The Privilege Of Poverty Summary

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“The Privilege of Poverty” is Joan Mueller’s attempt to reincorporate the women of the Franciscan Order and the role they played during their medieval time back into the early Franciscan history that is often written without any mention of them. Joan Mueller seeks to correct that problematic gap, lacking women’s voices and experiences, in the historiography of the early Franciscan movement. To accomplish this goal, she focuses on the history of the Franciscan Rule of St. Clare which was finally approved in 1253, only two days before she died. The encompassing theme of the book is the insistence on the “Privilege of Poverty” by Clare of Assisi and the women of St. Francis that was finally granted to them one day before with Clare's death …show more content…
One of which was confirmed and supported by those who took a literal look at Francis's Testament and life, while the the other one was nurtured by rivals—the Franciscan friars who converting from a focus on apostolic poverty to apostolic ministry. Many friars had turned from poverty to preaching instead.
Pope Gregory XI was heavily involved in the lives of monastery women as he made attempts to better their impoverished life, and Mueller sees this in Thomas of Celano’s First Life of Saint Francis which was commissioned by Gregory. It doesn’t exactly appear to me how she draws this point, but Gregory is said to have “endowed women’s monasteries with revenue-generating properties transforming the ideal of living radical poverty into mere rhetoric.” The connection between his strides to assist the women of Clare’s following and the work he commissioned about Saint Francis isn’t particularly clear, but Mueller continues to reference it throughout the chapter. Gregory’s motions to try and help these women didn’t exactly coincide with Clare’s values as she is only in favor of the monastic reform that St. Francis would have wanted: the freedom from being compelled to accept possessions. The first record of Clare requesting the “privilege of poverty” was in 1228 corresponding with Pope

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