The letter of St John Capistrano to St Colette
November 1442

It can be your greatest friends that cause you the greatest anguish. St John wanted Colette to join his reform of the Franciscan order, accept his constitutions and submit to the jurisdiction of the friars he would appoint as visitators. He was full of sincere enthusiasm for the restoration of the Franciscan order - but he was not a Poor Clare and he had never lived the life Colette professed. Colette and her sisters prayed desperately to God that God would enlighten John’s heart and mind. And God did. John completely reversed his position. Not only did he not interfere with the life of the Sisters he place the Friars who had joined Colette’s reform under her jurisdiction and empowered her to appoint her own visitators. This is unique in Church legislation!


To Sister Colette of the Order of St. Clare, entirely devoted to Christ our Lord, our very dear daughter in the heart of the Spouse of virgins, John Capistran of the Order of Minors, on the part of the Apostolic See and the Most Reverend Father General wishes health and everlasting peace in the Lord.

Desiring, with a father’s affection, to console you in the Lord, I ratify and I confirm by these letters present, and declare ratified and confirmed all the favours which the Most Reverend Minister-General has accorded you and your chaplain, Pierre de Vaux, and the chaplains of the convents of nuns which you have built and will build

I declare that you have power to appoint one or more friars of our Order to fill the office of Visitator of the nuns in the said convents, or of friars who live in monasteries (of your way of life). To these friars so chosen, in virtue of these letters present, I accord and declare accorded the same faculties and the same power that preceding Ministers General have heretofore given these Visitators.

I ordain, in virtue of holy obedience, that the friars so named accept, the office of Visitator with respect, and that they fulfil it with diligence and devotion.

Given by me, at Besançon,
the eighth day of the month of November,
in the year of our Lord, 1442.

Brother John Capistrano, Commissary General