FEAST OF ST. CLARE OF ASSISI
August 11 is the memorial of St. Clare, one of my favourite saints. She was the first woman to follow the life of radical poverty practiced by St. Francis of Assisi and is the co-founder of the Poor Clares. Although I am not a Franciscan, I have had Franciscan friends, clergy, and spiritual directors instruct me on the beauty of St. Clare’s spirituality. I have also learned a great deal from reading about her over the years. Clare and Francis (2007) is a film which depicts the fascinating story of her dramatic conversion and surrender to the will of God.
St. Clare’s advice on contemplation:
“Place your mind before the mirror of eternity! Place your soul in the brilliance of glory! And transform your entire being into the image of the Godhead Itself through contemplation.”
Although she is not normally thought of as a “miracle worker”, through Clare’s persistent prayer, God often intervened on her behalf.
Twice God saved San Damiano through the intercession of St. Clare. In September 1240, hoards of Saracen mercenaries attacked the walls of the monastery on their way to the city. Clare prayed before the Blessed Sacrament and suddenly for no explainable reason the Saracens retreated. A similar situation occurred when the troops of Vitalis d’Aversa attacked Assisi in June of 1241. Again her deep devotion to the Eucharist brought her before the Blessed Sacrament and again the city was spared.
Olive Jars were filled with oil after she blessed them. St. Clare experienced her own “multiplication of the loaves” when on another occasion, she fed 50 sisters and all the Franciscan friars with a single loaf of bread. Once a very heavy door came off its hinges and fell on top of her, but when a number of sisters in a panic rushed to lift it off, instead of finding her crushed, she was not harmed at all and said it felt no heavier than a blanket. The sick were cured when she made the sign of the cross over them. At times when she meditated, the sisters saw a rainbow aura surrounding her.
One Christmas Eve Clare was too ill to rise from her bed to attend Mass at the new Basilica of St. Francis. Although she was more than a mile away she saw Mass on the wall of her dormitory. So clear was the vision that the next day she could name the friars at the celebration. It was for this last miracle that she has been named patroness of television. Powerful Prayer to St. Clare of Assisi (Via The Catholic Company)
PRAYER; O glorious Saint Clare!
God has given you the power of working miracles continually, and the favour of answering the prayers of those who invoke your assistance in misfortune, anxiety, and distress; we beseech you, obtain for us from Jesus, through Mary, His Blessed Mother, what we beg of you so fervently and hopefully, if it be for the greater honour and glory of God and for the good of our souls.
Saint Clare Pray For Us.
Let’s get to know more about St. Clare of Assisi with these 6 facts about her:
1. She came from a wealthy family.
Clare was born in Assisi, Italy, in 1193 to wealthy parents, and was taught to read and write as well as spin yarn and do needlework. She had little interest in her luxurious surroundings (she lived in a palace), and influenced by her mother’s religious devotion, Clare dedicated her life to God at an early age. She also showed early on that her calling would involve helping the poor, as she set aside food from her family table to give to the needy on the streets.
2. One of the first followers of St. Francis of Assisi.
When Clare was 18, Francis of Assisi came to preach in the church of San Giorgio at Assisi. Inspired by his words, Clare asked Francis to help her in dedicating her life to God, and he vowed to do so.
3. Foundress of Poor Clares.
At 18, Clare escaped from her father’s home one night, was met on the road by friars carrying torches, and in the poor little chapel called the Portiuncula received a rough woolen habit, exchanged her jeweled belt for a common rope with knots in it, and sacrificed her long tresses to Francis’ scissors. He placed her in a Benedictine convent, which her father and uncles immediately stormed in rage. Clare clung to the altar of the church, threw aside her veil to show her cropped hair, and remained adamant. She took vows dedicating her life to God, and that moment, occurring on March 20, 1212, marked the beginning of the Second Order of St. Francis. Sixteen days later her sister Agnes joined her. They lived a simple life of great poverty, austerity, and complete seclusion from the world, according to a Rule which Francis gave them as a Second Order. At age 21, Francis obliged Clare under obedience to accept the office of abbess, one she exercised until her death.
4. She is the first woman to write a monastic rule.
Catholic historians consider St. Clare to be the first woman to write a rule, or set of guidelines, for her religious community. At a time when most women’s communities lived according to rules written by men, Clare’s decision to compose a rule for her own community was a bold gesture.
5. She defended the Monastery with the power of the Holy Eucharist.
One story of the power of St. Clare’s prayer regards the invasion of the Saracens in 1240. As the invading forces surrounded and attacked Assisi, they made their way to the city they first encountered San Damiano – the convent where Clare and her sisters lived – because it was out side the city walls. As the warriors approached, Clare’s sisters panicked and roused Clare from her sick bed. She in turn lead them in prayer and as the invaders began to show themselves over the convent walls, she took the monstrance from the chapel with the consecrated Host and showed it to the Saracens. Upon seeing Clare holding the Blessed Sacrament the enemy first froze in their tracks and then gripped with a feeling of terror began to retreat. While they never returned to the convent again, Clare’s sisters knew that illness had Clare firmly in its grasp.
6. St. Clare of Assisi is the patron saint of televisions.
At Christmas in 1252, her last on earth, Clare was not well enough to go to Midnight Mass at the Church of St. Francis with her sisters and the friars. She became very lonely and began to cry. Then realizing that her lonely cell was better lodging than had Mary and Joseph, she began to meditate on the Christmas Mystery. Suddenly her cell burst into light, her cell walls were shaken by the sound of a great organ and she was able to see the Church of St. Francis ablaze with candles. She watched the Celebrant ascend the Altar and participated at Mass listening to the beautiful chants. She had been unable to go to Church and God in His loving tenderness had brought Church to her.