Seminar: “Forming a Life to Follow Christ: Sequi and the Christology of Francis of Assisi”
Ariana Patey (Mellon Fellow, PIMS)
The first Franciscan Rule, the Regula non bullata (1221), describes life and rule of the fraternitas as “to follow the teaching and footprints of our Lord Jesus Christ” [Domini nostri Iesu Christi doctrinam et vestigia sequi]. Whenever Francis uses the word vestigium in his writings it is in reference to Christ and the attendant verb is always sequi. It appears two more times in the Regula non bullata and occurs in seven of Francis's texts. By the late thirteenth century, hagiographers and copyists were adding, and in some cases systematically correcting, sequi with the word imitari when transcribing his work. Despite the importance of the idea for the development of Franciscan identity after Francis's death, the word imitari is never used in any of Francis's writings. Taking into account Augustine's question “Quid est enim sequi nisi imitari?” this talk will be an exploration of Francis's understanding of sequi in comparison with contemporary understandings of imitari and in light of the Christology found in Francis's writings.