Letter of the Minister General of the Friars, William of Casal to King Jaques II de Bourbon
23 November 1434
King Jaques, Comte de la Marche and (by marraige) King of Sicily and the rest, was a flamboyant character and father of two of Colette’s sisters, eventually renounced the world. He proceeded to his own grave, kneeling in a dung cart, clothed in sackcloth. Having arrived, the officials of his household, weeping, broke their wands of state and cast them into the grave and the King spent the rest of his life trying to live as a humble friar!
To the most gracious and honoured Seigneur, Jaques, the most redoubtable King of Hungary, Sicily and Jerusalem.
Most gracious King - and, as I know by your fame and your deeds, a most devoted son of our Father Saint Frances. I can hardly express in words the joy of my soul when I see with the eyes of my spirit that your Majesty is pursuing with such fervour the scent of the perfume of my most devout daughter Sister Colette, already the salutary mother of such a great flock of the Lord as one could never posses with so much glory and royal sceptres and Kingly crowns or with all sorts of riches and grandeur.
Everywhere your Highness is praised. For this holy and divine gift I give thanks to the most High who has wished to give to the world of my time this bee full of marvels, who in admirable imitation of the seraphic Saint Frances and the glorious Saint Clare, has begun to illuminate the world with her sanctity and most praiseworthy increase of the religious life. I have satisfied myself of her devotion and merits through my letters and other means; may the praise for them be given to the Author of all good. Except that, if anything should happen perhaps to be lacking for herself or all her family, as much for the brothers as for the sisters serving Jesus Christ, and which I could provide by means and care, I would do it most promptly with all my heart, if it should be brought to my notice by her letters or those of your Majesty. For there is no other part of my Order which I would wish to aid and do favours for in time of need than that most religious Mother and her devout family, which she seems to have restored in Jesus Christ through the merits of Saint Frances and Saint Clare.
Your Majesty has no need at all to thank me for my support and affection for this holy work; quite the contrary, if I neglect them you should consider me deserving of great accusation and reproof. So if I can comply in anything with your Majesty’s wishes, she will have no doubt but that I am his most obedient servant in everything which is possible for me. As for herself, I never cease to pray most devoutly that she will never cease to continue with firm steps on the way of salvation. Which I have no doubt at all but that it will be so if your Majesty takes into account the advice of the holy convictions of this most religious mother Sister Colette. And, please God the day and the time will come when I will be able to see and to speak to your Majesty and to this most devout daughter. And in order to do it, if the great cares which I have here and the dangerous roads permit it, I will not be wanting in inclination.
from Basel, 23 November 1434
Father William of Casal, useless Minister General of the Order of Minors, rendering you great thanks and witnessing to your charity.