St. Colette - Poor Clare Reformer

Author: The Roswell Colletines


The Poor Clare Colletines

Nicolette (Colette) of Corbie was born in 1381, daughter of a carpenter. In 1406 Colette received permission from Pope Benedict XIII to undertake a reform of the three Orders of the Franciscan family. Unsuccessful in her attempt to bring reform to the monastery of her native Corbie, she finally succeeded in 1410 with the reform of the monastery at Besancon.

Over the next three decades she founded sixteen houses where the reform took root. Her sisters were noted for their firm refusal of property ownership, whether individual or corporate, and for their emphasis on strict enclosure.

A highly intelligent and decisive leader, Colette moved easily through the territory of opposing factions in the bloody upheavals of the Hundred Years' War.

Colette's action extended beyond the Order of St. Clare to the reform of communities of Lesser Brothers as well. By the end of the fifteenth century the Colletines had communities in practically all the principal cities of France, while new foundations appeared in Belgium and England.

Eventually they also established themselves in the Americas, where there are now ten monasteries of Colettine Poor Clares.