XI - Our Life in Consecrated Chastity

167. According to the opinion of holy Doctors, especially St Jerome,
familiarity with women, however holy, should be avoided with holy prudence
by the servants of God. Therefore, the entire General Chapter issues the
present decree after due consultation and profound deliberation, to be
observed inviolably by our entire Order. The brothers shall in no way accept
the care of monasteries or other religious houses of men or women, not even
for any kind of good, virtuous or holy purpose, or at the request of any
persons or nobles, nor of any Confraternities or Congregations of men or
women. They shall not provide them with confessors or have any care of
them, trusting more in the salutary teaching of the saints than in human
persuasion.
168. And since Religious, as Christ's true servants, should avoid not only
what is manifestly evil and sinful, but even what might appear to be so, we
order that the brothers shall not go to any monastery or other house of
religious women without the permission of the Provincial Vicar. He is to be
vigilant in this matter, and take great care not to grant such permission except
to tried and mature brothers, and only in case of need or great piety, and with
permission of other Superiors, as necessary.

125. In order that being pure in heart we may see God with the eyes of a
sincere heart, and become more fit for the things of heaven, the brothers shall
not have any suspicious relationships or dealings with women, or have
unnecessary, long or superfluous conversations with them. And whenever
they are obliged by necessity to speak to women, they shall stay in an open
place where they can be seen by their companion, so as to give good example
to everyone. In this way, their purity, discretion and modesty will spread the
good reputation of Christ our Lord in every place. Let them remember the
memorable example of that holy brother we read about in our chronicles, who,
setting fire to a wisp of straw, said: "What the straw gains from the fire, the
religious servant of God gains from conversing with women". Pope John XX
said of our brother the Bishop St Louis at his canonization, that even from
childhood the love of chastity was so deeply rooted in his heart, that in order
to guard it faithfully he used to flee promptly from the company of women, so
that he never spoke with a woman alone except his mother and sister, since he
knew that woman is more bitter than death. And in the life of St Augustine we
read that he refused familiarity with his sister and his niece, and said that,
however far beyond suspicion our women relatives may be, nevertheless,
visiting them can at times give rise to suspicion. And St Bernard says there are
two things which defile a religious: familiarity with women and special foods.

126. We warn all our brothers that, by decree of the Supreme Pontiff Pius V,
women of whatsoever rank, station or condition are not to be admitted into the
enclosure of our houses, under pain of deprivation of every office and
suspension a divinis. This is in addition to the automatic excommunication
incurred, according to the Constitution of Gregory XIII (which Constitution
has been declared by the Illustrious Cardinals of the Sacred Congregation of
Bishops and Regulars to apply to Monasteries that are already completed, not
to those being rebuilt, and where no religious family has been placed, but
where only a few brothers live on account of the building works).

127. Finally, we remind everyone that our dealings with seculars, men as
well as women, shall be rare and discreet, since excess and indiscretion in our
dealings with them are harmful to us and are a great obstacle to spiritual
growth.