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The Rule of Life, Paul Zmolek & Joséphine A. Garibaldi

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Uploaded on Dec 24, 2011

Direction: Joséphine A. Garibaldi and Paul Zmolek
Choreography: The Directors and the Performers




St. Francis: Mychal Lowman
The Lesser Brothers: Matt Austin, Andrew Katseanes, Zac Jelke
The Poor Sisters: Katheryn Birch, Jenna Griffin, Julie Leir-Van Sickle, Alexis Starks
The Tourists: Meggan Archey, Koreen Boydstun, Lindsey Dewey, Anna Kenoyer, Michelle Lowman, Brenna Oliver, Gretchen Perkins, Shayla Richardson, Monte Wise, Samantha Wortham

In preparation for an artist residency at Arte Studio Ginestrelle in Assisi, Italy Garibaldi and Zmolek consulted the Legends of the Saints written soon after the deaths of Sts. Francis and Clare. Francis, son of a wealthy fabric merchant, frustrated by his failed attempts to be martyred in the Crusades, sought Paradise by martyring himself through his adoration of "Lady Poverty" and the adoption of extreme ascetic practices.

Francis' celebrity for his humility quickly spread even before being miraculously marked by the stigmata and he converted many to the Order of Friars Minor (Lesser Brothers) and, through Clare, the Minoresses (Poor Clare Sisters). Even in Assisi few know of Clare, save for her long beautiful blonde hair that was ritually shorn and now on display in the Basilica's basement reliquary. The holy virgins confined themselves behind an iron grille equipped with a small door through which the Brides of Christ could receive the Body of Christ lest the temptation of sensual pleasures overcome them and others.

Francis' and Clare's rigorous asceticism was too extreme for all but a few members of their Orders. Even in their lifetimes new, more tolerable Rules were instituted for their followers. Both saints suffered many illnesses and early death, most likely due to malnourishment brought on by their extreme mortification of the flesh.

The prosperous tourist economy of the contemporary medieval city of Assisi was made possible by the erection of the magnificent Basilica of St. Francis shepherded by the twice-excommunicated Brother Elias, who defied the Saint's edicts against Lesser Brothers having any commerce with money or maintaining any but the most simple church. The sacred importance of this edifice was sealed when Elias masterminded the hijacking of the humble saint's body during his funeral procession in order to entomb the Saint's remains within the Basilica.

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