II Letter of St Colette to the Benedictine Monks of Corbie
2 March 1446?
The monks of Corbie persisted in their refusal to allow a convent of the Poor Clares reform in their town. Colette's appeal of the King, supported by the Duke and Duchess of Burgundy, made them afraid they would lose the support of Parliament or that it would be powerless to defend them. So they addressed themselves directly to Colette, to get her to desist. She gives them this answer; renouncing on behalf of Philip of Saveuse the projected foundation.
Jesus + Maria
To my most honoured and reverend Sirs, my Lords the Prior and the religious of Corbie.
Most honoured and reverend Sirs, my Lords,
I recommend my poor soul as humbly as I can and may to your holy prayers and devout intercession. May it please you to know that I have received the letters which it has pleased you to write and send me, telling how my Lord Saveuse wishes to build a monastery of our Order in your town of Corbie. and several other things touching on this matter which would be to long to list here. With regard to these letters and their contents, I assure you that it was not at my request but at the urgent entreaty and request of the said Lord of Saveuse, with the approval and authority of our holy Father Pope Eugene IV, with the consent and approbation of the reverend Father in God, Monsieur the Abbot and Count of Corbie, given and granted to the said Lord of Saveuse, for the sovereign honour and perfect love of God, the exaltation of his holy name and the extending of his holy service and for the salvation of souls and the increase of the spiritual and temporal good of the said town.
I agreed to the foundation and construction of the said convent not because I had any desire, intention or wish that this convent should be prejudicial to your lordship and your province, nor to that of the churches, nor that it would be for the detriment of the poor, the deprived or strangers. For if that were indeed the case, even if the convent were to be founded and completely finished with your consent and good pleasure, I would neither wish to live or stay there, for that would be to usurp the rights of others. But, before God, I believe that this said building would be for the honour or God and of yourselves, to the credit of your monastery, and profitable to it, as well as for the strengthening of yourselves and of the townspeople. as I have always witnessed and found by my own experience, in every place where our convents have been built, whether in large, average, or small towns, including ones smaller and poorer than Corbie, I have seen nothing that has not been provided by God’s bounty, without detriment or loss to anyone else. Niether the nobles, nor the inhabitants, religious or secular, have suffered any dishonour or loss, but have profited spiritually and temporally and have suffered any dishonour or loss, but have profited spiritually and temporally and have been consoled and strengthened thereby.
You ask me to agree to desist from the building of this convent, which I do, with regret, because I have no doubt that once you stand before him, the Lord would judge that you have no right to prevent so great a good.
Nevertheless, at you request I will notify his Lordship asking him to agree to desist from the said convent and to leave off the work, and that you have all judged against allowing the said monastery to be built during your lifetime as long as you can put up any resistance to it.
Most honoured and reverend Sirs, I humbly beg the Holy Spirit to keep you always in his holy grace and finally to bring you to everlasting glory.
Written at Hesdin,
the 2nd of March.
Your useless handmaid who prays for you,