The Hermits of Brettino - the "Brettini" (1)
These hermits were named after their first locality. They lived in the hermitage of San Biago on a hillside about eight kilometres northwest of Fano in Brettino, within the Marches of Ancona, central Italy.
In 1255 they were a united group similar to that of the Hermits of Brother John the Good (described on the previous page).
They were different from the latter, however, in that they did not have only one founder.
The Brettini began when a group of men at the beginning of the thirteenth century came together for a life of common prayer and penance at a small church in Brettino in central Italy.
They built a hermitage near the church, and soon branched out to other centres.
They observed severe asceticism, strict poverty and common life. They received papal approval from Pope Gregory IX in 1227.
His further approval on 8th December 1228 in the bull, Cum olim sicut, consented that they adopt the Rule of Augustine, and in 1235 he approved their Constitutions.
A general chapter was to be held every year, and visitors ("inspectors") were to be appointed to inspect each convento and report on it to the following general chapter.
The main emphasis in their Constitutions was placed on mortification of the body. All meals were to be eaten in common.
From the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross (16th September) until Easter of the following year, they were to eat one meal a day: the same fast applied to every Wednesday and Friday of the year.
Meat was always forbidden, and eggs were served three times per week, but not during Advent and Lent.
The colour of their habit (daily religious apparel) was to be of no concern to them, but should strive for poverty.
(Continued on the next page.)