus Praenestinus Car. Campegi
Ita est A. Car.lis S.rum 4.or Major Penitentiarius.
Ita est Ja. Car.lis Symoneta.
Ita est G. Car.lis Contarenus,
Hie. Car.lis Ghinuccius.

The observation of Contarini was not useless, for the words by which the Pontiff deprived himself of the authority to give permission had been omitted. Similarly the clause that the Capuchins might not transfer to parts beyond the mountains was suppressed.

4. The prohibition to transfer beyond the mountains, which was deleted from the Brief of 4 January 1537, was indicated the next day in a new Letter to the Capuchins. In the state in which things were, until the provision to be made in the coming Chapter, the Pontiff ordered and commanded them, under the pain of excommunication latae sententiae, that until something else on the matter be determined, they may not transfer to parts beyond the mountains where they had not as yet entered. Nor may they presume to accept places there again.[176]

In the aforesaid Briefs there is always mention about a Chapter in Rome to be celebrated by special mandate of the Pope. Clement VII already published the same for the Chapter of 1535, “ut felici directioni Ordinis, ac, si opus fuerit, reformationi melius intendi posset.” However the Observants then worked in such a way so that the Pontiff might change his mind, not without some harm for those who desired reform.[177] Having learned from experience, so that their worsened condition might not protract at length, these insisted that, according to a very old custom, the Chapter be celebrated after the lapse of three years since the last general assembly.[178] If they were heard, as it would seem, the adversaries then moved so that the Pope put aside the promises.

5. Not content with this victory the Observants did not stop the harassment. They wanted to constrain their friars, received by the Capuchins before 4 January, to return to them.[179] In fact they all lamented, seeing their efforts useless against this poor and despised little family. Like a tree tossed by gales, that takes root and spreads its branches, it grew in number and multiplied friaries. The Cardinal of Santa Croce struck at the tree, other princes of the Church cultivated it. Cardinal Palmieri offered Holy Trinity monastery in Melito, for which he was the commendatarius[180], so that they could transform it into a friary.[181] Cardinal Antonio Sanseverino tended to Paul III the letter of request so that the rural church of Santa Maria of Montecasale be granted them, where according to popular belief Saint Francis had resided.[182] Cardinal Giovanni Piccolomini, the bishop of Siena, asked his co-citizens to give the friary of Siena to the confreres of the then very famous Bernardino Ochino.[183] Cardinal Ennio Filonardi granted them the church of Monte San Giovanni in the diocese of Veroli.[184]

In Rome itself Ascanio Colonna, with his sister Vittoria, prepared a new and larger dwelling for them near their own house, acquiring the parish church of San Nicola de Portiis, the care of which and the administration of the Sacraments had been committed to the Conventual Friars of the Twelve Apostles.[185]

Chapter VII

1. The Chapter of the Friars Minor of the Observance is deferred. 2. The Marchioness of Pescara busies herself to overturn new machinations against the Capuchins and the reform. 3. A letter of hers to Cardinal Agostino Trivulzio. 4, Cardinal Sanseverino’s speech in defence of the Capuchins. 5. Again the Pontiff prohibits the Capuchins from receiving Observants. 6. He revokes the permission given verbally in person. 7. Conclusion.

1. Concerning reform in the Order which the Brief of 4 January 1537 ordered again, in reality, the superiors of the Observance cared little; rather, they opposed the friars moved by zeal for a purer observance, and they threatened to bring new difficulties to the Capuchins.

Vittoria Colonna, who at that time had in mind “peregre profisciendi et ultra Sancti Jacobi in Compostella et Sancti Maximini in provincia Provinciae, in qua Beatae Mariae Magdalenae corpus reconditum esse creditur, ecclesias, sacrum Domini nostri Jesu Christi sepulcrum visitandi,”[186] came to Rome. In her letter nothing is found to illustrate more fully what her actions were at the time.[187]

While the Pontiff was going to Nice to meet the king of France, he passed through Lucca (7 April 1538) where the Marchioness of Pescara was staying because ill health had undone her plan. She was received by Paul III and it does not appear that the Capuchins were discussed at all. In Nice the Pope chose to stay in the friary of Saint Francis outside the walls,[188] where Vincent Lunel, the Minister General of the Observants had also gone. Under the appearance of some public matters concerning the Christian republic in which he was involved, he had explained to the Pontiff that he could not be present for the Cismontane Chapter at the decreed date, and which appropriately could not be celebrated without his presence. Consequently, he had obtained already from Paul III to have the chapter postponed “pro suo arbitratu et judicio.”[189] Then he attempted to scheme new things against the Capuchins.

2. This new trouble completely escaped the attention of our first writers, however it is confirmed by the following letter which Vittoria Colonna wrote to the Pope on 16 September 1538. patre,[190]

Stava con somma consolation sperando presto basarli i piedi et starme otto o X giorni in Prata poi venirmene a Roma. Han mista questa dolcezza in tanta amaritudine che non penso più a Roma, scrivendome che Vostra S.tà condexende a dar nove molestie a capucini, poveri minimi obedientissimi servi de Vostra S.tà, quali non se defendono, non tramano, et son doi anni che io mai ne ho scritto in loco alcuno, e il general del Observantia, dilato capitulo, andò a Nizza, tramò per tutto inducendo a dirne male, e informar Vostra S.tà et tam proprio imperio? della prudentia carnale inimica de Dio. Ma se Vostra S.tà vol sapere el frutto mirabil che fanno capuccini et la obedientia et lo honor che fanno a Vostra S.tà mande doi commissarj sinceri per tutte le cità de Italia, et vederà che spirito, che credito, che inimicitia con li eretici, che obedientia a ogni ordine di Vostra S.tà et como son domandati et como aspramente ripresero una sola parola che disse un loro predicatore in Genova, che mostrava minacciar de futuro danno, che è cosa che ogni un lo sa; tamen stanno loro zelantissimi de non errare in cosa che dispiacessi a Vostra S.tà Maxime oimè, Patre Santissimo mio, questo è il reformar che Vostra S.tà disse voler fare, rinar lo meglio che ce è? Oimè non se sa le reforme loro fra loro tutte guaste et intenderà meglio dalle letter mando, che iersera per miraculo arrivarono qui i doi frati.[191] Oimè non se sa che Vostra S.tà non fa cosa per ignorantia? Se vol ruinarli, faccialo de sua mano et non per altri; chè in tal caso serrò contretta andar gridando che me aiutino a procurar che li boni vadano for de Italia, pochè qui non ponno stare perchè la bontà de Vostra S.tà non opera per l’impedimento de tristi. Io ho ferma speranza nella prudentia dell S.tà Vostra la qual sola me tien qui; perchè le buscie ditte a Vostra S.tà o ad altro principe haveran corte gambe quando se andarà a dirli el vero. Bel premio se dà al pover fra Belardino,[192] del esser ricercato da tutte le cità et mai mover passo senza desiderar saper li cenni de Vostra S.tà et così ha exspressamente ordinato a frati che Vostra S.tà sia sempre como lume de ogni pensier loro; et agli altri, che han l’intento loro de haver fatto chiudere la porta, dovria V.ra S.tà imponerli silentio, chè così movono ogni dì novi litigij per ruinarli, et tanta exsperientia vista del preservarsi più perfetti non basta. Dio li perdoni et dia a Vostra S.tà ognor più lume del suo servitio. Da Lucca a d’ xvi de 7:bre[193] solo la vita………. vita de Capucini è nuovo roverso a ponto de lu …………

Serva de Vra S.tà

[A tergo] Santis.o ac dño dño nostro pape

3. What would the rivals of the Capuchins then attempt to obtain from the Pontiff? That is not clear, but from the letter of Vittoria Colonna, which will be given in a moment, it can be conjectured that they sought again to have the Capuchins subject to them, under the appearance of restoring their own reform. Nothing in the letter of the Marchioness agrees with the certain propositions which our Mario da Mercato Saraceno puts in the mouth of Cardinal Antonio Sanseverino. I deny his intervention in the things done at the end of 1536. While I may appear to stubbornly deny the role our early writers attribute to him in defense of the Order, I could easily believe that he did do other things for the Capuchins.[194] In reality, the other protector of the Capuchins, whom our early writers never mention, was Cardinal Trivulzio, to whom the indefatigable supporter of the servants of God addressed the letter just mentioned. This is the letter: e Mons.e mio

Intendo le ottime opere de per i frati di Christo, et suoi, et son certa che ne haverà da Dio premio ultra di quello, che sente nel bono effetto la sua istessa virtù; et perché sempre Sua Santità responde bene, et Monsignor Ghinuccio benissimo, ma poi ogni giorno emanano ordini contrari a loro, bisogna che non desista; perché come sa chiusero la porta del intrar de frati, sperando redur questa reforma a niente, et mostrando reformarsi loro; hor che vedono che questa per un solido fundamento della verità s’empie di seculari et va innanzi, et le loro reforme ogni giorno indietro, non ponno haver patientia, ma in tutti i modi la molestano, che certo ormai ne vien pietà a quante città sono in Italia, che in tutte l’odor della ottima vita de’ capuccini è mirabile, gratia a Dio et a V.S.,[195] che fu primo origine de farce intrare i buoni.

Dicono che Mons. Ghinucci dice che serrà bene vadano doi o tre frati reformati dei loro a informali delle loro reforme.[196] Creda V.S. che il generale ce mandarà doi o tre de quelli che ne ha solo la mostra, et forsi per quei pochi dì farà vestirne doi o tre di quelli piace a lui;[197] ma se de vero vogliono saper la verità, faccian andar tutti i reformati de Santa Caterina che è nella provintia di[198] di S. Lodovico,[199] che contano cose da piangere delle crudeltà che li fanno, facciano andar xx della provintia di Genova, che li mandarò i nomi io, che stanno desperati: et x della provintia de Santo Antonio, che se dogliano non poter vivere, che vennero ad me parte de loro a dolersi che né volessero far bene, né che altri lo facesse, et se dicono ogni homo in ogni loco po’ far bene. Lassi dir, che è vero a chi non ha promessi i tre voti, ma chi li ha promessi, et vede che non si observano nei lochi dove stà, et che chi vol solo parlarne e incarcerto, creda V.S. che è peggio che tenerli in galera; ultra che sia contra Dio et contra ogni bono, che l’intende; quei poverini, che se sono una volta scoperti a reformarse con consentimento del proprio Generale, se stanno male come scrivono, et è così, lassenoli venire nella vera reforma, che liberaranno la Observantia de tanti malenconici, come dicono loro che sono reformati,[200] et usciranno quelle anime dalla carcere ove stanno, et dal periculo della eterna; perché, come pò considerar V.S., stanno in gran tormento, et se l’udissero, ne piangeriano; et sono andati al General del Observantia a buttarseli a piedi che li aiuti; disse che l’ordinarìa ali Provintiali; andorno alli Provintiali, et li dissero: sapete che ce ha ordinato el Generale, che ne mandiamo doi a Ragusa, doi a Brindisi, et che a poco a poco v’andamo dissipando. Hor veda V.S. che reforme, et come starrian Capuccini con loro. Io non so de che ha timor Sua Santità, et li altri a non lassar andar le cose, como Dio le ha ordenate che chi vol stringerese, se strenga; se tanta contraversia trovarrà l’Observantia, quando se strense, quanti beni fecero che non li haveria fatti.[201] V.S. (de gratia)[202] faccia come sole, quando vole, et mostri questa al mio Monsignor Ghinucci, el qual tengo per un delli compiti homini del mondo, se questi zoccolanti non fossero cagione d’impedirli molte gran gratie, che Dio li manderia: baso a V.S. le mano.

Da Lucca, a dì iij de ottobre 1538.
Serva di V.S. Illma. E R,ma
La Marchesa de Pescara.

(On the reverse: All’ e Sig. mio el Sig. Card. Triultio.)[203]

4. It has been said that some things in this letter agree with those that our Mario da Mercato Saraceno put in the mouth of Cardinal Sanseverino. Certainly the speech which he gives, in its shape, must be considered as fictional. But how could it have come to Marius? Therefore it is necessary to admit that our writer, according to his own ability, elaborated this quite unlikely speech and, easily pleased, attributed this monument of eloquence, so to speak, to the Cardinal.[204] Peace to the man of goodwill, but history must be written austerely. According to his customary style, Boverius restrains this elaboration,[205] leaving in the things which appear more authentic. “Under the appearance of reform,” said the Cardinal, according to Marius, “they send the most dissolute and lax friars to their poor little friaries and make these stay with them. Receiving them is like the wolf living with the lamb. Hence the divisions and dissensions among them in these places; hence vanished peace; hence zeal for observance trodden under foot. Not content with these things, under the pretext of advancing reform, they dispel the best friars from the Capuchins here and there in their friaries. Hence it happens that Capuchin friaries are full of friars who are strangers to poverty and simplicity; while in the Observant houses the best are dispersed, their good example serves for little or nothing. Thus under the appearance of reform, total ruin follows.”[206]

5. Since some new trouble had followed, we can attribute this happy outcome to the intercession of the Marchioness of Pescara. It does not seem, however, that she improved the lot of the reformed Observants. Consequently, it was not rare for them to flee to the Capuchins. However, since not all persevered in their intention, under the pretext of consequent scandal the superiors of the Observance took pains to check completely such a transitus. On 23 August 1539, the Pontiff published the following prohibition.

Dilecto filio Vicario Generali Ordinis S. Francisci de Observantia Capucinorum nuncupati.

Paulus III

Dilecte fili, salutem et apostolicam benedictionem. — Accepimus quod nonnulli fratres professi ex ordinibus reformatis Mendicantium de Observantia, non probantes spiritus an ex Deo sint, et vel suggerente antiquo adversario, qui non raro in angelum lucis se transfigurans, tranquillas mentes inquietare ac recto itinere gradientibus offendiculum in via Dei ponere molitur, vel quandoque levitate et vana melioris vitae spe moti, aut qui excessus in eorum Ordinibus admiserunt, disciplinam suorum Ordinum et correptionem fugere cupientes, ad Ordinem sancti Francisci de Observantia Capucinorum nuncupatorum, cujus, ut accepimus, ad presens tu Vicarius Generalis existis, etiam nonnunquam sine praelatorum suorum licentia, transire procurant et de facto transeunt, under nonnunquam contingit ut praefati transeuntes in Ordine praedicto, ad quem se transferre simulabant, non perseverantes, tandem ad saeculum revertantur in animarum suarum periculum. Ordinum opprobrium et religiosorum hujusmodi turbationem et scandalum plurimorum. Cum itaque, sicut etiam accepimus, nisi aditus talibus sub hoc praetextu suum Ordinem deserendi praecludatur, verendum est ne ex eo magno religionis dissolutio et confusio oratur. Nos qui Ordinum omnium, praesertim eorum in quibus regularis observantia, vitae frugalitas et sanctimonia, Domino praestante, vigent, tranquillum statum et prosperum successum necnon religiosorum eorumdem, qui fructum in agro Domini proferre non desistunt, pacem et quietem sinceris affectibus desideramus, in praemissis opportune providere volentes, tibi et successoribus tuis vicariis generalibus ac commissariis, custodibus, guardianis, praesidentibus caeterisque fratribus Ordinis Sancti Francisci Capucinorum hujusmodi nuncuopatorum, nunc et pro tempore existentibus, in virtute sanctae obedientiae praecipimus et mandamus quatenus deinceps nullum fratrem professum ex Ordinibus Mendicantium reformatorum de Observantia venientem cujuscumque conditionis extiterit, nisi de sui Generalis aut nostra et Sedis Apostolicae speciali et expressa licentia, recipiat aut recipiant, nec ei habitum per fratres Capucinos nuncupatos praedictos gestari solitum induant. Non obstantibus … Datum Romae apud S. Petrum, 23 August 1539, anno V. Fab.Vigil[207]

6. In a letter 4 January 1537 Paul III forbad the reception of Observants by the Capuchins, until he made some other determination in the General Chapter to be celebrated in Rome by his special mandate. Vincent Lunel had managed to defer, according to his own choosing, the Cismontane Chapter to be assembled in 1538. He celebrated the General Assembly in Mantua in June 1541. However nothing appears decided in the Ordinances of the Chapter regarding their own reforms or regarding transfer to the Capuchins.[208] Somehow the latter, thinking that the prohibition had ceased, believed that they had permission vivae vocis oraculo from the Pontiff to receive Observants. However the new Superiors of the Observants had this declaration revoked by another letter, on 5 August 1541, in which Paul III confirmed the former letter.

Cum autem sicut accepimus, prosequebantur litterae, dicti fratres Capucini nuncupati praefatos de Observantia professores, contra dictarum nostrarum litterarum tenore, praetextu cujusdam assertae licentiae a Nobis vivae voci oraculo, ut praetendunt, obtentae, in aliquarum discordiarum et litium suscitationem et scandalum plurimorum passim recipere non vereantur, Nos in praemissis opportuna providere volentes, motu proprio et ex certa nostra scientia, omnibus et singulis congregationis Capucinorum hujusmodi professoribus, in virtute sanctae obedientiae et sub excommunicationis aliisque in eisdem litteris nostris appositis censuris et poenis ipso facto incurrendis, auctoritate apostolica, tenore praesentium districte praecipimus et mandamus ne de caetero quempiam ex dictis Observanitiae professoribus, etiamsi in saeculari vel cujusvis alterius religionis habitu ad eos confugerent, hujusmodi assertae licentiae vivae vocis oraculo a Nobis obtentae, aut quovis alio praetextu, absque hujusmodi generalium seu provincialium praelatorum suorum licentia in scriptis habita, contra dictarum litterarum continentiam et tenorem recipere seu ritenere praesumant.[209]

7. Nonetheless the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin grew each day, its friaries multiplied and the opposition affirmed its vitality. Thus it truly became, day after day, what they say Blessed Battista Varano, with Gamaliel, told Giovanni Da Fano, when he was harshly persecuting the new appeared family: “If this plan comes from man, it will dissolve. If in reality it is from God, you will not be able to dissolve it.”[210]

Appendix I:

The letter of Ludovico da Reggio to Bernardino d’Asti

Ludovico da Reggio was one of the Observant Friars of Calabria who, knowing that the reformed life he hoped to lead was obstructed, went across to the Capuchins. His prominent companion was Bernardino Giorgio, also from Reggio. Sent to Rome by Ludovico to defend the cause of reform, he and his companion had been accepted by Ludovico da Fossombrone, the Vicar General of the Friars Minor of the Eremitical Life.[211] They deferred entering their company until they saw that every effort for reform under the obedience of the Superiors was futile.

All these things narrated by our Boverius and recalled by Wadding, might be brought into balance since the words of both neither agree with each other nor with the authentic records.[212] Whatever the truth might have been concerning the beginnings of the Capuchins in Calabria, I now address the question. Towards the end of 1535 they had a Vicar Provincial, P. Bernardino, to whom this office fell after Ludovico. As has been said above (Chapter 5, number 1) the General of the Observants, Vincent Lunel, returning to Sicily came to Reggio around the 25 October of the same year. Later while heading for Nicotera he called Ludovico to a conference. He tried to call Ludovico and his companions back to his obedience, as Ludovico himself narrates in this letter, dated Melito, 15 January 1536.

The first thing to which he refers in the letter is the death of Bernardino, who died on the fourth Sunday of Advent, namely, 19 December 1535. Therefore the writers of our history who defer his death to the end of 1536 should be corrected.

Second, he narrates frankly the things which had been agreed with the Minister General.

Third, he clarifies the reasons why it would not be appropriate to accept the place at Melito offered by Cardinal Palmieri. This was about the Benedictine Abbey of Holy Trinity, which the Cardinal had only just received in Commendam.[213] It is very likely that the Marchioness of Pescara had fostered his benevolence towards her clients. As is to be seen from the exposition by Ludovico, this monastery in no way suited the Capuchins.

A writer of our history, whom Boverius cites often under the name “Salodiensis,” knew this letter.[214] In reality, the original lay hidden for many years in the Archives of the Postulator General of Causes of the Servants of God, probably because on the back had been written: “Beati Patris fratis Ludovici de Reggio,” though his Cause was never introduced. It was found towards the end of 1912 in a trunk full of writings and papers on various subjects, which were considered useless. They have been returned to the Archives of the Order, quite deservedly. The letter is one of the very rare documents that survive and pertain to the beginnings of our Order. I decided immediately to put it in the public domain, but it seemed to me to require a lengthy exposition. This was the occasion to write this present work.[215]

(On the reverse) Reverendo in Christo Patri fratri Bernardino de Ast ordinis minorum de vita eremitica et hujus familae Vicaria generali pervigilanti divinique verbi praeconi et erudtio, et fructuoso.

Romae in sancta Euphemia, vel ubi fuerit, fideliter.

(Within): Reverendo Pater, cum humili comendatione salutem in Salvatore unico Jesu. Al dì 12° de Januario due lettere de V.R.P. sono capitate in mie mano, una drizata ad me: l’altra al nostro quondam Vicario lo quale hogi, come pietosamente credemo, felice in la quieta et sopra li concepti nostri beata habitatione del cielo; perché la 4a dominica de lo Advento in lo loco nostro de Rhegio da noi è partuto: come penso haverà inteso vostra P. in lo recepere de questa. Certo sentemo tucti noi multo dolore: come existamavamo il vivere suo appresso noi essere ad questa compagnia multo decoro et utilità. Ma fia la voluntà del Signore: lo quale po non solo reintegrare il danno ma anco far megliore compensa. Et confidiamo che remirirà noi con lochio della pieta sua et ci presterà sempre il suo adjutorio.

Per la successa partita (che morte horisco chiamare) del dicto nostro Vicario, fandose mentione in la drizata ad me lettera de V.P. che la sua fosse comune, existimai conveniente, anci debito, aperire quella. Dove ho lecto quello allei fosse nunciato de alcuna nostra prattica col padre Generalissimo de Zocculi: la pendencia del judicio de farse dal pontefice di noi et quelli, il bono conhortamento et fiducia de V.P. ad noi, et de la Abbatia del Palmerio. Et per togliere il supposto se possessse alcun fastidioso pensiero de la mente de V.P., senza altra dilatione il medesmo jorno de le recepute lettere, ho scripto questa readvisandola de quello che ad me accascava.

Il padre Generalissimo da Sicilia passando in Calabria in lo primo loco, che fo Rhegio si trovo con lo nostro Vicario: da li per doi jorni venni in Nicotera loco vicino ad uno nostro 4 miglia, et con lettere sue con doi frati mo fe instantia che io andasse ad trovarlo: et fu lo jove avante la festa de tucti sancti. Andai desideroso de intendere, et responderli: per che existimava, che da le sinistre informationi ad me ja non ignote, attribuisse il motivo nostro più presto ad sdegno de frateschi trattamenti, che ad intentione del vivere regolare et debito. Propossime adonque il prefato G. che se dolea del malo regimento del passato Generalissimo, et de li frati de questa provincia: donde era successa tanta ruina all’ordine, et tanto scandalo al mundo et me pregava che io volesse reparare, et il medesmo pregato havia al nostro vicario, a cio si resarcisse questa scissura de la relligione: toglisse lo scandalo de popoli: se providisse alle conscientie nostre, volendo la regola che uno generale sia a questa fraternita: et che havendo noi voluntà de tenire la purità de la regola era multo contentissimo, et ci offeria lochi, et fratri quanti volissero venire: et che havessimo uno custode, o vero vicario, et facissimo li capitoli per noi, et lo ministro de la provincia non ci possisse ne ponere, ne togliere, ne mutare frati da lochi nostri: ma solum visitare et punire noi de transgressioni che accascassero: et con questo noi haveriamo avantagio de maior copia de frati: et doneriamo occasione ad multi de meglior vita: et omnia concinnius sonarent: et si quid occurreret nobis praeter haec petendum, promptum se exhibebat ad satisfaciendum bonis votis.

Ad questa proposta così resposi substantia. Padre vi referisco gratie de la bona mente demonstrati verso noi et la relligione nostra matre, per sua satisfactione del nostro motivo stia certa non essere sta altra la cagione, si non che, non vidimo altro remedio alle nostre conscientie anxie, et mormorose, si che da li falsi frati, et da li Ministri de lo errore, retirarci ad questa compagnia emula de la antiqua purità. Per che non solamente non bastava ad quelli, che havean nome frati, destruggere col vivere omni vestigio de frate: ma con violentia impudentissima la quiete de alcuni pochi deturbare, et al tucto pessumdare: onde havendo con loro duri et calunniosi tractamenti cinque lochi de frati recolti,[216] da volontà et conhortamento del generalissimo, lo quale hogi è Cardinale de sancta Cruce, ad alcuno modesto vivere, diminuiti, et reducti in uno: ancho quello al fine dissiparono per nulla altra cagione, si che quelli haviano nome de observatori, et loro de conventuali. Et più domandandose dar licentia de andare al Generale, non si ha possuto havere: et recorrendo noi al generale, al capitolo generalissimo in Missina, manco fu dato remedio alle nostre inquietudini: ma come dal consenso del General eravamo da perversi travagliati, cosi subto le perditissime violentie de quelli oppressi restavamo. In lo che vedendo noi manifestamente mancare da Ministri al comandamento del seraphico padre: non provedendo ad noi che observare possessimo la professione nostra, existimamo non solamente licito, ma necessario subtrahirinci de la confusa babillone, dove vedeamo convertiti in lupi li cani, et li pastori in furi, et andare in perditione la salute del grege. Tanto più che vidimo parato ad noi lo refugio, et loco de salvatione: questa compagnia de cappocini: la quale, si stata non fosse, existamavamo expediente andare alle selve per zelo de observare la regola: né questo existmavamo scissura, ma preservatione, et integrità de li incorrupti agnelli per la separatione da le morbide percore: et non scandalo, ma nova, et megliore speranza de la prostrata et desperata relligione: come al vero è sequito. Questo quanto al motivo: quanto allo invito che ci voglassimo reunire, per che ja al presente cessavano le prime cagione, et era sua paternità parato ad darne omne comodità: li resposi, che di questo bisognava farise comune consulta, et haverese comune voto, per che ad tucti toccava: et per tanto sua paternità se contentasse expectare alcun jorno, che noi interim hariamo pregato Dio ci inspirasse la volunà sua, et determinato fra noi et advisato essa. De ciò restò contento, et mangiamo inseme quella sera: et la matina ci partissimo. Revenuto ad nostri omne cose per ordine narrai et cum timore, et instantia havendomo pregato tre jorni lo Signore, scripsi tucto al padre vicario: et la mente nostra comune supra il negocio, et exhortai che multo maturamente si deliberasse: et si inclinatione fosse de unione, li expossi quello che in mente ad noi era occurso domandare, ad cio multo cautelatamente convenissimo.

Et sonno le infrascripte petitioni: Primo petimus ut huic congregationi praesit custos, sive vicarius qui sit ejusdem congregationis, et ab ea electus.

2° Quod praedictus Custos habeat plenam, et omnem potestatem super ipsam congregationem et singulos fratres, quam habet minister provinciae super alios fratres ipsius provinciae sibi subditos: et consequentur quod possit convocare fratres suos ad capitulum in quo fiant diffinitores, guardiani, assignatio fratrum ad loca et hujusmodi, et proter quod visitet fratres, moneat, et corrigat, prout in regula.

3° Quod fratres hujus congregationis sint liberi ad intendendum quantum viderint expedire puritatem regulae in vestibus, in domibus, in ecclesiis, in paramentis et in omnibus aliis, ita ut non admittamus dissona professioni nostrae, vel admissa reformemus, vel si non permittatur reformatio, dimittamus.

4° Quod inter hanc congregationem et fratres existentes sub ministris provincialibus, servetur C. licet de reg. et trans. ad rellig. ut videlicet ex illis a nos possint transire petita licentia, licet non obtenta; nam non modo ad eandem, sed etiam ad aliam relligionem strictius viventem, sic petita et non obtenta licentia religiosus transire potest: e nostra vero congregatione ad illos non nisi obtenta licentia possit transiri: et hoc, cum secundum jus petatur, et rationi consonet, et subditorum et superiorum saluti conferat, non videatur irrationabiliter petitum, nec repulsu dignum.

5° Quod minister provinciae possit quidem semel in anno hanc congregationem visitare, monere, corrigere: confirmet etiam custodem hujus congregationis et praeter haec nihil ultra addere: non praesidere capitulis; non transferre fratres: nec aliud quodvis. Nec in hoc videamur quicquam ultra debitum petere: nam cum subdamur in omnibus ipsius custodi, uti alii fratres ministro: et ultra ipsi etiam ministro in omnibus ipsius custodi, uti alii fratres ministro: et ultra ipsi etiam ministro in omnibus correptionibus ubi quicquam praetermissum foret a custodibus: satis super quam ostendimus nos non affectare libertatem, aut fugere disciplinam. Cavemus autem provide ne data majore potestate ministris, detur eis simul ansa unde detrudant nos in foveam, cum sint alterius instituti, et disparium morum; satis, inquam, conjici potest qualem animum habeamus, cum exhibeamus nos puniendos ipsis ministris in omnibus quae contra Deum, religionem et fraternitatem per nos factum inveniretur. Quod si plus quaerent ministri suspicionem ingerunt animi elatioris quam benignioris, et imperium potius quam ministerium affectantis.

6° Quod Ministro generali in omnibus subdamur: eique nos obedientes exhibeamus juxta regulam quam promisimus, etc. et non sunt contraria animae et regulae, etc., sublata prorsus omni exceptione.

7° Quod haec omnia per bullam summi pontificis confirmentur et stabiliantur, imposita censura contradictoribus.

Le predicte cose havendomo advisato al nostro padre vicario, ci rescripse che essendo gravato de infirmità non possea attendere al tal negocio, et per questo altra resposta non fu facta più al padre Generale. Ma lui facto il capitulo in questa provincia, un’altra volta ci scripse con un suo comissario exhortandoci al primo invito: et per la continuata infirmità, et transito del dicto vicario, da noi mai si fe resposta al Generale: ma resposimo al commissario che advisasse ad quello lo impedimeto, per lo che non possevamo altro disponere, puro quando la cosa sortisse effecto, senza le predicte petitioni concesse et firmate, non eramo per convenire. Le quali petitioni intendo che siano state scripte dal ministro de questa provincia al generale, non da nostra commissione né saputa. Altro non è stato fra noi et questi padri.

Del che tucto ho voluto advisare V.P. a cio allei altro non sia persuaso, et ad fine che considere quello che convene, et faze noi advisati de quello che besogna: per che semo parati alli boni instituti et consigli soi stare. Che pensamo V.P. non altro intendere che l’honore de Dio, et comune salute de fratelli: et che ben discutendo omne parte col divino lume elegerà il meglio. Quanto ad noi pare, che firmandose bene li predicti capituli, con bolla della sede apostolica, non ci sarria periculo essendomo noi in tanta quantità, et al stilo assueti. Per defecto de quali conditioni la nolla de papa Clemente non sortio effeto in fra Francesco de Iese,[217] et frate Illuminato. Oltra par che meglio soneria unione, che divisione. Oltra più consono alla regula haveromo uno generale. Oltra maiore speranza de multiplicarse li fratelli de bono spiritu, de quali multi si internino per che dubitano de la perseverantia nostra, stando questi dissidj fra noi et zocculanti, et le assidue reclamationi al summo pontifice. Multi anche per la taccia se impropera ad noi, che stiamo subto conventuali, lo che d’una parte appresso il vulgo ha mal sono, et da l’altra che li conventuali de noi niente se intromittano: et che noi habiamo erubescentia, et timiamo dishonore, et scandalo appresso secolari, et fratelli maxime juveni de havire alcuno commertio con epsi: et da essere di loro visitati, et andare alloro capituli ci genera alcuno stimulo, per lo tenore de la bolla de questa compagnia.[218]

Queste considerationi rivoltamo nell’animo nostro, tucta volta niente decernimo senza consulta de V.P.R., alla quale con multa fiducia committimo le anime nostre et supplichiamo habia bona sollicitudine, per che qua pende tucto il negocio. Non sto dubio che rcorrendo noi al Signore cum rectitudine de core, et bona fiducia, et ci farra certi del meglio, et robusti all’impresa, et victoriosi in la bactagla, et clari de corona: ita ergo triumphabimus, si orando certemus. Quod tui praecipue muneris est, qui Mosem agis. El che certo multo tucti noi relegra, sperando dovere bene essere ad questo piccolo grege subto la cura de V.P., et si allei pare grave fatiga, fazala ligera la charità de Christo, quae nomen difficultatis ignorat: item la expectata mercede, quae minuit vim laboris.

Dell’Abbatia adviso V.P. come scrivendo la presnte arrivò al loco nostro lo nostro padre Comissario frate Francesco Palamone,[219] lo quale era prima in lo loco de Rhegio, dove il quondam Vicario nostro fe il transito: padre certo devoto, de bono zelo, de bona reputatione et predicatore de mediocre doctrina, con la quale venimo in Milito a ciò meglio informati più resolutamente scrivissimo. V.P. saperà come da fore Milito più da un miglio havemo un lochetto, lo puù accomodato de tucti li altri di questa provincia.[220] Et in primis non porriano tenirisi da noi ambo doi lochi, per che in questa cita sonno pochissimi personi facoltosi, et mali usi a fare elemosina, onde prima non vi era altro che un loco de conventuali, et non trovavano pane da vivere: noi per alcuna devotiono vivemo ad sei, o vero octo frati, secundo la mensora de elemosine che loro fanno; che alcuna volta poco resta de epsa cita da questuarse per impire uno fiasco de vino, et trovare pani per doi jorni. Che pigliassimo adonque l’abbatia besogneria lasciar questo che al presente havemo, lo quale come ho dicto è accomodato de chiesa, dormitorio et tucte officine, aqua, horto, clausura, et remoto de habitatione, et in mezo circondato da la cita et ville, et omne cosa è al nostro modo, cio è devota et povera. L’Abbatia è intro la cita, conticua con un palazzo, dove adeso sta la Corte cum pir de 40 persone, donde è lo adito al dormitorio de frati, lo quale né di né nocte sta senza tumulto. Et poniamo che da inde se levasse la corte, non è verisimile che se havisse da tenire vacuo dicto palazo. Et si puro se tenisse, è da pensare che frequetissimamente si veniria ad allogiare ivi da gentilhomini et signori foristeri; non porriano ja occuparlo li frati per che sarria superfluo, et non sarriano stancie de cappucini. Appresso il dormitorio non tene forma ad noi congrua, per che è multo …[221], le celle grande, le fenestre longe forse da dece palmi et lati 4, et puro cose vecchie de tavole da mutarle, talmente che credo più spesa sarria guastare et acconciare che si da novo havesse da farse. Non ci è aqua, non horto, non altre officine, per che cocina et cannava sono ad uso del palazo. Le ecclesia è grandissima che ad tenirla monda sarria fatiga ad tucti dodeci frati che ivi stassiro, è piena de altari patronati che besogneria stare piu sacristani et havere continuo fastidio dali priti; sono sepoltore in grande multitudine et si mandano defuncti da quaranta miglia per una grande indulgentia che si dice essere in dicta ecclesia. Solise cantare le misse et la vespera, tene parrochiani et cappellani del che quantunque li frati non si impacciassero immediate, assai besogneria impacciarse in aprire, chiodre ecclesia, sacristia, sonare le campane et stare in contuni rumori. Oltra questo è ivi continua frequentia de secolari li quali stano in ragionamenti, et jochi, et solazi, multa vicinanza de donne, et facile ruina. Per queste et altre conditioni non è frate che se poza conhortare de pigliarse dicta Abbatia. Multi più presto lasseriano lo Capoccino che andare a stanciare in epsa, multi andando poco demoririno, finalmente nullo che ama il quieto et relligioso vivere, de tal loco se contenteria. Poi non poca nota quasi de infamia sarria ad noi del predicto loco, vedendose tanta dissonantia da quello al nostro stilo. Onde pregamo V.ra P.R. non pense de astringere noi all stantia del dicto loco, per che tanto mel convene ad noi, che pensamo non solamente V.P. et li altri fratelli sapendo le conditioni de quello, mai si conhorteriano de acceptarlo. Ma al al Sanctità de nostro Signore et al Palmerio havendo alcuna affectione et zelo in cose nostre per… non sarria ardire, né piacerè, ne grato invitarinci ad acceptarlo, imo ci dehorteriano. Et multo me meraviglio che persona abbia informato lo predicto che dicto loco habia alcuna aptitudine al nostro vivere. Ultra tucte dicte cose come porriamo lasciare questo loco dove dal principio questi uomini ci hanno chiamato, et si è stato è vissuto fino ad hogi. Pregamo adonque V.P.R. stia contenta de non indurre noi al stanciare de dicta batia, et de satisfare al Ultra che noi humilmente scrivendo et advisando de tante inconvenientie, et offerendoci in omne altro servitio ad sua S., come obligatissimi servolini, la supplicamo che de ciò ad noi dissonantissimo non ci aggravi.

Advisamo V.P. come questo anno sono morti in questo provincia sei frati, de quali doi erano predicatori, ciò è lo fra Bernardino et uno fra Joanne de Lipara. Et havemo perso frate Archangelo, loquale essendo stato multo tempo infirmo, finalmente casco in frenesia così grave, che dopo multi motivi se partio, et ja doi mesi sono che non tenimo nova che sia facto de lui. In questa provincia excepti pochi, quali dal principio ci redussimo da Zocculanti, tucti altri sono novi, et juveni, onde per questa necessità assai pregamo V.P. ci remande fra Francisco de Depiniano[222] nostro calabrese, et si con epso alcuno altro padre, ci sarra gratissimo. Da qua tucti ci recomemdamo et basamo flexis genibus le mano de V.P.R. et salutamo et recomendamo noi alle orationi sue, et di tucti fratelli, et offerimoci promptissimi ad omne servicio de tucti. Mileti, 15, Janurarii 1536.

De V.P.R. Humile et obediente figlolo Fra Ludovico da Rhegio

Appendix II:

Religionis zelus

Clement, Bishop,[223] Servant of the Servants of God, to His Beloved Sons, Louis and Raffael of Fossombrone, Professed Members of the Order of Friars Minor. Health and Apostolic Benediction.

Zeal for religion, uprightness of life and morals, as well as other praiseworthy motives of honesty and rewards of virtue, for which you have been recommended to us by testimony worthy of belief, induce Us, in as far as before God We are able, to accede favourably to your desires, especially those which concern the welfare of souls and the propagation of religion. For on your part, the petition lately presented to Us, states that in tie past you have been, by your own choice, led to serve the Most High; you have entered the Order of the so-called Friars Minor of the Observance; and having made profession, you remained in it for some time; and then , with the permission of your superior, according to the form of the Apostolic letters concerning unity, having brought about a complete settlement both among the aforesaid friars and the so-called Conventual Friars of the said Order, you have passed over to the community of these same Friars Conventual; and you were then received graciously by the Master Provincial of the said Friars Conventual of the Province of the Marches, and have been aggregated to their number as well as to the community of the Friars Conventual of the same Province. And finally, being solicitous for the salvation of your souls and for the glory of God and to lead an eremitical life, and in as far as human frailty permits you, to observe the Rule of the Blessed Francis, the aforementioned Master Provincial, conceding to your wishes, has granted you permission to approach the Roman Curia to petition and ask both from Us and the Apostolic See whatever might appear to Us beneficial for the welfare of your souls and for the glory of God. And besides, our beloved son, Andrew, Cardinal Priest of the title of Saint Prisca, Protector of the said Order, granted you a similar petition when you made it: so that one of your community, in your name or in the name of all of you, is bound to present himself each year, as a sign of subjection, to the Master Provincial himself, or the Chapter of the said Friars Conventual of the Province in which you dwell; and the same Master (accordingly as it seems fit to him) may visit you once a year and no oftener, and if he should find that you are not observing the aforesaid Rule, he must admonish you to its better observance, and he can command this with appropriate measures. Added to this, however, you may not move from place to place, nor may anything be demanded of you; but rather, you must strengthen and defend yourselves, so that you will be able to serve the Most High in holy things, as it is more fully detailed in previously given letters patent of the same Cardinal Protector and Master Provincial. Wherefore, in your behalf, it has been humbly asked that We grant permission to you to lead an eremitical life, and that We deign favourably to grant by our Apostolic Kindness those aforementioned things.

We, therefore, who desire the salvation of souls, absolve any of you from whatever excommunication, suspension, and interdict, as well as from other ecclesiastical sentences, censure and punishments, either a jure or ab homine, incurred, by reason of any fact or cause, if any exist in any way incurred, in as far as they have been incurred up to the present; and realising fully the aforementioned letters as well as all things contained therein, We yielding to these petitions, allow you by Apostolic authority, and in virtue of these presents, to live the eremitical life, according to the aforesaid Rule.

We allow you to wear the habit with the square capuche. We allow you to receive anyone into your community, both secular clerics and priests, as well as lay persons. We allow these as well as yourselves to wear the beard. We allow you to betake yourselves to hermitages or any such places, with the permission of the owners thereof, and to dwell there; we allow you to lead therein an austere and eremitical life, and to beg alms anywhere.

We grant both the faculty as well as the full and free permission to use, obtain, and enjoy freely such and every privilege, indult and grant of the same Order of Friars Minor, as well as those used, obtained, and enjoyed by the Camaldolese Hermit, B. Romuald, together with his Hermits, which have been granted up to the present, either in general of particular, or will be granted in the future, and which, in so far as they use and enjoy these and remain in tact, they may be used, obtained and freely enjoyed by you in the future.

And no less, we entrust by this Apostolic letter, according to you discretion, to any and each Archbishop, Bishop or Abbot, and to other persons constituted in the ecclesiastical dignity, as well as to the Canons of metropolitan or other cathedral churches, together with the Vicars of these same Archbishops, Bishops and Abbots, in spiritual matters, so that any one of them through themselves or others, should aid you or any one of you by guaranty of your protection; and he shall see to it that you, individually or collectively, shall peacefully enjoy and rejoice in each and every one of your aforementioned permissions, nor shall he permit any one of you to be hindered, impeded or disturbed in any way contrary to the tenor of these presents; and should there be any one who contradicts or resists, after having curbed these by whatever censures, punishments and legal preventives please him, and to this purpose, if need be, he may call upon the help of the secular arm.

Notwithstanding the Constitution of our Predecessor of happy memory, Pope Boniface VIII, and notwithstanding the one published by the General Council in two sessions, and notwithstanding the other Constitutions and Apostolic Ordinances as well as the Statutes and Customs of the said Order, ratified by oath, by Apostolic confirmation or by any other approval, and notwithstanding privileges and indults and Apostolic Letters, given by any one of our Predecessors, the Roman Pontiffs, or by Us, or by the aforementioned See, even with the force of general law or permanent decree, or motu proprio, and with full knowledge, and from the fullness of Apostolic power, and with whatever clauses, whether validating or invalidating, annulling, voiding, revoking, preserving, restricting, restoring, declaring, mensis attenstativis, ac derogatoriarum derogatorii, or other more efficacious or most efficacious or unusual clauses, remaining in force in any way whatever, even if granted, confirmed and renewed many times. Notwithstanding all these things, even though in their adequate revocation a special, individual, and word for word mention must be made of them and all their tenors, not however by general phrases implying the same, or if any other expression would have to be made, of if a prescribed form would have to be observed, and even though it would me mentioned in them expressly that they could be no means be revoked. We knowingly, specially and expressly revoke their tenor, expressing them sufficiently and inserting them word for word by these presents; and we revoke the styles and forms to be observed in an individual case, in this one instance at least, while all other things others remain in force, all other things to the contrary notwithstanding, Let no man, therefore, by any means tamper with this writing of our absolution, concession, command and revocation, nor dare temerariously to contradict it, If anyone shall presume to attempt this let him know that he shall incur the anger of Almighty God, of His blessed Apostles, Peter and Paul.

Given at Viterbo in the one thousand five hundred and twenty-eighth year of Our Lord’s Incarnation, on the third of July, in the fifth year of our Pontificate.


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Paulus a Foligno, Origo et Progresso Ordinis fratrum Minorum Capuccinorum, Monumenta Historica Ordinis Minorum Capuccinorum VII, edidit Melchior a Pobladura, MHOMC VII, Romae, 1955

Pietro Luzi, Camilla Battista da Varano. Una spiritualità fra Papa Borgia e Lutero, Piero Gribaudi Editore, Torino, 1989

Pietro Tacchi Venturi, “Vittoria Colonna e la riforma Cappuccina” in Collectanea Franciscana 1(1931)28-58

Pietro Tacchi Venturi, Storia della Compagnia di Gesù in Italia. Narrato col sussidio di fonti inedite, volume primo, parte seconda: Documenti, 2° ediz., Roma, Civiltà Cattolica, 1931

Renato Lupi, “Catharina Cybo, ‘mamma’ dei Scapuzzini,” in L’Italia Francescana 77(2002) 31-43

Roberto Cuvato, Mattia Bellintani da Salò (1534-1611): un Cappuccino tra il pulpito e la strada, Rome, 1999

Théobaldus de Courtomer, Le révérendissime Pere Édouard d’Alençon, ex définiteur général des Frères Mineurs Capucins, Paris, Librairie Saint François, 1929.

Thomas Frenz, I documenti pontifici nel medioevo e nell’età moderna, edizione italiana a cura di Sergio Pagano, Scuola Vaticana di paleografia, Diplomatica e Archivistica, Città del Vaticano, 1989

Vincentius Schweitzer (collegit edidit illustravit), Concilii Tridentini Tractatuum pars prima complectans tractatus a Leonis X temporibus usque ad translationem Concilii conscriptos (Concilium Tridentinum, tomus duodecimus, tractatuum pars prior, Societas Goerresiana), Friburgi Brisgoviae, Herder, MCMXXX

  1. Original title: Eduardus Alenconiensis, Tribulationes Ordinis Fratrum Miroum Capuccinorum primis annis Pontificatus Pauli III (1534-1541). Haec Brevis Illustratio Monumentorum, editorum vel ineditorum, quae ad dicti Ordinis historiam spectant, correcta et ampliata secundo prodit, cura P. Eduardi Alenconiensis, Romae, Apud Curiam Generalitiam O.M.Cap., 1914
  2. De Primordiis Ordinis Minorum Fratrum Minorum Capuccinorum 1525-1534, 1921, pages 90-227 above.
  3. Spiritu sancto inflammati, ut beati Francisci aluni et veri filii, Regulam ipsam B. Patris pure et plene, juxta ejus litteram, et declarationem b.m. Nicolai III, ac Clementis V firmiter observare (affectabant.) These are words of Clement VII in the Bull In suprema militantis ecclesiae (16 November 1532), to which our discussion will return.
  4. Wadding, Annales Minorum 2°edition, vol. xvi, an.1532, xxi. They should not be separated from Stefano Moline who was the founder of the Reformed friars in the Roman Province (Annales Minorum an. 1579, cxvii+ and volume xxi, p.220); and Francesco Tornielli da Novaria, who established reformed friars in Milan (Annales Minorum an.1588, li+, volume xxii, p.205).
  5. Wadding, Annales Minorum an. 1532, xxii.
  6. Edouard d’Alençon, Gian Pietro Carafa e la riforma nell’Ordine dei Minori dell’Osservanza, Foligno, 1912, page 35 [BCC:opusc-46-42]; page 55 above .
  7. Giovanni da Fano was the first Custos of the Reformed Friars of the province of the Marches (1533). Alessio d’Arquata, Cronaca della Riformata provincia de’ Minori nella Marca, Cingoli, 1893, page 22. He clearly expressed his desire for the reform of the Religion in the work he wrote on the occasion of the departure of Matteo da Bascio and the Fossombrone brothers: Dialogo della salute tra el frate stimulato et el frate rationabile circa la regula de li frati Minori, Ancona, 1527. [BCC:25-N-33,A] and Costanzo Cargnoni, I Frati Cappuccini II, 41-69, [BCC:023-E-38]. D’Alençon withdraws this opinion in De Primordiis, page 225, above.
  8. Even though these are the words of Wadding Annales Minorum an 1530, xv they correspond more with these friars than the earlier ones regarding the number who crossed over.
  9. “ad Fratres Capucciatos se nuncupantes.”
  10. Cum sicut accepimus, Wadding Annales Minorum an. 1534, lxxv; Bullarium Ordinis Minorum Capuccinorum I, [BCC:12 023-D-1].
  11. I am unaware of the occasion but Vittoria Colonna mentions this protection in her prolix writing in defence of the Capuchins, which was known under the title of the letter to Cardinal Contarini in Vittoria Colonna Marchesa di Pescara. Carteggio raccolto e pubblicato da E.Ferrero and G. Müller, Turino, Loescher, 1892, page 119. [BCC:64-D-24]. This particular letter has been published several times: Bartolommeo Fontana, “Documenti Vaticani di Vittoria Colonna Marchesa di Pescara. Per la difesa dei Cappuccini” in Rivista Società Romana di storia patria, 1886, 16-25; Pietro Tacchi Venturi, “Vittoria Colonna e la riforma cappuccina” in Collectanea Franciscana 1(1931) 44-53 also “Vittoria Colonna Fautrice della riforma Cattolica” in Studi e documenti di storia e diritto 22(1901) 178-179; Benedetto d’Alatri, “Vigorosa apologia. Letter di Vittoria Colonna al Card. Contarini” in L’Italia Francescana 22(1947)107-112; Costanzo Cargnoni, I Frati Cappuccini II, 216-227.
  12. In Wadding the word initio is substituted by an ellipsis (…)
  13. Wadding, Annales Minorum 1534, lxxvi; Bullarium O.M. Cap., I, 12; Vatican Archives, Minute dei Brevi di Paolo III, Arm.xl, vol.49, fol.348, eP. 424. At the bottom of the writing one reads, “Videtur concedendum L. Card. Campegi.– F.Car.lis S †, protector.” The Cardinal of Santa Croce was Francesco de Angelis Quiñones, who had been Minister general. Costanzo Cargnoni, I Frati Cappuccini V,713 dates this 18 December 1534.
  14. The original Brief is kept in our Archives with two authenticated copies, copied on 14 January by order of Giovanni Domenico, the bishop of Ostia, usually called the Cardinal of Trani. For the first time the name of the Cardinal of Trani or Giovanni Domenico de Cupis appears, whom we shall see again as benevolent to our friars. — Boverius, Annalium, Regestum Bullarium I, page 993; Wadding, Annales Minorum an. 1535, xxxiv; Bullarium O.M.Cap., I, 13.
  15. “…ut felici directioni ipsius Ordinis, ac, si opus fuerit, reformationi melius intendi possit.” Nuper cupientes 11 August 1533; Wadding, Annales Minorum an.1533, ix.
  16. Cum sicut, 10 May 1534, Wadding, Annales Minorum an.1534, xii.
  17. Wadding, Annales Minorum an.1535, xxxi+.
  18. Pastoralis officii, Wadding an.1535, xxxv; Bullarium O.M.Cap., I, 14. At the foot of the original text in the Vatican Archives, Minute dei Brevi di Paolo III, Arm.XL, vol.52, fo.344, ep.340, one reads: “Videtur concedenda.Her.Car.lis Mantuanus, vice protector” (i.e. Girolamo Gonzaga).– “Videtur concedenda. L. Card. Campegi. – Praesupposita voluntate S.mi D.N. forma videatur bona. Hie.Car.lis Ghinucci.” Latin and Italian text to be found in Costanzo Cargnoni, I Frati Cappuccini I, 70-74, based on a copy in the Capuchin general archive. Also in d’Alecçon, De primordiis, 116-117, and Wadding, Annales Minorum vol. xvi, 794-796, with differences to Annales text above.
  19. See my other work Gian Pietro Carafa, page above paragraph 6.
  20. Dudum postquam. The original Brief is kept in the Archives of the Order with three copies confirmed by the authority of Cardinal Nicola de Gaddis. Cf- Boverius, Annalium I, 995; Wadding, Annales Minorum tom.xvi, page 399; Bullarium O.M.Cap., I, 15.
  21. Cf. Bernardino Feliciangeli, Notizie e documenti sulla vita di Caterina Cibo-Varano, Duchessa di Camerino, Camerino, 1891, p.188+.
  22. Alfredo Reumont, Vittoria Colonna Marchesa di Pescara vita, fede e poesia nel secolo decimosesto, Torino, Loescher,1892, page 108. [BCC:72-C-21]
  23. Vittoria Colonna Carteggio, letter liii page 81 “da Orvieto, a dì primo di agosto.” From the 5 May until this point she was in Ischia where we find her again on 24 October. See letter li, page 77 and letter liv, page 82.
  24. I said “contemporary witness,” for I do not dare lend complete trust to those who wrote about our matters and who involve Vittoria in everything happening at the time. Therefore I do not reject the things they narrate as false, but I omit them as doubtful, until a witness is discovered who may confirm the words of our writers. In fact they wrote after half century had already lapsed since those events they narrate.
  25. It is commonly said that this happened in 1530. Colpetrazzo writes that the first friar sent there was Ludovico da Capranica and the name Ludovico was probably the reason why this foundation was attributed to Ludovico da Reggio who, although incorporated to the new family by Ludovico da Fossombrone, had not yet taken up the Capuchin habit. – On the Venerable Servant of God Maria Lorenza Longo many have written many things. However a genuine and reliable history about her has not yet been written. The first certain document pertaining to her hitherto published is a certain promise discovered among the documents of the notary Cesare Malfitano. It was made on 18 January 1515, in the presence of the said Notary, between the lady Maria Lorenza Lungo, widow, residing in Naples, on the one hand; on the other was the lord Geraldo Omes of Spain and lady Speranza Longa his wife, and her daughter Maria (Protocol 1514-1515 of the notary Cesare Malfitano, sheet 102.) G. Filangieri, Documenti per la storia, le arti e le industrie delle Provincie Napolitane, Napoli, 1885, vol. III, page 37, note (a). Cf. Edouard d’Alençon, La Venerabile Serva di Dio Maria Lorenza Longo, Napoli, 1886. [BCC:opusc-66-3].
  26. “Per quanto ha inteso, come ratorni nel Regno, disegna sequestrarsi dal mondo et mettersi in un certo monastero erecto per una Signora Longa, donna di santissima vita.” Agostino Gonzaga wrote this in Rome on 12 March 1535 to Isabella d’Este, the Marchioness of Mantova, a few days after Vittoria’s arrival in Rome. A.Luzio, “Vittoria Colonna” in Rivista storica mantovana, Mantova, (1885) 26. Vittoria Colonna had already known Maria Lorenza a long time, because before the Venerable Servant of God entered the Monastery, she had erected in Naples a Hospital for the sick poor and Incurable of Santa Maria del Popolo (1522). Its first Governor had been the Viceroy and some other magnates were governors with him. One of those was Vittoria’s husband, the Marquis of Pescara, Francesco Ferdinando de Avalos. Teresa Filangieri Ravaschieri Fieschi, Storia della Carità Napoletano, vol. I, Naples, 1875, page 223: “Dai manoscritti giurisdizionali del Chiocarelli, Quint: delli Confrati del Ven. OsP. Di S. Maria del Popolo ordinato nell’anno 1559.” [BCC:79-D-12]
  27. “Cum Monasterium monalium…per te fundatum fuerit, et usque hactenus per Fratres Ordinis S. Francisci Capuccinos nuncupatos visitatum, et tua et Monialum in eo degentium Confessiones auditae…” Paul III, 10 December 1538, Bullarium O.M.Cap., III, 9.
  28. The author’s chronology for Vittoria Colonna for 1535 corresponds with the chronological sequence of her letters recorded in Vittoria Colonna Marchesa di Pescara. Carteggio, 385, the editors of which name this town “Civita Latina,” (taken from A.Luzio, “Vittoria Colonna” in Rivista storica mantovana) and the same error is taken up by d’Alençon. Marcantonio Colonna, son of Ascanio Colonna and Giovanna d’Aragonna, was born 26 February 1535 in Civita Lavinia. See Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani, Roma 1982, vol.xxvii, 371. Marius da Mercato Saraceno will name Giovanna as source witness for narration of events concerning Vittoria Colonna and Bernardino Ochino (Momumenta Historica Ordinis Minorum Capuccinorum I, 400). She would also have been familiar with some events relating to her husband Ascanio and the Capuchins, as well as Ludovico da Fossombrone in the intrigues prior to the Chapter of 1535 (MHOMC I, 405). See paragraph n.4 below.
  29. See the letter of Augostino Gonzaga just cited (note 2 above); G. Belluzzi (called the Sammarino), Diario autobiografico edito da P. Egidio, Napoli, 1907, page 37.
  30. Agostino Gonzaga, oP. cit.; Belluzzi, Diario, 39. The first (Gonzaga) wrote, “Queste due mattine (la Signora di Pescara) è stato alla predica in Lorenzo in Damaso, over è uno excellentissimo predicatore de l’ordine di quelli Capuccini di Francesco chiamato fra Bernardino da Siena, homo si santissima vita et molto dotto. Le prediche sue sono tutte sopra la dechiaratione de li evangelii, né attendono ad altro che a insegnare come se habbi da caminare per la via del Paradiso; ha un fervor mirabile, accompagnato cum una voce perfettissima. Reprende eccellentissimamente como si deve, nè guarda di dir tutto quello che sente ch’abbi ad essere per la salute de chi l’ode, e tocha principalmente li Capi, di modo che vi convorre tutta Roma. Il de Medici non ne lassa predica, et molti altri de questi R.mi che solevano andar a Agostino se sono redutti qui, talchè non è mai giorno che non habbi una bona parte del Collegio.” The second author (Belluzzi) reports how he went each day with Ascanio Colonna, for whom he served, to the church of San Lorenzo during Holy Week “dove predicava uno frate schapucino de santo Francesco che aveva gran concorso de cardinali et signori.” On Holy Thursday twelve Cardinals were present, “fu a questa predicha 8 cardinalli schoperti et quatro travestiti.”
  31. One of our earliest writers indicates that Vittoria had participated in Ochino’s decision when he joined the family of Capuchins. One particular day she said to him, “Padre mio, hore che siete frate Capuccino, non trovate voi, anzi non toccate con mano esser vero quello che già vi dissi, avanti che vi spogliaste i primi panni e vestite questi, che ne’ Capuccini s’osservava a pieno la Regola di S. Francesco?” Marius da Mercato Saraceno in the manuscript Chronicles in the codex from our Archives in Venice, f.205. This could have happened –Bernardino had become a famous preacher, not from the day he donned the Capuchin habit. During Lent of 1532 he had to preach at Verona where Gian Matteo Giberti was bishop at the time, a close acquaintance of the Marchioness for a long time. Perhaps she had already heard of him or heard him preach. D’Alençon, Gian Pietro Carafa, 23.
  32. It appears that the Marchioness responded to this gossip in a letter the following year. She writes, “Nè è da credere che per una ambitione di non havere un officio (come dicano) vadino ad perdere per sempre ogni grandezza di officio et di ambitione.” Vittoria Colonna Carteggio, 118. After Ochino’s fall Mutzio Iustipolitano said openly, “Di qua non ci mancano di quegli, che vanno publicando, che voi de’ Zoccolanti usciste, percioche non foste fatto Generale.” Le mentite Ochiniane, Gabriel Giolito de’ Ferrari, 1551, f.17 [BCC:30-K-7]. On Ochino’s part in the deposition of Paolo da Parma, see d’Alençon, Gian Pietro Carafa, 36+; page 57+ above.
  33. A.Luzio, “Vittoria Colonna” in Rivista storica mantovana, 20. Among the letters of Vittoria Colonna there are two letters dated “Da Civita Latina” on 15 and 20 April. Another is dated “Da Genazano” 1 June. On the preaching of Ochino in the church of San Pio, cf. Belluzzi, Diario autobiografico edito, 46. The foundation of the friary of San Pio at Genezzano, previously called Santa Maria del Campo, is reported by Wadding, Annales Minorum an.1459, xxxix.
  34. Boverius, Annalium an. 1535, xiii.
  35. Treatise by Nicola Catalano da Santo Mauro, Fiume del Terrestre Paradiso, Firenze, 1652, page 6. [BCC:58-N-11]. In fact P. Giacomo Ferduzio of Ancona was elected in 1534 and visited the friars of his Order in Gaul. Francesco Antonio Benoffi, Compendio di storia minoritica, Pesaro 1829, page 249. Some consider this letter to be false. Since the author includes many other things in the same pages that are genuine, although the letter was unknown to our writers, we do not see why he would have invented such a letter. However the signature on the letter seems ambiguous.
  36. Manuscript Chronicle in the Archives of the Order, p.456. (MHOMC II, 383). This writer, like Marius da Mercato Saraceno, assigns the feast of Pentecost of the following year 1536 for the assembly. However it had been celebrated in November 1535, as is clear from the Letter of Paul III, Cum sicut, 29 April 1536, about which a word will be addressed later.
  37. “Brevis illustratio monumentorum quae ad historiam nostri Ordinis spectant, primis annis Pontificatus Pauli III” in Analecta OFM Cap 29 (1913)188, 220.
  38. “Ludovicus igitur, audito Pontificis mandato, protinus missis ad omnes Congregationis provincias litteris, generale capitulum hoc anno Romae circa mensis novembris exordium indicit: quo et Bernardinum Astensem et Joannem a Fano, et quotquot ex illustrioribus Patribus varia in loca profecti fuerant, necnon Ludovicum Rheginum et Bernardinum Goergium e Calabria, convenire jubet.” Boverius, Annalium an.1535, xviii.
  39. For example, in 1537 the province of Tuscany is led by a Commissary, namely P. Francesco d’Iesi, who as such on 30 July signed the document of erection of the friary in Siena. Cf. Sisto da Pisa, Storia dei Cappuccini Toscani, Firenze, Tipografia Barbéra 1906, vol.I, page 51, note 7 [BCC:24-N-17]; Analecta OFM Cap 19(1903) 91.
  40. “Dato fine a quel Capitolo, rimanendo col P. Generale e Padri Diffinitori alcuni buoni, prudenti e letterati Padri fecero le Costitutioni nostre,” Marius da Mercato Saraceno, f.217v (MHOMC I, 418.) “In questo Capitolo furono fatte le Costitutioni et altre belle ordinationi,” Bernardino da Colpetrazzo, p.454 [ MHOMC II, 381]. “Stesero et ampliarono le Costitutioni già fatte nel primo Capitolo d’Albacina, et regolarono le cose, le quali insino all’hora non si erano potuto regolare … Si distinsero in questo Capitolo le Provincie, si elessero i provinciali ed i Custodi, et alla Congregatione forma si diede d’ordinata religione,” Mattia da Salò, II, f.4 [MHOMC VI, 9…10.]
  41. Of course, the Capuchin Constitutions of 1536 have been published several time, and translated into English.
  42. “Vobis, ut Capitulum ipsius vestrae Congregationis singulis annis celebrare possitis, sed tamen quod Vicarius ejusdem Congregationis ultra triennium in officio Vicariatus hujusmodi permanere non possit indulgemus.” One may read this in the minute of the Brief of 29 April 1536, about which more will be said below. That statute about an annual chapter was aborgated by Bull on 25 August the same year, which mentions only a triennial chapter.
  43. “Si esorta ciascun Frate, sicome fu volontà del nostro Padre, à portar sempre debita riverenza a tutti li sacerdoti, et obedire con ogni humiltà et soggettione al Sommo Pontefice, Supremo Padre di tutti i Christiani, et à tutti gli altri Catholici Prelati: anzi ad ogni creatura.” In the following edition of the Constitutions (1609) nothing in addition is read regarding subjection to Prelates.
  44. This letter, which Bartolommeo Fontana found in the Vatican Archives, (Concilio di Trento, vol. 37), is believed to be very important. Vittoria Colonna addressed the letter to a number of Cardinals, but this is considered the copy that she sent to Cardinal Contarini. She overlooked including the date. Nonetheless the letter was written this year between the months of May and August, as I intend to demonstrate. Fontana published the letter in Archivio della R. Società Romana di Storia patria, 9(1886) and in a separate work Documenti Vaticani di Vittoria Colonna Marchesa di Pescara per la difesa dei Cappuccini, pages 16-25. [BCC:24-N-14,A] It was then reproduced in Vittoria Colonna Carteggio, 110-122. The letter has also been published by Pietro Tacchi Venturi, “Vittoria Colonna e la riforma cappuccina,” 44-53; Benedetto d’Alatri, “Vigorosa apologia. Lettera di Vittoria Colonna al Card. Contarini” in L’Italia Francescana 22(1947) 107-112; Costanzo Cargnoni, I Frati Cappuccini II, 216-227
  45. “Molte cose m’han dicto che l’oppongano…Che se son subgiugati alli ordinarj delle terre.”– “Al secondo de subgiucarse alli ordinarj, se responde: che non se fè mai più humile et più christiana opera di questa, che anchor bastasse dire: che chi biasma questa ordinatione viene contra la mente di San Francesco, il qual ad suo tempo puose questo medesmo in observantia; et perhò epsi, come quellj, che non mirano in altro che redurse alla purità de la regola et mera intention del suo autore, non in li cantonj privatamente, ma nel Capitolo publico ultimamente da lor celebrato, hanno non innovato questo articolo, ma, essendo stato corropto da altrj, ristauratolo et reductolo a la prima observantia. Chè sottoponendose primo alla Sanctità di Nostro Signor, come ad capo, se vogliono stare alla obedientia de li prelatj, lo fanno come ad membri di tal capo; et è molta più humilità et devotione di colloro che amano, et observano, et vogliono esser sottoposti al capo con tutte le membra, che di colloro che vogliano, et dicano altrimente, vedendose maxime lo scandalo che segue, et de la ruina delle anime da questa dissentione et altercatione, che seguita tutto il giorno ne le città et diocesi.” Bartolommeo Fontana, Documenti Vaticani di Vittoria Colonna, 18; Vittoria Colonna Carteggio, 112.
  46. Constitutiones Fr. Min. Capuccinorum,§3. In the letter cited, the Marchioness of Pescara writes, “Acceptano tutte quelle scripture che li ponno stringere al’observantia della loro Regola; et quelle, che in alcun modo la allargano, tutte l’han renunciate et renunciano.” Fontana, Documenti Vaticani di Vittoria Colonna, 19; Vittoria Colonna Carteggio, 114.
  47. “Rtirovandosi fra Giovanni nel 1536 in Roma, quando furono composte le prime Constitutioni, egli ci fece scrivere: che dar dovessero i capuccini à poveri tutto quello ch’avanzava alla mensa, perchè così usavano i scalzi di Spagna.” From the manuscript codex in the Archives of the Order, p.1099. MHOMC III, 428.
  48. That place is not better identified by our early writers. P. Giuseppe da Monterotondo adds in Gl’inizi dell’Ordine Cappuccino e della Provincia Romana, Roma, 1910, page 45, “nella chiesetta di S. Tommaso in Formis sul Celio.”
  49. Marius and Colpetrazzo agree in saying, “per sollenità della Pentecoste.” Boverius, however, who put the chapter at its time, which we say anticipates the second convocation to the beginning of the month of April 1536. However the time for the celebration of this Chapter will be investigated in a more developed way in the next chapter.
  50. “ Monsignor mio,Li mei peccati vogliono che mai se favori fra Lodovico quando operava bene. Hor che vol ruinar questa congregation lo favoriscano, con una impia pietà e maligna carità. Suplico V.S. faccia quello che al nostro Palmier suplico, et veda la sua: e certo è strana cosa che havendo Sua Santità ottima voluntà verso me, et il Palmieri favorirme, et V.S. per grandissimo amico, ce siano tante dificultà al ben de cinquecneto anime, per detenerne un solo, et volere tanti affanni et tante lite: et certo io sto stordita in Roma, chè in Napoli non me bisognaria provar non esser impia, né cruda, né pazza, e a V.S. infinitissime volte me recomando.Al servitio de V.S. R.maLa de Pescara.(On the outside): Al R.o et mio singularissimo m. Ambrosio Secretario de Sua Santità”Cf. the learned work of of Pietro Tacchi Venturi, “Vittoria Colonna. Fautrice della Riforma Cattolica” in Studi e documenti di storia e diritto, 22(1901)149-179, page 174. Because of these final words “chè in Napoli” I believe that this letter was written before the end of February 1536 because they say Vittoria came to this city about that time and was present when, on 29 February, Alexander de Medici married Margaret of Austria. Amalia Giordano, La dimora di Vittoria Colonna a Napoli, Napoli, 1906, page 151.
  51. The parts omitted by d’Alençon are included in [brackets] as found in Costanzo Cargnoni, I Frati Cappuccini I, 75-79 based on three authenticated transcriptions 6 May 1536, 22 September 1537 and 27 May 1538; Boverius, Annalium I, 212-214, 986-987; Bullarium O.M.Cap., I, 16+.
  52. Cf Bullarium O.M.Cap., I, 16. The original Brief is not found in the Archives of the Order but three authenticated transcriptions on parchment, with a fourth on silk paper. The first writing or minute is kept in the Vatican Archives, Arm.xli, vol.2, Minute dei Brevi di Paolo III, eP. 280, f.263. At the bottom of the page one reads, “Forma videtur bona. Hie. Car. Ghi(nuccius). Blos.”
  53. Actually, the second set of italicised text, where I have divided the letter to begin the second paragraph.
  54. “We therefore … having inclined to the supplications in the tenor of the present letter, approve and confirm by Apostolic Authority, the personal election of the said Bernardino, as reported earlier to have taken place. Similarly the letter of Clement (our) predecessor as such, regarding the exercise of the such an office of Vicar , in the same way would heve been directed to the aforesaid Bernardino, we decree must be elected: more precisely…”
  55. I will say something about the letter of the Emperor and his intervention later.
  56. In a certain letter, without a date, to the secretary of Paul III, Ambrogio Recalcati, written nevertheless before the end of June, Vittoria said:“Parlai con Trani per seguir el parer de V.S. et credo che farria ogni bene perchè cognosce el fra Lodovico esser un seditioso pieno de mille insidie e sedutto da Santa Croce et da molti alla ruina de questa povera congregatione. Ma perchè madonna Felice gliel recomanda molto, temo che mostri ver lui una carità crudelissima perchè verria in danno de molti. Ch’l medesmo Trani a viste cose stranissime che lui machinava: puro, havendo trovata Sua Santità tanto benigna che più non potria dirse, me par ce fidamo de Trani, perchè, se manca, la Sua Santità lo remediarà, et vede tutta pia la intention mia et del vicario: si che la S.V. potrà farme gratia mandar a dire a Sua Santità che quel moto proprio justissimo che li detti sia servita soprasederlo: perchè Trani faccia bene, che la Sua Santità se degni dirli che per ben de questa congregation releghi costui lontano de Roma et che se stia li senza poter nè ordir, nè tessere con un compagno solo sin al capitulo et, a pena de scomunica, non parta et se intenda starvi a obedientia del vicario: et V.S. ancora ne astrenga assai Monsignor de Trani non mostrando naschi da me che diffidi de lui in cosa si justa. Et per certo fu stranio che sua S.ria aceptasse ditta appellatione; chè sì prova chiaro frati non appellano mai; nè bisogna più far generali, se frati per correttione appellano a cardinali et questo lo ha fatto contra el breve del papa… Monsignor de Trani dice volerlo religar et troncarli ogni ala e ogni modo da machinar: ma per madonna Felice temo, onde bisogna firmar ben con lui che lo faccia; perché tale è la necessità et la voluntà del papa, ancor el justo fosse darlo al suo vicario.” From Pietro Tacchi Venturi, “Vittoria Colonna e la riforma cappuccina,” 28. Also published by the same author in “Vittoria Colonna. Fautrice della Riforma Cattolica,” 174-175.
  57. “A la et S.ra mia la S.ra Duchessa de Urbino.Illustrissima Signora mia.[Perchè ogni dì parlamo lo imbasciator et io delli affanni de quella fortunata signora, me ne remetto a lui circa lo advisarne Vostra Signoria; la qual, como per una altra mia haverà inteso, stia sicurissima che mai da lei ce è stato un defetto al mondo, anzi summa descretione et patientia. Signora mia, il li mando ogi un mio a parlare e sapere se a lei pare, senza altra licentia del marito, venirsene a Sora, el che io iudicaria per ogni respecto bene, et pigliare questa colpa sopra di me, d’esserne stato cagione. Se in questo mezzo vien la voluntà del marito procurata dal signor Ascanio, al qual lo ho collecitato per doi staffette che andavano, bene; se no et ne avenga el contrario, ce attaccarimo sopra lo haver dito de sì la Duchessa da Tagliacozzo e il signor Ascanio. E como è lì, se portà far ogni cosa meglio; pure intenderò la voluntà sua de lei stessa. Et prima se li piacerà et vederò quello responde Vostra Signoria et così farrò. Signor mia, se pur quelli replicassero a non voler che la venga in Sora, tanto potrà tardar, quanto io vo ad Arpino, che serrà fra XX dì; che allora io la farò venir in ogni modo, che ce andarò a posta. Et à bene non pubblicare niente, chè non vorria sella conducesero altrove, chè questa gente è tale, che mai Vostra Signoria con la sua nomtà el potria credere. La S.V. tenga per certo che ne ho l’ansia, che pò haver lei, et spero la sua bontà la farrà vincer tante dificultà, che in sì tenera età se gli para dinanzi.] Suplico V.S. me faccia gratia mandar subito le alligate al loco de’ capuccini de Fossombrone, chè questa povera congregation ha hauta una gran persecutione adesso et che vedendo Santa Croce (che la ha presa in odio perchè scopre troppo i difetti de quelli de i zoccoli non poter per via del Imperatore offenderla, qual da Napoli scrisse al Papa contra de lei, et poi intesa la verità cella ha raccomandata, ha preso expediente de turbarla, et mosso un fra Lodovico, che ha un cervello balzano, e reduttolo a mille inconvenienti, che in capitulo se voleva uscir con quanti posseva, et fece la alligata patente contra ogni convenientia: chè merita ogni male chi dice difetti veri, quanto più i falsi, ulra infiniti altri errori. Dio li ha remediati, ma puro ha hauto tanto favor da Santa Croce che non se è fatto quel che convenica, onde bisogna refaccian Capitulo per levarli le gratie li haveva concesse, sperando le usassi in bene, chè mai potria dirse quanto errore ha fatto a metter a disputa così puro oro, como è questa congregation; che, creda V.S., da lui in poi vivon tutti como nella primitiva Chiesa. Se appillò al cardinal de Trani, perchè non volea obedire, dicendo che ‘l vicario nol lo pò comandare, non condierando che quel frate che appela è scomunicato, e che tuttochè li habia fatto ogni favor possibile, pur lo ha cacciato de Roma. Dice andarà a Fossombrone a inquietar il V.S.; me creda, che heri me son comunicata, che costui è apto a ruinarla, et si mostra humil, ma molto grasso. Se pur venisse a V.S., de gratia per humiliarlo un poco, mostrili che fa grande errore a non voler star in obedientia, che ce stette San Francesco; che ‘l Vicario li fa partito che stia dove li piace, purchè io non penso se non al ben comune. Et così anco prego V.S. faccia dire a quei frati che non li credano cose che dica, che in Capitulo sapranno la verità et vedranno le scritture. El povero fra Belardino ha voluto morir delle insolentie de costui; ma Dio voleva purgar questa cosa e publicar questi occulti veneni, che a poco a poco la haveria redutta alla obedientia de’zoccoli; che como fosse, li serria ruinata como tante altre reforme fatte fra loro, tutte già guaste. Questa sola se preserva, perchè con licentia del Papa se io haverò mai gratia a Santa Maria de Loreto, over spero andar presto, de parlar a V.S., saperà con quanto ordine de Dio se governa questa povera reforma perseguitata da tutti li homini troppo mondani; et quanto, Dio perdone, ha fatto mal questo fra Ludovico per istigatione de che la vorria guastare; ma si Deus est nobiscum, quis contra nos? Da Roma, a dì xxvii de giugno.” Vittoria Colonna Carteggio, 106. Alençon omits the section found above in the square brackets.
  58. The original Brief is the Archives of the Order. It was published by Boverius, Annalium an. 1536, xvi and in the Bullarium O.M.Cap., I, 21. My account has been taken verbatim entirely from the early text of th.e Bull in the Vatican Archives, Minute dei Brevi di Paolo III, Arm.xl,vol. 4, eP. 206, f.201. At the foot of the page one reads, “Videtur posse concedi. Hie. Car. Ghinucci.” On the back, “Car. Ghin. Dicens posse concedi, et Car. Palmerius dicitur fecisse verbum Sanctitati Vestrae.”
  59. Between the years of 1531 and 1534, Caterina Cybo used a certain Filippo Castagna whom she sent to Naples to attend to her affairs. Cf. Mon. Rovereschi in Biblioteca Oliveriana, Pisauri, vol.14, Archivio di Urbino filza 266, cl.I.div.G, ff-69+ in the National Archives of Florence. From the very kind communication of Professor Bernardino Felicangeli, author of the praiseworhty work, Notizie e documenti sulla vita di Caterina Cibo-Varano, Camerino, 1891.
  60. “Hor che maraveglia è che San Francesco vogli che doi volti se siano reformati li soi, l’una prima mediocremente, quest’altra perfettamente, et che ‘l suo sancto habito, la sua evangelica regola sine glosa se observi ad tempi nostri, et che ne abbia exclusa ogni prosumptione di fundatore e di frasche. Che benchè fusse un fra Matteo sanctissimo huomo, che cominciò questa reforma, il quale vive hogge et sta fra questi patri, et curando di ambitione, andava praedicando quando se fece la bolla de la sancta memoria di Clemente, pur dico che San Francesco è il fundator lui.” Vittoria Colonna Carteggio, 117.
  61. “Uscito fuor di noi per vivere li bisognava guadagnarsi il pane co’l fare del sapone, a tanta miseria egli era venuto.” Chron. ms., f.218. MHOMC I, 419. D’Alençon’s words here are: Marius …scribit eum in tantam penuriam incidisse, ut panem arte manuali quaereret.”
  62. “Se ne stette il povero padre hor là, hor aquà, sempre pero diede buono esempio.” Chron. ms., f.472. MHOMC II, 395.
  63. A few lines below the previous reference, Bernardino da Colpetrazzo says that Eusebio d’Ancona, as Vicar General, sent him to find Ludovico at Perugia to ask him to return to the Congregation. MHOMC II, 395-396.
  64. “Stette poi un tempo in Perugia, con dui nobili et exxemplari sacerdoti, M. Bin Pantani, et M. Mario Baldeschi, i quali han fatto in quella città di molto frutto.” Chron. ms., II, f.6v. MHOMC VI,16.
  65. Michelangelo Jacobilli was one of those devout men who in 1541, with the encouragement of Pietro da Amatrice, the general of the Observant Friars, founded the Society of Saint Jerome. He died on 4 December 1590. He took Marius and his companion to the church of this society to rest a while. Cf. Agostino da Stroncone, Umbria Seraphica, an. 1541 in Miscellanea Francescana, 9(1902-1905)16. Boverius tells about such a meeting from Marius. However, contrary to the facts, he writes that this happened in Rome, Annalium an.1537, xiii. – Already by the year 1536 Matteo had returned under the obedience of the Minister General of the Observants, as the Letter of obedience proves, granted on 15 May by the aforesaid Minister General. Flaminio Corner published the letter in the work Ecclesiae Venetae…illustratae, ac in decades distributae, Dec. xi, pars posterior, Venetiis, 1799, page 32, note 4. It is taken from a transcription in the codex of P. Beato da Valdagno O.M. Ref. (†1730), which is kept in Venice in the Archives of the friary of Isola di San Michele.
  66. Hearsay. Peace to the good man, but it has been said that Eusebio d’Ancona was elected in 1552. Therefore this was sixteen years since the expulsion of Ludovico. Marius writes that this happened during the time of the Pontificate of Paul IV, therefore after 3 May 1555. Bellintanti would have it that Ludovico was received after the publication of the Constitution of the afresaid Pontiff concerning apostates, Postquam divina, 20 July 1558. However Eusebio d’Ancona had ceased from office by then (28 May of the same year.)
  67. Very often Boverius repeats him and designates him as ‘Salodienis.’ Cf Analecta OFM Cap “Litterae diversae ad Jacobum Salodiensem – a) Litterae Luciani Brixiensis b) Duae Litterae Bernardini ab Orciano c) Litterae Felicis a Nuceria” 24(1908)24; “De commoratione Ludovici et Raphaelis a Forosempronii apud Eremitas Camaldulenses” 25(1909)249. “Partissi adunque il meschino piangendo, et cacciossi in quelli monti d’Ameria per un pezzo; indi passò a quelli di Cagli e finalmente si ridusse a P. Camaldolese del Masaccio, dove da principio haveva contratto amicitia: e vi prese a dir messa ad una capella; nel qual Monasterio finì la vita. Et havendogli uno dei detti Padri ministrata l’estrema untione, prese un gomitolo di rife, che gli trovò, et sentendolo pesante lo scolse, e lo trovò pieno di scudi d’oro.” Cod. ms., f.133r, in the General Archives, Cf. MHOMC VI, 16, though a different mansucript.
  68. Boverius, Annalium an.1536, I.
  69. Salodiensis, manuscript in the Archives of the Order, f.129b. “Il Cardinale ottenne dal Papa che se havesse a congregare il Capitolo alla Pentecoste dell’anno 1536.”
  70. “…bisogna refacian Capitulo.” See page 13 note 3.
  71. Marius f.212b ( MHOMC I, 411); Bernardino p.467 (MHOMC II, 391); Mattia II, f.5 (MHOMC VI, 12)
  72. “Me faccia gratia mandar subito le alligate al loco de’ capuccini de Fossombrone.” That the letter concerned the Chapter is derived from her words, “Santa Croce… mosso un fra Ludovico … che in Capitolo se voleva uscir con quanti posseva, et fece le alliagate patente.” See above page 248 note 1.
  73. The beloved sons, the current Vicar and Friars of the Order of Minors called Capuchins, have recently made know to Us…”.
  74. “As has been observed up to now.”
  75. All these things were taken word for word from the Bull of Eugene IV, Ut sacra (11 January 1446) granted to the Observants. Wadding, Annales Minorum an.1446, ii.
  76. Circa regularis (12 January 1464), Wadding, Annales Minorum an.1464, xviii, 348.
  77. Exponi nobis (25 August 1536); Boverius, Annalium an.1536, xxxiii; Wadding, Annales Minorum, an.1536, xi; Bullarium O.M.Cap., I, 17. Italian and Latin text in Costanzo Cargnoni, I Frati Cappuccini I, 80-93 where the editor indicates an authenticated copy in the General Archives (22 October) 1537, as well as Bullarium Romanum 6, 229-235.
  78. “Et li loro sanctj Capitolj con un reverndissimo Cardinale, e del primo ordine, oltre l’altre sue degne qualità, che ne fa fede.” Bartolommeo Fontana, “Documenti Vaticani di Vittoria Colonna,” 17; Vittoria Colonna Carteggio, 111.
  79. “Che piangeriano d’haverlj fatti venire quattro cento miglia senza nisciuna necessità.” Bartolommeo Fontana, Documenti Vaticani di Vittoria Colonna, 17; Vittoria Colonna Carteggio, 112.
  80. As our Giuseppe da Monterotondo asserts, the address written by the Marchioness in her own hand poses no difficulty: “Al Monsignor mio Contarino, so ben non bisognava mandarla a V.S. ma per amor de Christo habia patientia de legerla quando potrà.” Those words demonstrate uniquely that Vittoria was persuaded that the Cardinal was sufficiently informed about the facts. There was no way that he did not take part in that commission. In fact, how could she have reprimanded him as she did if he were not one of those who sat in this Commission? – “V.S. che più el cognosce non serrà scusato innanzi a Dio se i respetti humani l’intepediscono.”
  81. “Bisogna che stia separata.” Tacchi Venturi rightly observes, “Il senso della frase bisogna stia separata, è il seguente, abbastanza ovvio: bisogna che rimanga, che sequiti ad essere separata.” in “Vittoria Colonna. Fautrice della Riforma Cattolica,” page 169 note 3.
  82. “Cum autem, sicute eadem expositio subjungebat…ipsi Fratres cupiant Litteras praedictas quoad infrascripta confirmari et extendi, et propterea Nobis humiliter supplicari fecerint.” These things written below (infrascripta) decree the triennial Chapters and the confirmation of the elected Vicar by the Master General of the Conventuals. There is now word about these things in Clement’s Bull. There is also the right of visitation and correction that is explained better.
  83. Vatican Archives, Minute dei Brevi di Paolo III, Arm. xli, vol.3, ep.253, f.243.
  84. Tacchi Venturi objects to this in “Vittoria Colonna. Fautrice della Riforma Cattolica.” Taken up from the ten years since, says the Marchioness, the Capuchins were under the obedience of the Coventuals, the objection does not have great strength. Although well informed, she may not have been able to know exactly when this subjection began. It must also be said that we do not have a certain date when Ludovico joined their company.
  85. You will find the whole letter at the end of this present chapter. The letter begins “La devotion…”
  86. Cf above, page 242.
  87. Cf above, page 244.
  88. The following citation is a translation by d’Alençon, a somewhat anaesthetised, Latin paraphrase of Vittoria’s letter.
  89. “licet Conventuales mutationem causaverint, ne in vita largiori contrariarentur” is d’Alençon’s Latin translation of Vittoria’s words “Se loro obtennero mutatione al loro proposito, per non havere contradictione al largo vivere.” Relying on her words for the translation of the clause in italics, I have attempted to render a plausible meaning in the English.
  90. “Nè posso intendere perché san Francesco debbia haver minor sorte che gli altrj santj in questa Corte.”
  91. “È questa la scrittura che fu presentata da lui (Bernardino d’Asti) a Cardinali.” In the text of the codex the words “a Cardinali” have been cancelled and there has been added in the margine, “o in questa o in altra precedente occasione di simil controversia.” A later hand has added in the margin, “Informazione presentata ad una congregazione di sei Cardinali per non permettere l’unione dei Cappuccini con i pp. Riformati.” The text is found in the codex referred to in ff.208-211. Boverius includes this “Schedula” for Cardinal Sanseverino which he attributes to Bernardino d’Asti, Annalium an. 1536, xxii-xxvi, Boverius describes, “ex antiquissimis Religionis monumentis, quae in nostro Archivio Romano asservantur” (1536, xxi).
  92. The report begins, “Dieci anni sono…” He changes it to “Duodecimus annus agitur.” Even though all the early writers located the departure of Matteo in the year 1525, Boverius writes that this happened in 1524, just so that it would fit according to his method of calculating the twelfth year. However, as I have already advised, our writers recall the beginning of the Order from the Letter of the Sacred Penitentiary (18 May 1526). The report, changed in this way, is found in Annalium an. 1536, vvii-xxvii, ( as already indicated in the previous note.)
  93. Deservedly many things that he added because of his own hostility were expunged by the Sacred Congregatin of the Index, in its prohibition of the Annales.
  94. Giuseppe da Monterotondo , Gl’Inizi dell’Ordine Cappuccini, 52.
  95. Analecta OFM Cap., 30(1914)39.
  96. “Io che ho vera noticia de tutti i loro monasterij del Regno et de Campagnia, ne son chiara.” “…che son certa.
  97. “Reformensi quelli, attendano, mo che Christo esta al deserto, considerlo li et non impedire quelli che lo vanno imitando; pensino che la quaresma viene.”
  98. Cf page 243, note 4.
  99. More will have to be said about these things later.
  100. “Como Vostra Sanctità per alcune letter ha visto.”
  101. See her letter of 16 September 1538 which Tacchi Venturi found and published in the work already cited, “Vittoria Colonna. Fautrice della Riforma Cattolica,” 178. He noted this liberty and correctly observed, “Nulla diremo dello stile e maniera riverentemente libera in che è dettata (la lettera), carattere onde ben si rivela il costume del tempo ed anche la stima che godeva la matrona romana presso il primo sovrano del mondo,” page 168.
  102. “Havendo Sua Sanctità ottima voluntà verso me.” Cf. above, page 243, note 4.
  103. Informatio de veritate, immo una stilla prae infinito pelago veri: A report about the truth, or rather, a small drop compared to the infinite ocean of the truth.
  104. The Pharisees persecuted the Saviour because he performed miracles on the Sabbath (John 5:16); and they said “This man, who does not keep the Sabbath, is not from God” (John 9:16). Thus the adversaries of the Capuchins, unable to deny the example of their life, persecuted them nevertheless, because the Capuchins were not subject to them.
  105. According to the Bull of Concord called “Omnipotens Deus” (12 June 1517) the Master General of the Conventuals was to be confirmed by the Minister General of the whole Order, Wadding, Annales Minorum an.1517, xxx; Bullarium O.M.Cap., vi, 230. In fact, by virtue of the Bull “Religionis zelus” (3 July 1528) the Capuchins were subject to the visitation and correction of the Master of the Conventuals in the provinces where they were living. Boverius, Annalium an.1528, iv; Wadding, Annales Minorum an.1528, xv; Bullarium O.M.Cap., I, 3.
  106. Namely from November 1535, as has been said above (see page 267). These words confirm what I have said about the date of this report.
  107. In the letter of Vittoria Colonna to Paul III, on 16 September 1538, the editor supplies a word and observes, “sembra però che manchi qualche altra parola rimasta nella penna alla scrittrice.” Tacchi Venturi, “Vittoria Colonna. Fautrice della Riforma Cattolica,” 178 note 1. Also Cuthbert of Brighton, The Capuchins. A contribution to the history of the Counter-Reformation, London, Sheed and Ward, 1928, Vol.II, p.441-447. Also in I Frati Cappuccini II, nn.2007-2015, p.201-208, who notes the difference between the two copies.
  108. The word “questi” signifies the Capuchins throughout the letter, while “quelli” indicates the Observants.
  109. Above she said, “thirty thousand friars.”
  110. So it reads in the double copy kept in the General Archive. I believe it should be corrected to “in questa.” The only other publications of this letter that I have found, both Cuthbert of Brighton, The Capuchins II, 447, and Costanzo Cargnoni, I Frati Cappuccini II, 208 repeat this comment of d’Alençon.
  111. This letter has been published several times. Bartolommeo Fontana (ed), “Documenti Vaticani di Vittoria Colonna Marchesa di Pescara, per la difesa dei Cappuccini” in Rivista Società Romana di storia patria, 9(1886) 345-371 [BCC:26-N-14, pages 16-25].—Vittoria Colonna, marchesa di Pescara Carteggio raccolto e pubblicato da Ermanno Ferrero e Giuseppe Müller, 2° ed., supplementato da Domenico Tordi, Torino, Loescher, 1892, 110-122.—Pietro Tacchi Venturi, “Vittoria Colonna e la riforma Cappuccina” in Collectanea Franciscana 1(1931)28-58, pages 44-53.— Benedetto d’Alatri, “Vigorosa apologia. Lettera di Vittoria Colonna al Card. Contarini” in L’Italia Francescana 22(1947)103-112, pages 107-112.— Costanzo Cargnoni (ed), I Frati Cappuccini II, 216-227.
  112. Previously ‘delle S.V.” had been written here in the document.
  113. Previously “Rev.mi S.i” had been written here.
  114. “povertà della Regola”? Ferrero and Müller, Vittoria Colonna. Carteggio, 113 and Bartolommeo Fontana, “Documenti Vaticani di Vittoria Colonna,” 18 read “povertà.” Tacchi Venturi, “Vittoria Colonna e la Riforma Cappuccina,” 46 and Benedetto d’Alatri, “Vigorosa apologia,” 108 follow this reading. However, I believe “purità della Regola” was an expression in more common use among the first generation Capuchins than “povertà della Regola.” In fact, Costanzo Cargnoni, I Frati Cappuccini II, 218 reads “povertà della Regola.” In the introduction to this letter he notes (p.215): “Nonostante queste numerose edizioni, una revisione del testo sul’originale vaticano ci ha permesso di correggere alcuni errori di lettura, anche significativi.”
  115. “Sapeno” had been written first and corrected to “sanno.”
  116. Here too “sape” had been written first.
  117. Originally written here “pagura.”
  118. D’Alençon’s text has omitted these words
  119. Vittoria began the word “angioi(no)” and changed her mind.
  120. Vatican Archives, Minute dei Brevi di Paolo III, Arm.xl, vol.51, ep.331, f.317. “Religionis zelus” 14 June 1535.
  121. Cf page 5+.
  122. Vatican Archives, Minute dei Brevi di Paolo III, Arm.xl, vol.52, ep.129, f.141. “Imperatori” Dilectio filio Vincentio Lunel, a.m. de obs.min.gen. in Regnum Neapolitan, profecturo, ut iuxta ordinis instituta singulas sibi creditas provincias visitet, as demum, ut asserit, ad Caes. Majestatem tuam venturo…
  123. “Composte le cose in Africa, Carlo partì e ai 17 agosto del 1535 fu a Trapani, donde per Alcamo e Monreale andò ai 13 settembre a Palermo, e ai 21 fu in Messina, dove fermossi fino ai 3 di novembre quando partì per la Calabria…Fu a Napoli nel 25 di novembre…” Pietro Balan, Storia di Italia, 2°ed, Modena,1896,, page 404+. [BCC:74-M-19]
  124. “Sanctissime Pater, Audientes in provincia Italiae inceptam esse intitutionem novae sectae dictae Capuccinorum, quae ab obedientia ministri generalis Ordinis sancti Francisci se subtrahit, experientia vero scientes hujusmodi novitates plus scandali quam aedificationis gignere in nostram sanctam fidem catholicam, visum est nobis necesse scribere Sanctitati vestrae, eam supplicantes ut attendere faciat huic negotio, ne permittat ut procedat amplius, neque ullo modo sinat ut in Hispaniam propagetur, propter scandalum quod in religione portare poterit. Committimus Cardinali Sanctae Crucis, illius religionis protectori, ut de his fusius Vobiscum agat, cui plenam praestare fidem Sanctitas Vestra dignetur.” ( D’Alençon’s Latin translation in his footnote.) Pietro Tacchi Venturi discovered the letter in the Archives in Naples, (Arch. di Stato in Napoli – Carte Farnesiane, fasc.776, origin.) and pubished it in the dissertation “Vittoria Colonna. Fautrice della Riforma Cattolica” in Studi e Documenti di Storia e Diritto, 173; See also “Vittoria Colonna e la Riforma Cappuccina” in Collectanea Franciscana, 1(1931), 38, note 2. Cf. Melchor de Pobladura, “El emperador Carlos V contra los capuchinos. Texto y commentario de una cartà inedita: Napoles, 17 enero 1536” in Collectanea Franciscana 34 (1964) 373-390. “Nos parevce fuera de duda que el inspirador de la misive imperial fue el proprio cardenal Quiñones” (p.377.) This is not a new opinion. In the same article Pobladura publised a second similar letter of the Emperor addressed to Cardinal Campeggi, p.382. For a more recent comment on the letters of Carlos V, see Costanzo Cargnoni, I Frati Cappuccini IV, 892-894. In English: “Most Holy Father, Reverend Lord. I have heard that in the province of Italy the founding of a new sect called the “Capuchins” has begun. It removes itself from obedience to the Minister General of the Order of Saint Francis. I know from experience how such novelties engender more scandal than edification in our holy Catholic faith. It has seemed to us to write to Your Holiness and ask that you see to this and not permit them to grow further, nor consent in any way that this be introduced to Spain because of the scandal it can bring to the Religion. We commit this to the Most Reverend Cardinal of Santa Croce, protector, who will speak with you at greater length about these things. We ask Your Holiness to give him full credence. May Our Lord keep your holy person many years for the happy government of His holy and universal Church. From Naples, on 4 December in the year 1535. Etc.” The Emperor sent a similar letter also to Cardinal Campeggi. See Melchiorre da Pobladura, “El empèrador Carlos V contra los Capuchinos. Texto y comentario de una carta inedita: Napoles, 17 enero 1536” in Collectanea Franciscana 34(1964) 373-390.
  125. Wadding, Annales Minorum an. 1523, xxv+. See more recently J. Torrubia OFM, Chronica Seraphica, ix Parte, Roma 1757, p.313-316 included in Juan Mesequer Fernández, “Programa de Gobierno del P. Francisco de Quiñones, Ministro General O.F.M. (1523-1528)” in Archivo Ibero Americano 21(1961)5-51, and by the same author “Constituciones Recoletas para Portugal, 1524 e Italia, 1526” in Archivo Ibero Americano 21(1961) 462-489.
  126. In the province of Calabria five places were assigned at that time, as Ludovico da Reggio says in his letter, but within a short time only one remained for the recollects.
  127. He was created Cardinal on 17 December 1527 and this was published the following year before 28 September. Ciaconius-Oldoinus, Vitae et res gestae Pontificum Romanorum et S.R.E. Cardinalium, Romae, 1677, vol. iii, col.496-500 [BCC:74-P-15,3]; Ludwig von Pastor, History of the Popes, volume x, 33 and note 7, or Storia dei Papi, Roma, Desclée, 1956, vol.iv/2, p.325 and note 5 [BCC:80-L-5].
  128. D’Alençon, Gian Pietro Carafa, passim.
  129. Giovanni da Fano in the Dialogo cited; Clement VII, Cum nuper (8 March 1526), Vatican Archives, Arm.39, vol.35, f.36.
  130. “Questo Protettore ci fece gran guerra in principio, e non poco nocque alla nostra Congregatione, ma di poi tutta via si venne placando, talmente che alla morte mandò à dire à frati che pregassero per lui, che se riusciva di quella infirmità, sarebbe loro buon Padre; ma piacque al Signore Iddio che se ne passò à meglior vita.” Bernardino da Colpetrazzo, Cronache manuscript in the General Archives, p.1390 ( MHOMC IV, 144.)
  131. i.e. the Emperor.
  132. S. Ehses, Concilium Tridentinum, tom.IV, Acta, I, Friburgi Brisg., 1904, p.cxxviii, note 1. [BCC:029-D-5] – Secondly the Pope sent Lunel to the Emperor to congratulate him on the great defeat which the perfidious Turks had suffered by the “Suphi” and to speak in the Pope’s name with him about some other matters. Raynaldus, Annales ecclesiastici an.1535, lv, Lucae, 1755, tom.xiii, page 390, who cites the letter of the Pontiff on 18 December. Vatican Archives, Arm. 39, vol.53, ep.251, f.222. Sophianus, a Latinisation of “sofiano,” a subject of sufi; a Persian. According to the Venetian Marin Sanudo the Younger (1466-1536), “I Turchi temono molti i sofiani, dicendo combatono virilmente e ben armati con buone arme.” Grande Dizionario della Lingua Italiana, UTET, vol. 19, 270.
  133. Cf above, chapter I, n. 4 page 236.
  134. This assignment was made in the Roman Province by the Minister Provincial, Fra Felice da Babuco, on 7 October 1535. Benedetto Spila da Subiaco, Memorie storiche della provincia riformata romana, Roma, vol.I, page 9. [BCC:56-N-18] In the Veneto Province certain friaries had already been assigned for some years, however vexations from the superiors impeded the progress of reform. D’Alençon, Gian Pietro Carafa, 41; Antonio Maria a Vicetia, Commentariolum de Veneta provincia reformata S. Antonii, in Analecta Franciscana¸ Ad Claras Aquas, 1885, vol. I, p.303 [BCC:023-B-1]. In the Province of the Marches friaries had been assigned in 1534. Alessio D’Arquata, Cronaca della Riformata provincia de’ Minori nella Marca,22. Sure notions about the real state of the reformed friars in these provinces are lacking.
  135. These were Lorenzo Campeggi, the bishop of Palestrina, Francisco Quiñones, cardinal of Santa Croce and Protector, and Antonio Pucci, cardinal of Santi Quattro Coronati.
  136. Sententia interlocutoria trium Cardinalium, 23 December 1535 in Wadding Annales Minorum an.1535, xxxvii.
  137. “ et Monsignor mio,Scrissi al Vescovo de Verona perche V.S. sapessi che io li diceva la verità, che doveva aiutarsi questi padri r.di della santa et vera vita de San Francesco: hor li mando la sua, quale lo certifica. V.S. faccia como deve a Dio et alla sua virtù, et sappia che Sua M.tà Cesarea, non sapendo se non dal general seran cinquanta frati smandati, scrisse così; ma già se ne pente, et in Roma lo mostrerà, spero. V.S. in questo mezzo sia con el Papa, et non comporti el mal li fanno. Da Genazzano, ai xxviiii de servir S.V. et R.maLa de Pescara.”(Al et Monsig.or mio el S.r Cardinal de Mantova.)Vittoria Colonna Carteggio, letter lxvi, page 100.
  138. Wadding, Annales Minorum, an. 1535, xxxiii.
  139. These are the words of the same Bernardino in a certain Memoriale which will be given later.
  140. With the three others named, they signed the letter of 4 january 1537, as will be said, and are named in the letter of Vittoria Colonna written at the end of 1536. See Tacchi Venturi, “Vittoria Colonna. Fautrice della Riforma Cattolica,” letter V, page 176.
  141. A number of times in the letters of Carlos V there is found: “Illustri Victoriae Columnae Marchionissae Piscariae, consanguineae nostrae carissimae.” Vittoria Colonna Carteggio, letter xx, page 26 and letter xxxi, page 44.
  142. A contemporary author, Gregorio Rosso, writing about the stay of Carlos V in Naples, says that he had to leave before the end of Lent, “anchorche ci stesse parechi giorni, e si delettasse molto sentire Fra Berardino de Siena Cappuccino, che predicava à San Gio. Maggiore con spirito, e devotione grande, che faceva piangere le pietre.” Historia delle cose di Napoli, 1526-1537, Napoli, 1635, page 135. –At that time Ochino struck up a close friendship with Juan de Valdés, whom he saw again more frequently in 1539 while he preached in the same city; although in this last time I believe I agree with what is said about his sermons, the theme of which he received from Valdés: “faceva professione di pigliare quasi un thema di molte sue prediche da Valdesio, mediante una carticella che lui li mandava la sera inanzi alla mattina che doveva predicare.” (Dal processo di Pietro Carnesecchi dinanzi al Sant’Uffizio a Roma in Miscellanea di storia italiana vol. x, Torino, 1870, page 196.) [ Or more accurately, in G. Manzoni “Estratto del processo di Pietro Carnesecchi” in Miscellanea di storia italiana 10(1879) 187-573. More recently, Massimo Firpo and Dario Marcatto, I Processi Inquisitoriali di Pietro Carnesecchi (1557-1567), edizione critica, Collectanea Archivi Vaticani 43, Città del Vaticano, Archivio Segreto Vaticano, 1998, vol. 2, part 1, page 143.] Nonetheless, already by 1536, some considered the teaching of Bernardino Ochino suspect. We do not doubt to confer upon him the accusation of Lutheranism, which Vittoria Colonna refuted in her letter to Cardinal Contarini. “Molte cose m’han dicto che l’oppongano … Prima che paiono Luterani, perchè predicano la libertà del spirito…” (see above, chapter IV number 3, page 257+.) The following year they made new accusations against Ochino after his Lenten sermons, which very likely he gave again in Naples. Not many days after Easter, which fell on 1 April, Bernardino visisted the Marchioness at Arpino and she, on 22 April, wrote to Cardinal Gonzaga from Monte San Giovanni in his defense. She added, “Credo che andarà però verso Roma.” Vittoria Colonna Carteggio, letter lxxxiii, page 139. What in fact Ochino sought in Rome, as is understood from another letter of Ascanio, dated Marino 7 May, to Ambrogio Recalcati, the private secretary of the Pontiff. In this letter, Vittoria’s brother vigorously upholds Bernardino, and speaks about his sermons given in Naples. It must not be considered that he is referring here to the sermons given the previous year, but to something very recent. You can find Ascanio’s letter in Pietro Tacchi Venturi, Storia della Compagnia di Gesù in Italia. Narrato col sussidio di fonti inedite, volume primo, parte seconda: Documenti, Roma, Civiltà Cattolica, 1910 page 115-116 [ Also in the 1931 edition in BCC:79-E-9B]. The other letter of the Marchioness of 12 June is in Vittoria Colonna Carteggio, letter lxxxv, page 143.
  143. Diarium Blasii de Martinellis in Podestà, “Carlo V a Roma” in Archivio della Società di Storia patria, 1(1878) 333.
  144. “Retrovandomi io in Napoli, fui informato dalle parole d’un nostro frate Spagniolo, chiamato frat’Angelo, laico, il qual essendo soldato, molto familiar di Carlo Quinto, fu presente quando l’Imperadore andò in Roma al tempo di Paolo 3°.” In the ms chronicle, page 495. (MHOMC 2,413.)
  145. “Vedendo Santa Croce non poter per via del Imperatore offenderla (questa povera congregation), qual da Napoli scrisse al Papa contra de lei, et poi intesa la verità cella ha raccomandata…” From the letter already to Eleonora Gonzaga cited, page 248 note 1.
  146. Our Giuseppe da Monterotondo published it in the oft cited work, Gl’inizi dell’ordine Cappuccino, 230-237. He is of the opinion that the Memoriale was written around the end of the month of June, but I cannot agree with him. In fact the commission given to the three Cardinals was accompanied by a fixed time limit of two months in the Brief 19 August. This time must have run from when the Brief was made known to the Superiors of the Observance, not before the lapse of the month of October. Given 23 December 1535, which is read at the end of the judgement of the three aforesaid Cardinals, there is no date of the copy, as one supposes, but the date of the judgement itself. Furthermore in the Memoriale itself Bernardino openly speaks about the Bull of Paul III given 25 August 1536, which says, “Bullam Sanctissimi Domini nostri,” that is, of the Pope reigning at the time, which he distinguishes from that of Clement VII, which he mentions under the name of that Pontiff.
  147. Namely 23 December 1535. It seems necessary here to present this letter, which Wadding published:Laurentius Episcopus Praenestinus, et Franciscus tituli sanctae Crucis in Hierusalem, totius Ordinis Minorum Protector, ac Antonius tituli sanctorum Quator Coronatorum, Presbyteri miseratione divina sacrosanctae Romanae Ecclesiae Cardinales, super differentiis inter Fratres de Observantia, et Capuccinos nuncupatos, Ordinis Minorum, componendis a S.D.N. Paulo Papa III in ejus Consistorio deputati, Religiosis viris Generali et aliis Ministris ac Guardianis domorum Congregationis Capuccinorum nuncupatae dicti Ordinis Minorum, et singulis dicti Ordinis tam de Observantia quam de Capuccinis fratribus, salutem et sinceram in Domino caritatem. Cupientes contentionibus vestris, et ne interim scandala exinde oriantur, salubriter providere, de mandato praefati Domini Nostri Papae, super hoc vivae vocis oraculo nobis facto, universis et singulis vestrum in virtute sanctae obedientiae et sub excommunicationibus, quam contrafacientes incurrere volumus ipso facto, et a qua nonnisi per nos aut Sedem Apostolicam, etiam vigore quorumcumque indultorum Apostolicorum, absolvi possitis, praeterquam in mortis articulo constituti, et carcerum poenis, tenore praesentium districte inhibemus, ne de cetero vos Capuccini de Observantia fratres aliquos ad vos se transferentes seu alias venientes recipere; aut vos de Observantia ad eosdem Capuccinos transire, aut eorum habitum assumere, seu gestare praesumatis quoquomodo, quousque praefatus D.N. Papa super eisdem contentionibus de opportuno remedio providerit. Non obstantibus quibuscumque litteris Apstolicis etiam in forma Brevis, aut motu proprio, vel vivae vocis oraculo, aut alias vobis et cuilibet vestrum in genere vel in specie quomodolibet concessis. Et si quis vestrum, quod absit, contrafecerit, noveritis commissurum hujusmodi ultra praemissa severissima animadversione fore puniendum. Volumus autem quod praesentium transumptis, manu publici Notarii subscriptis et sigillo alicujus Episcopi aut Praelati in dignitate ecclesiastica constituti munitis, eadem fides adhibeatur tam in judicio quam extra, quae adhiberetur praesentibus originalibus litteris, si forent exhibitae vel ostensae. In quorum fidem praesentes sigillorum nostrorum per Notarium impressione munitas, ac manibus nostris fieri jussimus. Datum et actum Romae in Palatio Apostolico, xxiii mensis Decembris, sub anno a nativitate Domini mdxxxv, Pontificatus praefati S.D.N. anno II.L: Episcopus Praenestinus Card. CampegiusFranciscus Card. S. Crucis ProtectorAntonius Card. Sanctorum Quator Major PoenitentiariusWadding, Annales Minorum an. 1535, xxxvii.
  148. The following words have been erased in the original: “Qui fratres eas praefato Vicario non praesentantes ad dictorum fratrum capucinorum provincias destinarunt.” This will come up again later.
  149. In the original these erased words are read: “ad instantiam dictorum fratrum capuccinorum.”
  150. The last article is an incomplete addition, perhaps because this observation will come up later.
  151. Would one who recognised in this the “ persona” the Marchioness of Pescara err from the truth? The adversaries had such an announcement by word of mouth revoked. See the Brief below on 5 January 1537.
  152. This Bull is the one of Paul III, 25 August 1536.
  153. The Breve Dudum postquam, 19 August 1535. See above, page Chapter I, n.4. Three authenticated copies of this Brief are kept in the Archives of the Order, given 15 July 1536, evidently as a solution for this continuing dispute.
  154. Decretalium Gregorii ix, lib.iii, tit.xxxi, cap.18 in Corpus Iuris Canonici, editio Lipsiensis secunda post Aemili Ludouici Richteri, Pars secunda: Decretalium Collectiones. Ex officina Bernhardi Tauchnitz, Lipsiae, mdccclxxxi, page 575, [BCC:010-B-3].
  155. The following words were erased: “Si autem diceretur quod ipsi fratres de familia seu de observantia non poterunt locis suis vel conventibus, propter fratrum paucitatem satisfacere, respondetur: Quod charitas dictat dare superflua indigentibus, et forte de jure et in conscientia tenentur supradicti fratres de observantia partem eorum locorum, juxta numerum fratrum, qui ex eis exierunt, vel exeunt, et ipsorum fratrum capucinorum congregationem ingressi sunt, vel ingredientur, elargiri; quamvis ipsis fratribus capucinis a dominis et populis christianis, propter eorum bonum exemplum, quotidie loca offerantur hedificanda, licet certe melius foret quod jam hedificatis debite satisfieret.”
  156. The following words have been erased: “Et quod regula Sancti Francisci est tantae celsitudinis quod oporteret conversari cum angelis ad ipsam observandem.”
  157. Here the following words have been erased: “Et maxime quia fuerunt facta absque mandato, immo contra mentem Sanctissimi Domini Nostri.”
  158. Bernardino d’Asti’s Memoriale may be found with an Italian translation in Costanzo Cargnoni, I Frati Cappuccini I, 1184-1192.
  159. “Finito il Consistoro d’hoggi Nostro Signore ha poi fatto adunar Congregatione de nove Cardinali, deputati cioè tre per …(Here, as in the other places, the paper is worn.)…per proveder ad alcuni bisogni che occorrono et possono occorrere con qualche disordine, come della tanta arroganza e differenza che vertisce tra i frati minori…et i Cappuccini, che ogni giorno se n’hanno continue querelle et lamenti con gridi al cielo, che hormai da l’una et l’altra parte ne viene fastidio quasi ad ogniuno. Sua Santità dice volerci proveder a ogni modo e perché non è finita la Congregatione… non s’è potuto intendere che ha risoluto…” Letter of Frabrizio Peregrino, legate of the Duke of Mantua, 15 December 1536 in the Gonzaga Archives of Mantua. The fragment was copied for me by A. Luzio, the supervisor for this Archives, at the request of Pietro Tacchi Venturi.
  160. The Bull Ad Domini gregis, 4 January 1536. Paul III had announced the Ecumenical Council to be celebrated in Mantua, opening on 23 May 1537.
  161. “ S.or. La mia poca bontà fa che non merito me trovate in casa. Parlai a Sua Santità de quello aprir un poco che i boni spiriti non sian privi de quel dovrebbon esser pregati. Sua Santità sta ben disposta, ve prego se mai desiderasse servir Christo et obligarme vogliate suplicarnelo. Contarini, Ghinucci, Simonetta, tutti dicono, mo che hanno inteso parlar del vero, che è gran peccato tenerla chiusa: et se trova bon modo perché solo i boni possan venir et non li ambitiosi et scandalosi: benchè siano scuse de Zoccoli che voglion sapere più che San Paolo et che la divina e humana legge: puro ce contenamo come dicono questi…” in Tacchi Venturi, “Vittoria Colonna Fautrice della Riforma Cattolica,” 176.
  162. Bartolommeo Fontana first published this in “Documenti Vaticani di Vittoria Colonna Marchesa di Pescara, per la difesa dei Cappuccini,” 355+ but some mistakes have crept into his transcription, as may be seen from a comparison with the text that I will present. The version in Vittoria Colonna Carteggio, 93-96 is from Fontana. Also published by Pietro Tacchi Venturi in “Vittoria Colonna e la riforma Cappuccina” 35-37; Costanzo Cargnoni, I Frati Cappuccini II, 193-195. D’Alençon presents a Latin translation only. D’Alençon’s Italian deciphering of the letter, presented here, is found in the original essay page 48 note 1.
  163. Bartolo di Sassoferrato and Baldo de Ubaldis (Baleschi) were eminent jurists of the fourteenth century, the first of whom was called “the lamp and monarch of the law,” wrote Minoricas decisiones super regulam fratrum minorum. It has been published in various works called the Monumenta, or the Firmamenta or the Speculum Ordinis Minorum. Costanzo Cargnoni in Frati Cappuccini II, 193 note 1: “…Among other things, the first wrote a Tractatus minoricarum decisionum (1534). Cf. Arturo Carlo Jemolo, Il liber Minoritarum di Bartolo e la povertà minoritica nei giuristi del xii e del xiv secolo, Sassari, 1921. [BCC:opsuc-36-92].
  164. Thus in the Briefs already cited of Clement VII, Cum sicut, 9 April 1534), of Paul III, Accepimus, 18 December 1534), Pastoralis officii (14 August 1535). See Bullarium Capuccinorum I, 11,12,14.
  165. The Chapter Licet (Decretalium Gregorii ix, lib.iii, tit.xxxi, cap.18) [BCC:010-B-3, col. 576] says: “Potest religiosus zelo sanctioris vitae ad religionem transire strictiorem, petita prius licentia sui praelati, licet non obtenta.”– The Bull of Eugene iv Ut sacra (11 January 1445) allowed the Observants to receive Conventuals “as long as they asked permission from their superiors.” Wadding, Annales Minorum¸ an.1446, ii.
  166. See what I said above concerning the way of calculating the years since the origin of our family (page 255.)
  167. The Brief Accepimus (18 December 1534) prohibted the Capuchins from receiving Observants until the Chapter to be celebrated on the next feast of Pentecost, without special permission of the Pontiff. Cf above, page 234+.
  168. Bartolommeo Fontana, “Documenti Vaticani di Vittoria Colonna Marchesa di Pescara, per la difesa dei Cappuccini,” 355+; Vittoria Colonna Carteggio, letter lxii, page 93-96. The first editor would have the letter written at the beginning of January 1535. The editors of the Carteggio say August 1535, the date which had been assigned appears more certain to me. Costanzo Cargnoni, I Frati Cappuccini II, 193: “Prima metà del 1535.”
  169. Vatican Archives, Minute dei Brevi di Paolo III, Arm. xli, vol.5, eP. 262, fol. 253.
  170. “…non consenta la S.V. che la sua bontà sia da altri occultata circa la minuta impropriisima del breve, come messer Carlo da Fano li dirrà, che Dio ne serrà servito et io li restarò obbligatissima.” Bartolommeo Fontana, “Documenti Vaticani di Vittoria Colonna,” 25; Vittoria Colonna Carteggio, letter lxxvi, page 128.
  171. Wadding, Annales Minorum an.1537, xvii; Bullarium Capuccinorum I, 23. The original brief is kept in the Archives of the Order.
  172. “On the differences between the friars of the Order of Minors and the Capuchins, with the deliberation of some Cardinals to whom Your Holiness committed the matter, motu proprio, etc. It decress that until Your Holiness has made some other determination, that in the general chapter of the Order of the Observance celebrated in Rome by special mandate of Your Holiness, they may not receive others from the Capuchins, nor vice versa, unless they have the written permission of the General or provincials; and if any from the Observance wish to lead a stricter life, they should be transferred to the friaries assigned for this purpose with the permission of the superiors, under the same obedience and keeping the habit. Where in fact there are no such friaries, they must be assigned by the superiors, otherwise Your Holiness will make provision. Cardinal Campeggi , Santa Croce, Santi Quattro, Simoneta, Contarini and Ghinucci have seen this.”
  173. Namely the General Chapter of Nice celebrated in May 1535, in which it had been decided that all the provinces establish special houses, according to the number of friars wanting to live in a reformed way, following what Clement VII had decreed in his letter In suprema, 16 November 1532, which, as can be seen again from the present letter, the superiors of the Observance cared little to obey.
  174. In his Memoriale presented above, Bernardino d’Asti speaks about the vivae vocis oraculo obtenta. Except that I do not believe that it should be said that they may not spread beyond the mountains, although until the date provided for the council and the chapter I would not refute. About the other detail, in which the Pontiff deprived himself of the authority to give permission by announcement in person (oraculo vivae vocis) or by letter, nothing has been said.
  175. Their names, exlicitly written, are: Francisco Quiñones, cardinal of Santa Croce; Lorenzo Campeggi, bishop of Palestrina; Antonio Pucci, cardinal of Santi Quattro Coronati. The names of the others are evident.
  176. Dudum siquidem (5 January 1537); Wadding, Annales Minorum an.1537, xviii published the Bull with the date 3 January, evidently erroneously, since he supposed another preceding one. Although it had been addressed to the Vicar General and friars of the Order of Minors of the Congregation called Capuchins, the Brief has been removed from our Archives for a long time. Therefore the editor of our Bullarium took it from Wadding (Bullarium Capuccinorum I, 23.) The original document is kept in the Vatican Archives, Minute dei Brevi di Paolo III, Arm. xli, vol.5, ep.260. f-250. On the reverse of the minute it reads, “Super eadem differentia Capucinorum et fratrum de observantia. Mandatur eisdem fratribus capucinis sub poena excommunicationis ne se (extendant) transferant ultra montes usque ad celebrationem dicti capituli. Car. Ghin(uccius) dicens quod breve detur ei.” The Brief began in a clearly different way, but the variations bring nothing to the history.
  177. See above, page 235
  178. At the end of the minute of the Brief of 5 January this note reads, “Fratres Capuccini dicunt quod declaretur tempus Capituli, quia noviter est ordinatum quod Capitulum celebretur de sex in sex annos, cum prius fieret de 3 in tres annos, et sic dicunt intelligere S.D.N. Fratres autem de Observantia dicunt quod fuit actum simpliciter de Capitulo suo tempore celebrando. Hac difficultate per S.D.N. declarata nihil video supra. Hie. Card. Ghi(nuccius.)
  179. There used to be in the Vatican Archives (Arm. xli, vol.7, ep.271, f.279) a minute for the same Brief, dated 5 July 1537: “super differentiis fratrum Minorum de Observantia et Capuccinorum, suspensio omnium causarum super frtribus hic inde receptis usque ad generale capitulum Romae celebrandum, cum Decreto quod omnia interim maneant in statu quo sunt.” However that volume seven has been lost. This summary of the Brief is found in an inventory. “Super differentiis (ut supra) Sanctitas Vestra alias per suas litteras ordinavit, quod usque ad generale capitulum Romae celebrandum illi de observantia neminem ex fratribus capucinis reciperent et e converso; nunc cum orta sit inter eos lis super fratribus hinc inde receptis antequam dictae litterae emanarent, S.V. suspendit capitulm, cum decreto quod omnis interim maneant in statu quo sunt.” Vatican Archives, Arm. li, vol.ii, f.493.)
  180. The administrator of a benefice or of a vacant church.
  181. See the letter of Ludovico da Reggio in the Appendix pages 293-299.
  182. It had been granted by Brief on 8 March 1537 (Bullarium Capuccinorum II, 101). In the minute at the end of the Brief in the Vatican Archives this note reads, “Non potui facere verbum cum Sanctissimo. R.mus D. de S. Severino dicit Sanctitatem Suam esse contentam. D.V. poterit a S.S. intelligere. Hie. Car.lis Ghi(nuccius.)” Arm.xli, vol.5, ep.30, f.29. Cf. René de Nantes, L’Ermitage de Monte-Casale, Couvin, 1910, and extract from Etudes Franciscaines. [BCC:opusc-61-139.]
  183. There are three letters of this extraordinary bishop in the State Archives of Siena, in which he commends the petition of the Capuchins to the Magistrates of the city: “Circa li frati Scappuccini noi fummo contenti che loro potessero havere luogo di costa, hor quanto a darlo il luogo, è necessario concordarele parti che possedono, come altre volte haviam scritto a V.M. Noi non mancaremo di quanto a noi si espetta. Romae, secunda aprilis 1537.” – “Magnifici Signori Officiali nostri observandissimi. Diverse volte ho raccomandati per lettera li frati Cappuccini a V.M.S. per un sito et loco che desiderano havere per farvi un monastero dove possessero stare costa in Siena, et per non essere anchora la lor domanda adempita, sono stato molto strettamente ricercho dall’ Marchese de Alighera, oratore de Sua Maestà, che ad sua requisitione di nuovo raccomandassi a V.M.S. li prefati frati: et per tal causa al presente ne replico a quelle, che quando si possi satisfare alli sopradecti frati, quelle se degneranno farne ogni opere oportuna co’li padroni del qual sito, in servitio et raccomandatione di essi frati, in però senza preiuditio de li padroni. Quae feliciter valeatis. Romae die 25 aprilis 1537.” – “Circa li Scappuccini noi haviamo tante volte scritto, che non sappiamo più che replicare se non il medesimo che più volte si è fatto intendere, in questi casi possiamo più presto intercedere che comandare, pur non si mancarà replicare quello che altre volte si è scritto. 15 giugno.” The donation of the church of Monte Celso was signed on 30 July. Cf. Analecta OFM Cap., 19(1903)91; Sisto da Pisa, Storia dei Cappuccini Toscani, vol.I, 54.
  184. Giuseppe da Monterotondo, Gl’inizi dell’ordine Cappuccino, 142, 259; Bullarium Capuccinorum II,75.
  185. Cf. Edouard d’Alençon, La Chiesa di S. Nicola de Portiis, Roma, 1908, page 23+ [BCC:opusc-61-75]; Giuseppe da Monterotondo, Gl’inizi dell’ordine Cappuccino, 155.
  186. “To travel abroad, and after visiting the churches of Saint James in Compostella and Saint Maximinus in the province of Provence, where it is believed that the body of Blessed Mary Magdalen was laid to rest, to visit the sacred tomb of Our Lord Jesus Christ.” These are words of a Letter of Paul III (3 March 1537), who blessed the one who obviously manifested a manly spirit in a female body, and granted that she could “dilectum filium Hieronimum de Monte Politiano, ordinis minorum congregationis capucinorum confessorem suum, et duos alios ejus socios, de sui superioris licentia, ad hoc pium opus ducere.” Vittoria Colonna Carteggio, letter lxxix, page 131-2.
  187. In many of her letters of this period she only discusses Bernardino Ochino and his sermons.
  188. Paul III stayed in Nice 17 May until 20 June. Gonzaga, De origine seraphicae religionis, Romae, 1587. On the friary of Holy Cross in Nice, page 624 [BCC:172-E-69]; Raynaldus, Annales ecclesiatici an.1538, x+; Pastor, Geschichte der Päpste, vol.v, chapter iii.
  189. Cum sicut accepimus, Savona, 11 May 1538, Vatican Archives, Arm.xli, vol.10.
  190. Rather than translate from the Latin, I have included here the Italian version that d’Alençon transcribes in a footnote.
  191. Namely, those who brought her the attached letter.
  192. Ochino had been elected Vicar General this year in the Chapter celebrated in Florence. Ochino preached in Lucca that year. Some of these and other preflight homilies have been reproduced in Costanzo Cargnoni, I Frati Cappuccini III/1: Predica predicata in Perugia il giorno di San Nicolò alli scolari, (pages) 2118-2133; Predica prima (Lucca 1538), 2135-2138; Predica seconda (Lucca, 1538), 2138-2146; Predica terza (Lucca 1538), 2146-2155; Predica quarta (Lucca 1538), 2156-2167; Predica quinta (Lucca 1538) a: 2167-2174; b: 2175-2178.
  193. Tacchi Venturi, “Vittoria Colonna. Fautrice della Riforma Cattolica,” 178, according to the original copy in the State Archives in Naples, carte Farnesianei, 252. Also Tacchi Venturi, “Vittoria Colonna e la riforma cappuccina,” 54-55; Costanzo Cargnoni, I Frati Cappuccini II, 239-241.
  194. Since Cardinal Sanseverino defended the cause of the Capuchins after the fall of Ochino (1543) [sic! This should read 1542.], our early writers do not hesitate to conclude that he already had been part of the commission of Cardinals whom Paul III appointed to decide the controversies between the Capuchins and the Observants. Marius da Mercato Saraceno, who appears to have been the first to write this, assembled so many mistakes that he should be given little credence. So, for example, he says that the aforesaid Cardinals met many times and carefully weighed up the reasons of each side at length. The Memoriale of Bernardino d’Asti is certainly to the contrary. It relates that the three Cardinals benevolent to the Capuchins were unable to bring the others to the discussion. He places such an assembly on 25 August 1536 before the expedition of the Bull of Paul III, which he says was expedited in 1537. What is more, he does not hesitate to declare that the name of Cardinal Sanseverino was written in testimony of his vigorous protection of that Bull: “in testimonio di questo si vede sua Signoria iscritta nella Bolla istesse” (Codex in our Archives in Venice, fol.227 b.) What was he dreaming about? Perhaps the original Bull was not kept in our Archives when he wrote (around 1580). However, it was transcribed on one occasion, and the copy survives to this day, confirmed on 22 October 1537 by the authority of the remarkable Cardinal, who is named in the beginning. Marius’ reading of the beginning of the act “Antonius de Sancto Severino…” did not make the distinction that this was a copy. Nor did he distinguish the date of the original of the Bull and the date of the copy. From that copy and others of the same period it is especially clear that the Cardinal showed his benevolence then to the Capuchins, but it is not possible to go any further.
  195. How Cardinal Trivulzio might have contributed to this I have not been able to find out.
  196. In the copy from which this letter has been published it reads: “a informali.” From the context that it should have read, “a informarsi.”
  197. In his lengthy report which he sent to Clement VII in 1532, Gian Pietro Carafo, the Theatine Bishop had already said: “Per dar mal credito alla detta reforma (in the province of Saint Anthony) li son stati mandati de industria alcuni frati a ciò ineptissimi e constretti a tenerli far loro, per che li ribaldi volevano poter dire quel che sogliono dir di ogn’uno che viva bene, scilicet vanus est qui servit Deo, et son pazzi e malinconici.” Se my work, Gian Pietro Carafa, 32.
  198. In this letter, the two sections in brackets are not found in the version in Vittoria Colonna Carteggio, 164-166.
  199. The friary of Saint Catherine of Mount Sion ‘Selli Robaudi, Forojulium inter et Dracenum.” Gonzaga, De origine seraphicae religionis, 836.
  200. See the words of Gian Pietro Carafa two footnotes back.
  201. The meaning is obscure, perhaps because an error occurred in the copying. Nevertheless it seems that it should be interpreted in this way.
  202. These words are not found in d’Alençon’s text.
  203. This letter is taken from the copy kept today in the Vatican Library, which is not without certain errors. A copy of the copy, which the editors of the Carteggio had, is not immune to errors which I have corrected making this collection. The version in Vittoria Colonna Carteggio, 164-166, accords with the transcipt in the Vatican Library, ms. 9069, f.43-44. (Collettanee di Gaetano Marini, Cod. 9069, f.43-44, with the note, “dall’originale in un codice della Libr. Albani.)
  204. In the codex, fol. 224v-227v. Wanting credence for his composition, he begins it this way: “Scogliendo la lingua in queste parole disse.” MHOMC 429-432.
  205. Boverius, Annalium an. 1536, xxviii-xxx.
  206. “…faranno sotto il nome di riforma, andar ne’ luoghi di questi poverini a star di famiglia i più dissoluti e larghi frati ch’essi habbiano; et entrati questi fra quelli, ecco il lupo a bere co’ l’agnello, ecco le divisioni, ecco i contrasti continui ne gli stessi luoghi, ecco la pace perduta, ecco il zell dell’osservanza della Regola andato per terra. In oltre sotto la medesima maschera di voler riformare i luoghi loro, che faranno? Pigliaranno de’ migliori frati che habbiano i Capuccini, e li spargeranno quinci e quindi per i loro monasteri; talche da queste due cose ne seguiranno questi inconvenienti. Prima che i luoghi de’ frati non amatori della povertà e simplicità, anzi distruttori e superbi; l’altra che per i luoghi loro senza poter far frutto alcuno saranno dispersi i migliori frati Capuccini che sieno fra essi: e così sotto ombra di zelo andarà in rovina tutto.” Ms. fol 225v-226r. MHOMC I, 430.
  207. Vatican Archives, Arm.xli, vol.14, ep.908. At the foot of the minute it reads, “Est de mente S.D.N. Hie.C. Ghi(nucci).”
  208. Michelangelo da Napoli, Chronologia historico-legalis Seraphici Ordinis fratrum Minorum, Napoli, 1650, vol.I, 267-270 [BCC:57-O-2].
  209. Vatican Archives, Arm.xli, vol.22, ep.630. At the foot of the minute: “Feci verbum cum Sua Sanctitate et est contenta. M. Marsican.” On the reverse is read, “Card.lis de Carpo protector et D. Marsican. Dicens fecisse verbum cum S.”
  210. Acts 5:38,39. – Matteo Pascussi, Vita della Beata Battista Varani, Macerata, 1680, Book ii, Chap.xx, page 130 [BCC:59-E-5].
  211. You have the document produce by the apostolic notary of the time in Boverius, Annalium an.1529, cvii.
  212. Cf my small work De Origine fratrum minorum Capuccinorum Chronica fr. Ioannis Romaei de Terranova, Romae, 1908, taken from Analecta OFM Cap.¸ 9,118,120, 150,178, 214, 248.
  213. The Bull of Paul III, Romani Pontificis, 18 August 1535. In the Vatican Archives, Bullarium Pauli III, vol. 17, page 97. The Bull is addressed, “Dilecto filio Andreae Mattheo tit. S. Clementis presb. Cardinali de Palmeriis nuncupato.” Natalis Maria Cimaglia, Naples, 1762 wrote the history of the Abbey at Mileto, built by the Norman Count, Roger in the eleventh century, in honour of the Holy Trinity and St. Michael the Archangel. However I have not been able to find this history. Concerning the friendship between Cardianl Palmieri and the Marchioness of Pescara, see above, page 294, note 2. “A temporal income without a spiritual responsibility.” Leo F. Stelten, Dictionary of Ecclesiastical Latin, 1995, 2003.
  214. Cf above page 252, note 1.
  215. The letter is also published in Costanzo Cargnoni, I Frati Cappuccini II, 909-920.
  216. The reformed Observant friars in Calabria are called Colletti. Paolo Gualtieri, Glorioso trionfo di SS. Martiri di Calabria, Napoli, 1630, page 274.
  217. Francesco d’Iesi, who with Bernardino d’Asti obtained the Bull of Clement VII, In suprema 16 November 1532. See page 4.
  218. That is, Religionis zelus, 3 July 1528.
  219. Francesco Palemone da Reggio was likewise one of the first Capuchins of Calabria. Boverius maintains his memory in Annalium 1544, xlii+. He was Commissary at the death of Bernardino. Cf about him also in the Chronica Joannis de Terranova.
  220. The first friary in Mileto was an old Carmelite convent granted to Ludovico da Reggio in 1533 by the bishoP. Around the year 1550, because of the unhealthy air, the convent was changed for another. Fortunato Securi, Memorie storiche sulla provincia dei cappuccini di Reggio Calabria, Reggio, 1885, page 20 [BCC:24-M-9].
  221. The paper is torn here.
  222. Francesco da Dipignano was likewise one of the first Capuchins of Calabria. He is mentioned many times in the Chronica Joannis de Terranova.
  223. Religionis Zelus (English translation) in The Round Table of Franciscan Research. Reprint of volume 7(1941-1942) 1949 reprint, p.110-112