The Rule of 1221 and Statutes, Chapter 1: Daily Life

Article 1: Rule

The men belonging to this brotherhood shall dress in humble, undyed cloth, the price of which is not to exceed six Ravenna soldi an ell, unless for evident and necessary cause a temporary dispensation be given. And breadth and thinness of the cloth are to be considered in said price.

Article 1: Statutes

a. Those belonging to this Association shall dress in humble, modest, and inexpensive clothes. Subdued, solid colors, as opposed to patterns and designs, should be chosen. Colors shall be solid shades or any shade of blue in honor of the Blessed Mother who is the patroness of the Brothers and Sisters of Penance of St. Francis. The penitent should strive to have only the least expensive and minimum amount of clothing needed for comfort, employment, and utility.

b. The penitent should mix and match styles and colors so as appear indistinguishable from other seculars and to avoid the appearance of a wearing a habit. Thus penitents will do penance privately and inconspicuously.

c. For evident and necessary cause, a dispensation on clothing colors and quality may be given by the individual’s spiritual director or confessor, who also has the authority to approve their wearing a habit if they wish to do so.

d. A penitent is not required to dispose of their existing wardrobe when they begin to conform these prescriptions to their life. They may keep and wear their existing clothing until is worn out and replace these things with garments that conform to the Rule when they need to do so.

Article 2: Rule

They shall wear their outer garments and furred coats without open throat, sewed shut or uncut but certainly laced up, not open as secular people wear them; and they shall wear their sleeves closed.

Article 2: Statutes

a. Clothing that is not visible may be of any color or pattern.

b. Men’s ties should be simple, conservative, and tasteful and may be patterned and of any color or color combination provided that the ties are subdued in appearance and not “flashy.”

c. Colorful ornamentation and fancy jewelry are not to be worn unless a dispensation is given by the individual’s spiritual director or confessor. Engagement rings, wedding bands, watches, and any other similar adornments, and tasteful and unostentatious religious jewelry such as medals are permitted.

d. For special events, traveling or vacations, etc., or items received as gifts, a dispensation is given herein for the wearing of earrings, other jewelry, and clothing that falls outside the Rule. Questions on this should be directed to your spiritual director or confessor.

e. Perfumes, after shave lotions, and so on may be used lightly. Unscented hair sprays, soaps, lotions, and so on can be chosen at the discretion of the penitent.

f. Female penitents may use cosmetics. The use of extensive makeup is discouraged.

g. At all times in public, a simple cross or crucifix should be visibly worn. The style chosen is up to the individual. If a penitent is already wearing a religious habit of a First, Second, or Third Order community, the habit of the Order is sufficient. A penitent can be excused from the wearing of a cross, crucifix, or habit if to do so may endanger the penitent’s life or impede the penitent’s manner of earning a living.

Article 3: Rule

The sisters in turn shall wear an outer garment and tunic made of cloth of the same price and humble quality; or at least they are to have with the outer garment a white or black underwrap or petticoat, or an ample linen gown without gathers, the price of an ell of which is not to exceed twelve Pisa denars. As to this price, however, and the fur cloaks they wear a dispensation may be given according to the estate of the woman and the custom of the place. They are not to wear silken or dyed veils and ribbons.

Article 3: Statutes

a. All clothing and accessories must be modest, simple and of moderate cost, and in conformity to the estate or employment of the person and custom of the place.

b. Penitents should attempt to furnish their homes and surroundings according to these same guidelines, i.e. modest, simple and inexpensive and in conformity to the estate or employment of the person or custom of the place. However, the following of this section of the Rule must not create more work or inconvenience for penitents or other family members.

Article 4: Rule

And both the brothers and the sisters shall have their fur garments of lamb’s wool only. They are permitted to have leather purses and belts sewed in simple fashion without silken thread, and no other kind. Also other vain adornments they shall lay aside at the bidding of the Visitor.

Article 4: Statutes

a. Outer winter garments shall be compatible with the climate you live in, and provide adequate protection from the elements. They shall be of either a solid neutral or blue color, simple and modest, consistent with the content of Article 1.

b. Purses and belts should be of either a solid neutral or blue color. Suitcases and carry bags should be of these colors if possible also.

Article 5: Rule

They are not to go to unseemly parties or to shows or dances. They shall not donate to actors, and shall forbid their household to donate.

Article 5: Statutes

a. Attendance at immodest functions or events at which immodest or immoral behavior is exhibited or fostered is forbidden.

b. The penitent should avoid the near occasions of sin in all circumstances and should strive always to give good example to others.