Manner of Proceeding
1. Master Ponce
should deliver the letters to those to whom they are addressed, and try to win
the confidence of those who govern the province and to whom he is carrying
letters, and he should have them write to the governor of the region and to
several men of influence.
2. Deliver the
letters to those of that region, and, as far as you can, cultivate their
friendship, especially those who are relatives of the nuns.
3. Let everyone
understand, both in public and in private, that you have come for the common
good, and the honor of the monastery and of all that region. Deliver the bull
of appointment and have it solemnly published.
4. Begin winning
their confidence by conversing with men of high birth and others on spiritual
matters, and by visiting the hospitals and other pious works, if there be any.
5. Visit the nuns
showing them great kindness and make them understand that the cardinal sent
you for their spiritual consolation. Give them the letter, but in the
beginning do not speak of reform. You should first win their trust and that of
the region too.
6. During this
interval you should give them sermons and have exhortations in common, and
speak on spiritual topics to individuals in private, and try to learn who are
the more recollected and edifying. Win some of them over to our Lord,
especially the abbess and other important nuns.
7. When you have
made yourself acceptable to them, and come to know the hearts of the nuns,
their former life, and their mistakes, begin your reform with tact. Learn who
their confessor is; if he is one who cannot be of help, advise him to stay
away for a definite time (and see to it that he does). But keep away from the
nuns until you yourself have spoken to him. Try to win his friendship.
8. You should learn
who the friar is and who the other persons are who frequent the monastery and
with whom they speak. Advise them to stay away and see that they do. Do all
you can to prevent all visiting, unless you know that some may help in
obtaining the desired end. Use the help and support you may find in the nuns'
9. Persuade the nuns
to remain enclosed for some time for their spiritual good, and keep everyone
away from the monastery.
10. Get them
especially to go to confession and Communion, and be particularly careful to
get some of them to make a general confession, to gain the plenary indulgence
and to be an example to others.
11. Help them with
their examinations of conscience and with the Spiritual Exercises, especially
at the beginning, with the exercises of the first week, and teach them methods
of prayer that are suitable to each one.
12. Try with tact
and charity to inspire them with confidence to open their hearts and reveal
their defects, and give them to understand in an unmistakable way that you are
acting through charity and love and for their own good.
13. If some are hard
to deal with, and are unwilling to cooperate, do not give up nor be annoyed
with them. Show them rather a deep charity and a persevering wish to help
14. Do not resort to
any coercive means with the nuns without fresh advice from us here at Rome.
15. Master Ponce is
not to partake of the nuns' hospitality, nor is he to take anything by way of
alms or in any other way,
16. Show no
partiality, but manifest the same charity toward all.
Matters To Be Reformed
1. The nuns should
observe enclosure, if possible, even though their institute does not oblige
them to do so. Only rarely should they allow women, if they are of noble birth
and of good name, to enter the monastery. But men, never.
2. They should lead
a common life, and no one should have a servant or anything of her own.
3. They should
recite the office in choir, and practice mental prayer and spiritual
4. They should
confess and receive Communion every week, or every month, to a confessor of
upright life and teaching—a man elderly in his ways as well as in his years.
He should be appointed by the cardinal, or by the bishop with the approval of
5. Those who
exercise authority in the region should each year choose two prominent women,
elderly and upright, who will undertake to help the nuns in their needs, to
see that they are living as they should, whether anyone open to suspicion
visits them, and everything else that has to do with the monastery.