One of the interesting aspects of Franciscan theology and spirituality during the first century of its existence (late 13thand early 14thcenturies) was its reflection upon the apocalyptic nature of the history of the Franciscan Order, as seen against the background of the theology of history of the Middle Ages, that gave great importance to the Book of the Apocalypse. The visionary abbot Joachim of Fiore had introduced this trend that was developed by many others, including a good number of Franciscan scholars and mystics. The figure of St. Francis was often seen as an expression of the visions that John had in the Apocalypse, regarding the angel of the sixth seal (chapter 7) and the angel bearing the scroll (chapter 10). The aim of this issue of S+L will be to present a short analysis of this trend in Franciscan theology of history.
The Guidelines for the Sexennium(2021-2027) of the Order underline the aspect of Synodality in the Church and also in our lives as Friars Minor. This issue of Spirt+Lifededicates the editorial to this theme and applies it to our present situation as a religious family in the Church and in the world. The issue continues the historical presentation of the year 1222 in the life of St. Francis, as it is presented by the Franciscan historian Luke Wadding in the Annales Minorum. Two short articles feature Jacopone da Todi as a poet, by Anthony Carrozzo OFM, and the Patristic influences on Franciscan Thought, by Kevin Tortorelli OFM. Then follows the continuation of a partial translation of sections from the Chronicleof Nicholas Glassberger.
Three Book Conservation Alumni from West Dean College of Arts and Conservation have been awarded The Barakat Trust Major Award to be used for the conservation of the Islamic Manuscript Collection at the Franciscan Provincial Archives in Malta. Awarded annually, this is the first time the award has been given to a conservation project in Malta. The award covers material costs up to a maximum of £10,000 and the project will run until September 2023 – after that the manuscripts will be made available to researchers. Read more in the Press Release.
This issue of Spirit+Life features a paper on events in the life of Saint Francis during 1222 according to the Annales Minorumby Luke Wadding. This Franciscan historian records various events in the life of Saint Francis, which are also found in the Franciscan Sources, but without a specific date. Our aim is that of providing a set of papers on this theme during this year 2022. Anthony Carrozzo OFM provides a short paper entitled “Becoming a Prayer” in order to show the richness of the prayer of thanksgiving that Francis composed in chapter 23 of the Regula non bullata of 1221. Another paper is a translation of a study on the studium of Arabic in the Franciscan friary of Santa Marija ta’ Ġesù in Valletta, Malta, founded during the 17thcentury by Maltese friars who were professors of Arabic in the colleges of the Order in Rome, where missionaries prepared themselves to go to the Oriental missions and the Holy Land. This translation has been done as a result of the current restoration of the Arabic manuscripts conseved in the Provincial OFM Archives of Valletta, Malta, by a group of expert document and group conservators. Finally, the review features a translation of another section of the Chronicleof Nicholas Glassberger.
The year 1221 has been characterised by two important Franciscan historical commemorations, namely the approval of the Earlier Rule, or “Regula non Bullata”, and the promulgation of the first Rule for Franciscan Penitents, known as the “Memoriale Propositi”. In this issue of Spirit+Life we shall speak about this form of life of the “Ordo Pœnitentium,” which later on would be known as the Third Order of Saint Francis, nowadays the Secular Franciscan Order. Br. Anthony Carrozzo offers us a reflection on “The Virtuous Life Lived in Fraternity,” whereas Br. Kevin Tortorelli writes about “Saint Bonaventure’s Theology of History.” We thank both our Franciscan brother scholars for their contribution and collaboration. This year also marks the 700 years since the death of the famous Italian poet Dante Alighieri, to whom the 49th Congress of the International Society of Franciscan Studies has been dedicated in Assisi on 14-16 October. The editorial features the theme of our Franciscan identity as outlined during the General OFM Chapter celebrated last July in Rome.
The summer issue of Spirit+Life features a paper commemorating the 800 years of the death of Saint Dominic, founder of the Order of Preachers. The close bond between the Friars Preachers (Dominicans) and the Friars Minor (Franciscans) goes back to the two founders. The first biographies of the two saints have many common aspects, as they try to portray these two founders of the two great Mendicant Orders as complementary in the realisation of the Gospel ideal they embraced. A paper by Anthony Carrozzo OFM is entitled The Cathedral of the Heart. The Lived Christology of St. Bonaventure. It comes from the pen of an expert veteran Franciscan scholar, who has kindly offered to contribute to our aim at offering this review of Franciscan culture for the benefit of ongoing formation in our lives. Lastly, the review is offering a short presentation and translation of some introductory texts of the Chronicle of Nicholas Glassberger (early 16thcentury), a less-known later source for the early history of the Franciscan Order.
Review of Franciscan Culture
The celebration of the general chapter of the Order of Friars Minor in July 2021 calls for a moment of reflection on the vision of our Order and its faithfulness to its original charism. This issue is dedicated especially to such a reflection, which aims simply at providing some ideas that are open to discussion and which also call for a renewed effort on the part of all the brothers. The review also features two translations of sermons that Saint Bonaventure delivered on the feast of Pentecost, which is also intimately linked with the celebration of the general chapters in our Order. Another paper features a short presentation of the travels that Francis made during his life, in Italy and also in other regions, and which are documented in the Sources for his life.