Francesca (daughter of Paolo Bussa, later Santa Francesca Romana). Formula of Oblation in I Processi inediti per Francesca Bussa dei Ponziani (Francesca Romana), 1440-1453 xxii-xxix

[IN NOMINE DOMINI NOSTRI JESU CHRISTI]

15 agosto, dell'anno 1425.

IN NOMINE DOMINI NOSTRI JESU CHRISTI

Ego soror Francisca filia domini Pauli Bussa, offero me Omnipotenti Deo, Gloriosae Virgini Mariae, Beato Patri Nostro Benedicto, huic venerabili monasterio Sanctae Mariae Novae de Urbe Ordinis Montis Oliveti, coram ominbus Sanctis, quorum reliquiae in hoc loco habentur, in praesentia Reverendi Fratris Hipoliti de Roma, Prioris dicti monasterii: qui quidem nomine et auctoritate multum Reverendi Patris, Fratris Hieronimi de Perusia, Abbatis generalis praedicti Ordinis, me recepit pro oblata eiusdem monasterii, et promitto perpetuam stabilitatem de dicta mea oblatione, conversionem morum meorum et obedientiam. In quorum fidem has literas propria manu et nomime subscripsi. Anno Incarnationis Dominicae 1425 die 15 mensis augusti. Romae in praedicta ecclesia S. Mariae Novae. Amen.

Ego soror Francisca Bussa de Pontianis.


Notes:

This Latin formula is recorded in Codex 92 of the Biblioteca Alessandrina in Rome, a seventeenth century manuscript, at folio 96r. The manuscript includes copies of documents and notes gathered by Benedictine abbot Costantino Caetani, apparently just after the canonization of Francesca in 1608. Caetaini claims to have copied the formula from a collection of documents pertaining to the Oblates of the Tor deíSpecchi (now lost) that he found in the sacristy of the Church of Santa Maria Nova in Rome. This information comes from the preface he included with his copy of the formula: "Forma professionis sive Oblationis S. Franciscae Busse de Pontianis, quam ego D. Costantinus Caietanus abbas Presidens Collegii Gregoriani, domus S. Benedicti de Propaganda Fide, excripsi A.C. 1609 die I martii ab originali carta quae una cum aliis monialium Oblatarum cartis asservabatur in sacrario ecclesiae S. Mariae Novae ord. S.P.N. Benedicti, Congregationis Montis Oliveti.î

Here Francesca, a married woman in her early 40s, with two living children, offers herself to God, the Virgin Mary and St. Benedict in the church of Santa Maria Nova, located in the Roman forum and under the direction of Benedictine monks. She cites as witness all the saints in ìthis place,î most likely referring to the church, but possibly to the city of Rome. She declare that her reception as an oblate associated with the monastery of Santa Maria Nuova, occurs in the presence of Brother Hippolitus, the Prior of the who, accepts her self-offering in the name with the authority of the absent Abbot General, Brother Hieronymus of Perugia. We know from other sources that Brother Hippolytus has been a friend and associate of Francesca prior to her oblation. Francesca promise stability, conversion of her manner of living, and obedience (though it is not clear to whom this obedience is offered). Later documentation makes it clear that the other oblates associated with Francesca do not consider themselves subject to the Benedictines in general or the monastery of Santa Maria Nuova in particular. The document claims to have been written and signed by Francesca, with her own hand.