The Order of Minims in Seventeenth-Century France
thinking of the text from the Dies frae (S. Matthew, XXV, 40). It is also probable that this other Saint Francis, partly out of admiration for his illustrious compatriot of Assisi and partly from a compelling urge to be superlative in all things, chose the title in opposition to the Franciscans, the Fratres Minori,l who had previously adopted this style taken from Saint Matthew, XXIII, 8. The title "Minim" was confirmed in these words" . . . eosque Eremitos Ordinis Minimorum Fratrum Eremitarum F. Francesci de Paula in posterum nuncupari," taken from the Papal Bull, Meritis religiosae vitae, of 26 February, 1493. The earliest reference to the Order in France is in a fragment preserved in the Bibliotheque de l' Arsenal called, La regle et vie de Frere Franfois, pauvre et humble hermite de Paule, laquelle donne a tous ses 2 freres voulant entrer et vivre en son ordre. The dating of this manuscript should be accepted with considerable reserve; it bears a clearly legible "1474," although it seems most unlikely that any reference to an Order occurred before the Bull of 1493 or that any Rule appeared in French before the Founder's visit to Louis XI in 1483. 3 The fame of Francis and his reputation as a "guerisseur" had reached the French court where Louis XI was sick and dying; the King summoned him to the chateau of Le Plessis-Ies-Tours, but it required the intervention of the Pope to make the hermit undertake the journey.
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