of the angelicall virgin
Dedicated to the Queens
most excellent majesty.
Extracted out of the his Annalls of the Freer Minors
chiefly by Francis Hendricq and now
donne into English,
By ſiſter Magdalen Augustine, of the
holy Order of the Poore Clares
Imprinted at Douay, by Martin Bocart
under the ſigne of Paris.
To the most high and mighty princesse, Mary Henriette, queen of Great Britaine, France and Ireland: and souveraigne lady of the iles of the British Ocean.
May it pleaſe your moſt gracious Majeſtie;
Being to publish to the view of the World, the Life of the Mirour and Princeſſe of Religious Foundreſſes S. Clare; and being, according to the Cuſtome no leſſe frequented than laudable, to bethink our ſelves of ſome grand Perſonage, under whoſe Protection it might paſſe, it ſeemed to us impertinent to entertaine any long Conſult, to that purpoſe, ſeeing your Majestie, did at the very firſt deliberation, occurse to our thoughts, accompanied with many Titles clayming to your matchles Excellencie, the Dedicatory addreſſe and Protection of the worke. For firſt, if weedflawed-reproductionapprox. 1 word the Royall and thrice renownedá2 ned 04 á2v ned Progenie of France, from whence your Majeſtie is extracted, it ſeemeth a thing proper, if not hereditary, to that Princely familie, to be addicted to the children of our Seraphical Father, S. Francis. To whom God communicated Abraham’s priviledge (Geneſ. 12.) I will bleſſe them that bleſſe thee and curſe them that curſe thee. In ſo much, as that great Honour of France, and glory of Kings, S. Lewis who (being by his Mother, for her ſingular Devotion to our holy Father, tendred to the Freers to be educated by them in their Monaſtery) ſayd: that yf he could part and divide himſelfe in two, he would bequeath one part of himſelfe to the Freers: but being he was not able, for the important affaires of his Crowne in ſo ſtrict a manner to become a child of our holy Father, he made himſelfe a Member of his Third Order; for which reaſon, he hath merited an immortall glory in the Roll of the ſaints of that Order. And indeed, what your Majeſties Devotion hath been towards S. Francis, you have yeelded ſufficient proof and teſtimonie thereof; when before your comming into England (as we are informed) together with your Royall Brother K. Lewis, now prepotent Monarch of France, you publicly at Paris, with him, received S. Francis Cord, a Symbole and Recogniſance of the Sacred Paſſion of our Souveraigne Redeemer, for which this Sodalitie is enſtiled the Arch confraternitie, as having a more honorable Inſtitution and Dedication than any other Confraternitie whatſoever. Againe: yf we propoſed to our Conſideration, the ſupereminencie of this firſt Plant of 05 á3r of S. Francis, I meane our holy Mother S. Clare: we shall find that she by ſingular Prerogative of Evangelicall Povertie, both in proper and in common, (which never any other Religious foundreſſe profeſſed before her:) merited to be in that eminent degree ſo eſpouſed to her Lord Chriſt Jeſus though Poore, yet a King, that she muſt needs conſequently alſo be (as we may ſo ſay) a Princeſſe and Queen. Which being ſo, she would eſteeme it an abridgment or diſparagement to her Honour, to be recommended to the favorable acceptance of any other than a Queen and eſpecially to ſuch a one as we have formerly delineated and repreſented. Finally: if we did but ſet before our eyes the manifold ſtarres of virtues, which render this ſaint moſt illustrious, we shall find alſo your Majeſtie, by a certaine ſemblance, to be alſo conſpicuous for the vanitie of your many perfections environning and compaſsing your Princely Robes. For should we with S. Bonaventure, Seraphical Doctour of the Church, proclaime her moſt endeared to God, the flower of the Spring, yeelding a moſt fragrant odour, and a moſt refulgent bright-shining starre. The ſame (without offence) we would proportionably depredicate of your Majestie. If ravished with her eminencie, we should breake forth, with Pope Alexander the Fourth, into that admiration, admirable glorie or Claritie of Clare, which by how much the more ſtudiouſly in all things she is contemplated: by ſo much the more she appeares Cleare, Renowned & Reſplendent: The ſame admiracion of your á3 Highnes 06 á3v Highnes Excellencie in perfection, obſerving a due proportion, would we utter and promulge: did we not know your Majeſties Feminine and Religious Modeſtie, not to delight to view the Regiſter of your incomparable and indeed unſpeakables praiſes. And likewiſe, did we not underſtand full well, that our Profeſſion is not to celebrate (Rhetorically) or praiſe, but to pray inceſſantly. We will therefore, ever pray the only Ruler of Princes, which hath ſet a Diademe of pure gold upon your head, to preusent you with the bleſſings of his goodnes, and grant unto your Majestie a long and proſperous joynt-reigne with our Soveraigne Liege-Lord, King Charles and a glorious Race from your Royall loynes to the Crowne. The enjoyance of which happines that youu may, by the powerfull interceſſion of our All-Immaculate Lady, the Bleſſed Virgin Mary: his great ſervant the Seraphicall Father, and the Angelicall Virgin our holy Mother S. Clare, (whoſe Life heer wee, proſtrate in al, humility, tender to your Gracious hands) which happines (we ſay) that your Majeſtie may long heer, and in the future for ever and ever, in full poſſeſsion obtaine, wee shall profeſſe our unworthy ſelves ever to be, and remaine.
Your Majesties Moſt humble, and dayly devoted Beadſ-women
The English poore-Clares of Aire.
To the Reader.
Loe heer preſented to thy view, the Life of a Saint; of Feminine Sexe, but Maſculine Virtue. I will not, by fore ſpeaking her praiſes, prevent the Book, but to prepare thee, to reade it with better profit, is my preſent Deſſigne. Thou mayſt (haply) find therein it pleaſe thy curioſitie, and to polish thy un derſtanding; but the mortified Recluſe, that travelled in this Tranſlation, had an ayme at thy greater Benefit. God Almighty hath made His saints renowned for Virtue, that they might be exemplary; and they which commended their beings to Poſteritie, or do repreſent them to the view of preſent tymes, wish this only Reward of their Induſtry, that others be excited by the imitation of their Heroicke actions: sadly adventuring on the Cenſure of Many, yf they may procure the ſpirituall cōommoditie of a 1 wordflawed-reproduction Say not, I am unwilling to walk this way, for I am not bound to perfection: rather eſteem thy ſelfe bound, and deferre not thy endeavours to become perfect. It is true, their obligationgation 08 á4v gation this flawed-reproductionapprox. 2 wordsgreater, that lye under the Command of a solemne Vow; but for as much as all are obliged to walke in the wayes of virtue, and it is not lawfull to ſtop, til we arrive to the higheſt point, therefore to Perfection all are bound. And becauſe Perfection can not be attained, without fit meanes; and a prudent choiſe is requiſite in this regard: therefore, albeit None, of Neceſsitie, yet in Congruitie, All are bound, to make ſuch election as may moſt readily conduct them to that Noble end whereunto they aſpire. It is no diſparagement to other Religious Foundreſſes, or the devout and zealous followers of their holy Inſtitutes, to affirme, that (herein) B. S. Clare hath ſurpaſſed them all: and in Her (though a wonder of women) it is leſſe admirable, yf we recount from whom she received Her Forme of Living. For as that great Deliverer of the Law of Nature having held fourtie dayes conference with God in Mount Sinai, was priviledged from erring in his directions to the People, ſo long as he hkept him to the patterne that was shewed him in the Mount: Exod.25 ſo that greater Patriarck S. Francis after fourtie dayes familiar entercourſe with the World’s Redeemer, in Mont-Alverne, had having received a better Law, a Rule of higher perfection, and deſcending from the Mount (not only with glory in his face, but the ſacred Wounds of our Saviours dread Paſſion in his hands, feet and ſide) delivered to his Brethren and followers to the World’s end, the ſublime Inſtitute 09 ć1r Inſtitute of Evangelicall povertie: and according to this Patterne, and by adviſe of this Unerring Directour B. S. Clare began Her Order, which hath ſince beene propagated as farre as the World is Chriſtned. It is this tranſcendent Povertie (courteous Reader) this perfect abdication of all manner of proprietie, not only in proper (which other Religious Orders have) but in common alſo (the diſtinctive cogniſance of S. Francis children) which I have to commend to Thee, as the moſt compēendious way to perfection heer, and immortalitie hereafter. Is it not a wonder, that this Angelicall Virgin, having caſt away all care of temporall things, should be in continuall care, how she might leave this Patrimonie to her children, that they might enjoy Nothing; making this Her inſtant Suite to the See Apoſtolique and greatly exulting, when she had gained this Priviledge? And yet they will ceaſe to wonder, that conſider, what extraordinary priviledges this ſacred Poverty hath annexed to it. There would be no end in reciting the many Elogies given by pious and devout Perſons to this Soveraigne Lady, this Evangelicall poverty: but let it not ſeeme tedious that I recount ſome of Her Prerogatives, confirmed to Her by Pattent of holy writ.
Art thou Poore? then thou art Rich. A Paradoxe, you ſay. ’Tis eaſily proved Povertie is the Riches which purchaſeth Heaven The Hungry (the poore) he hath filled with good things, ć and 10 ć1v and the Rich he hath ſent away empty. Luc. I.
Art thou Poore? by relinquishing all. Not only in preparation of mynd, but alſo effectually for the love of God. It is an Argument of thy perfection, If Thou wilt be perfect goe and ſell all &c. Matth.19.
Art thou Poore? thy prayers have ready acceſſe and preſent ſpeed at the Throne of Grace. The poore man hath cried and our Lord hath heard him.
Art thou Poore? Thou shalt obtaine pardon and mercy at God’s hand. He will ſpare the poore and the needy.
Art thou Poore? Thou art highly dignifyed and ennobled. Their name shalbe honorable before him. Pſal.71 To which ſenſe our B. Saviour spake, when having given S. Peter his reward of povertie Matth.19. he addeth: and many shalbe firſt, that are laſt, and laſt (that is, in celeſtiall renowne) that are firſt (to withere in temporall riches and dignities.)
Art thou Poore? Thou shalt be filled with all manner of comfort. Thou haſt prepared in thy ſweetnes for the Poore of God.
Art thou Poore? Thou shalt be protected from violence; and they shalbe ſmitten that offer injury to thee. Doe not violence to the poore, neither oppreſſe the needy in the gate, becauſe our Lord will judge his cauſe, and will pierce them that have pierced his ſoule. Pſal.33 And, He shall ſave the children of the Poore, Prov.22 and humble the calumniator. Pſal.718. Art 11 ć2r
Art thou Poore? Then art thou like to Chriſt, who 2.Cor.8 (as witneſſeth the Apoſtle) for you was made poore, whereas he was rich, that by his povertie you might be rich. And, heare Chriſt himſelfe: Unles every one of you renounceth all that he poſſeſſeth he can not be my diſciple. Luc.14.
Art thou Poore? Thou haſt gained a haven of ſecuritie; thou art freed from cares in the 4.Reg. 24. houſe, and impediments in the way. When K. Joachim was led into Captivity, all the Princes and Noblemen were caryed away alſo, and nothing was left (ſayth the Scripture) ſave the Poore ſort of the People of the Land.
Art thou Poore? Thou art freed from that Curſe. Woe unto you that are Rich, for you have our conſolation.
Art thou Poore? God will himſelfe be ſolicitous of thee, & will inſpire others to releeve thee, to their unſpeakable benefit. But I am a begger and poore: our Lord is carefull of me. Pſ.39 pſalm. 39. (a priviledge which the Royall Prophet calleth memoriam mirabilium: pſalm.110.) And, Bleſſed is the man that underſtandeth concerning the needy and the poore: in the Evill day our Lord will deliver him Pſal.40. Whence Tobit animateth his Sonne: ſaying, Thou dost treaſure up to thy ſelfe a good reward in the day of neceſſitie: becauſe Almes delivereth from all ſinne and from Death, and will not ſuffer the ſoule to goe into Darknes. Chap.4.
Art thou Poore? Thou ſhalt aſſuredly attaine Salvation, and yf by flawed-reproductionapprox.2 words renunciation ć2 of 12 ć2v of All, the prerogative of eminent glory. And every one that hath left houſe or brethren &c. for my Names ſake, shall receive an hundred fold and shall poſſeſſe life everlasting. Matth 19. and you shall (verſ. precedent) ſit upon twelve ſeates judging the twelve Tribes of Iſrael.
Nay, theirs is the kingdome of Heaven. Matt.5. Bleſſed are Poore for theirs is the kingdome of Heaven. Ponder the word, is: He ſpeaketh not in the Future, as in the other beatitudes. Whence S. Bernard. What a ſtrong wing is Povertie, wherby we have a ſudden flight to Heaven? For in the other virtues which follow, the promiſe runnes in the future tenſe, but to Povertie it is rather given than promiſed, whence it is ſaid in the preſent tenſe, becauſe theirs is the kingdome of Heaven: but in the reſt, they shall inherit: they shall be comforted: they shall poſſeſſe, &c. So He.
Loe heer the Patrimonie of the Poore: twelve Honours or Priviledges: an ample proviſion. So well aſſured, that you may call them the twelve Articles of the Poore man Cred: rather, Symbolum Apoſtolorum, the Badge and cogniſance of the Apoſtles: the contents of their Obedience, when they were diſmiſſed by their grand Maiſter and Superior, on their Embaſſie to all quarters of the World. Poſſeſſe neither Silver nor gold nor mony in your purſe, neither a wallet nor ſtaffe nor shoes to your feet. &c. Hence it is that our Holy Mother of the Church hath graced the Inſtitute of the Seraphicall Father, with the Title of Apoſtolorum, calling their manner of Living 13 ć3r Living, the Rule of most eminent perfection, and their Povertie, Evangelicall, that tread in the ſteps of holy S. Francis, ſo neerly aſſimilating them to Chriſt and his Apoſtles, that no Rank of poore, Religious or others, can ſo juſtly claime to that high priviledge, the greateſt of thoſe formerly recited.
Now Beloved yf this diſcourſe have given thee any rellish of the way of Perfection, attend to thy Vocation. Thou wanteſt not glorious Precedents to ſet before thee. Conſider Him, who (as yf Earth afforded ſomething more precious than Heaven) came to ſeek Poverty heer, which there was not to be found. Whence S Benard, sweetly: Povertie could not be found in Heaven. Now on earth was abundance of this kind, and man knew not the worth of it. Our Lord (therfore) the Sonne of God, enamoured on this Povertie, deſcended from Heaven, to Eſpouſe Her to himſelfe, and by the account which he held of Her, to make her deare and amiable to us alſo. (O worthy of worthies which the world ſets ſo little by and is not worthy of!) And be ſecure, that this thy Chriſtian fortitude shall be gloriouſly crowned. For yf his Povertie made us Rich (as teſtifieth the Apoſtle) what shall his Riches doe? Doubtless, He that was Rich with his Father, but poore with us, Rich in Heaven, but poore on Earth, a Rich God, but a poore man: shall ſoone change our Povertie into Riches, our Sack-cloth into Stoles of immortalitie, our teares into joy and exultation, our momentarie ſuffering into ´3 Bliſſe 14 ć3v Bliſſe World without end.
There occurreth now to advertiſe thee of ſome things before I take my penne from the paper: firſt that there are ſome ſworne enemies (howſoever they diſguiſe themſelves) of Poore Religiouns; that can not endure to ſee them meritoriouſly exerciſe their humble profeſſion even to begge only that which is neceſſary for clothing and foode to ſuſtaine life in the ſervice of God, as though this, were to ſeeke after riches, to heape up treaſures & the like: which Religiouns no leſſe abhorre & contemne then they flawed-reproduction1 word impoſe upōon them, to impaire their Credits viciating according to their uſuall manner that which is truly laudable: to whom appertaineth thoſe words of S Baſile Conſt Mon. c7. That ſuch ſeculars hath he knowes not what ſtrange conceit of Religious as if together with there ſtate they had preſently changed their nature, and were not men, but of ſome other farre different mold: and conſequently they wrong the ſervants of God, & think ſometimes, that they muſt ſcarce eate meate, as if they were not made of flesh and blood: and if they ſee anie of them attend to the neceſſities of their bodie, they load them with reproaches and ſlanders and turning their calumniations from one upon all the reſt, they cal them all gluttons and hellie-Gods, & think not how themſelves doe dayly feaſt it, and though they eate of ten in a day, and cram themſelves with a great deale of flesh 15 ć4r flesh meate, & powre downe wine by whole bowle-fuls, yet they gape after meate, as dogs that are let looſe out of their chayne halfe ſtarved. Thus ſpeaketh S. Baſil in defence of Religious people.
Secondly, I truſt, that as the deſire of thy ſpirituall profit cauſed the undertaking of this tranſlation (which is totally out of the R. F. Francis Hendriques) that thou wilt be pleaſed, of thy courteſie, to correct patiently, and cover charitably the faults eſcaped, both in the print, and English. Thus, wishing thee (deare Reader, by the peruſall of this little volume, all fartherance in vertue, either by admiring Gods goodneſſe, and power in his Saints, (in whom he is admirable) or by reducing to practiſe that which with proportion ſutes with thy ſex, or ſtate; mindefull of that of S. Augustine, that, the examples of the Just are not propoſed to our view that wee should be Juſtifyed by them, but that by imitation of them, we may likewiſe merit to be Juſtifyed by their Juſtifyer: I will ſurceaſe to detaine you any longer.