The history
of the angelicall virgin
S. Clare,

Dedicated to the Queens
most excellent majesty.

Extracted out of the R. F. Luke
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
in Aire.

Imprinted at Douay, by Martin Bocart
under the signe of Paris.


á2v á2r

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 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, recei ved 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 á3r of S. Francis, I meane our holy Mother S. Clare: we shall find that she by singular Prerogati ve 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 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.

Gentle 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 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 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 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.71

8. Art 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. 4.


Art thou Poore? Thou shalt assuredly attaine Salvation, and yf by flawed-reproductionapprox.2 words renunciation ć2 of 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 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 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 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.