Clare of Assisi: The Letters to Agnes

Overview

Clare of Assisi's four letters to Agnes of Prague bring to life a dynamic moment in the history of women's spirituality. Agnes, a Bohemian princess, rejected an offer of marriage from German emperor Frederick II and built a monastery and hospital from her royal dowry. She wrote to Clare for instructions on how to establish this monastery in the Franciscan spirit. In her letters responding to Agnes, Clare reveals what is essential to the Franciscan life, how to become a person of prayer and joy, and the spiritual ...
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Overview

Clare of Assisi's four letters to Agnes of Prague bring to life a dynamic moment in the history of women's spirituality. Agnes, a Bohemian princess, rejected an offer of marriage from German emperor Frederick II and built a monastery and hospital from her royal dowry. She wrote to Clare for instructions on how to establish this monastery in the Franciscan spirit. In her letters responding to Agnes, Clare reveals what is essential to the Franciscan life, how to become a person of prayer and joy, and the spiritual benefits of living a simple and poor lifestyle.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

The story of Clare's abandonment of wealth and position to follow Francis into poverty and to become co-foundress of the female version of his brotherhood is well known. Her intelligence, strength and importance in the world of the 13th century are less well known. . . . We are given brief excerpts of the actual letters, but we do have a feel for the times and the women concerned.
Christian History Institute

Joan Mueller's book provides a clear and concise introduction to the world of Clare of Assisi. Weaving together history and spirituality, Mueller leads the reader into the God-centered world of Clare. By sifting out the kernels of Clare's spirituality through her letters to Agnes of Prague, Mueller explores her legacy for us today. This is a fine introduction to the saint who fought for the privilege of poverty - and won.
Ilia Delio, O.S.F., Washington Theological Union

. . . this is a unique attempt to make the correspondence of St. Clare of Assisi into a resource for contemporary spirituality. . . . It may challenge some to address their own relationship to the material world and to the search for spiritual meaning, which was so focal a topic for Clare and Agnes.
Magistra

In a time of growing disparity between rich and poor, Joan Mueller, O.S.F., has written an engaging and compelling account of the importance of poverty in the lives of early Franciscan women, Clare of Assisi and Agnes of Prague. In an historically astute and prayerfully written text, Mueller locates the four letters Clare writes to Agnes in their ecclesial and political context and explores the depths of their Franciscan spirituality based in the Privilege of Poverty. Writing in an accessible and direct style, Mueller challenges readers to reflect on how Clare and Agnes' fidelity to their particular vocation can inspire today's Christians - who follow very different spiritual paths - to follow the poor Christ 'by living simply so that others can simply live.'
Elizabeth Dreyer, Professor, Department of Religious Studies, Fairfield University, Fairfield, Connecticut

Mueller has woven a fine and well-developed book around four brief letters of encouragement and comfort sent by Clare of Assisi . . . Mueller's translations are simple and flowing, and she surrounds Clare's texts with equally accessible treatments of their contemporary context and modern application. . . . Highly recommended.
Library Journal

Library Journal
A professor as well as a member of the Franciscan Sisters of Joy, Mueller (Creighton Univ.; Is Forgiveness Possible?) has woven a fine and well-developed book around four brief letters of encouragement and comfort sent by Clare of Assisi to the Bohemian princess Agnes, who renounced her rank and offers of marriage to build a monastery and hospital. Clare has proven a valuable figure for modern Catholic women's spirituality, and she-even less than St. Francis-scarcely saw herself as a theologian or writer, so access to her writings is in itself a benefit. Mueller's translations are simple and flowing, and she surrounds Clare's texts with equally accessible treatments of their contemporary context and modern application. Clare's choice of "radical love," Mueller says, should push each of us to "hear and respond to the call of the poor." Highly recommended. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814651681
  • Publisher: Liturgical Press, The
  • Publication date: 9/28/2003
  • Pages: 136
  • Sales rank: 1,148,354
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.29 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface vii
Introduction xi
Clare's First Letter to Agnes
Introduction 1
Clare's First Letter 2
Context 6
Contemporary Relevance 22
Clare's Second Letter to Agnes
Introduction 26
Clare's Second Letter 28
Context 31
Contemporary Relevance 49
Clare's Third Letter to Agnes
Introduction 56
Clare's Third Letter 57
Context 61
Contemporary Relevance 77
Clare's Fourth Letter to Agnes
Introduction 84
Clare's Fourth Letter 85
Context 89
Contemporary Relevance 106
Choosing Poverty: A Contemporary Choice 110
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