Tag Archives: St Clare of Assisi

Saint Clare of Assisi

St ClareToday, August 11, the Church liturgically honors the memory of Saint Clare of Assisi (1194-1253).

As you know from Church history, Clare was born of a noble family of Assisi, and a serious disciple of Jesus by the time she met the famous Francis. The Franciscan tradition indicates that she had already decided as a young woman to embark on a life of penance when she spoke with Francis in 1212; she joined Francis’s new movement at the Portiuncula.

A witness that attracts

Clare was followed by other women who joined her at the Church of San Damiano. There Clare and her sisters lived simply and prayerfully for over 40 years, supporting themselves by the work of their hands. Religious life was bursting forth with new forms when Clare and Francis founded the Friars and Sisters Minor. It is noted in the tradition that Clare had to fight to maintain her distinctive vision of religious life waiting for her Rule to be approved by the Pope shortly before her death in 1253.

Let’s recall an excerpt of a letter Saint Clare sent to Saint Agnes of Prague: “As you know, i am sure, that the kingdom of heaven is promised by the Lord only to the poor, for the one who loves temporal things loses the fruit of love. . . What a great and laudable exchange: to leave the things of time for those of eternity, to choose the things of heaven for the goods of earth, to receive the hundred-fold in place of one, and to possess a blessed and eternal life!”

Let us pray for the women who follow the Rule of Saint Clare.

Saint Clare of Assisi

“Never forget that the way which leads to heaven is narrow; that the gate leading to life is narrow and low; that there are but few who find it and enter by it; and if there be some who go in and tread the narrow path for some time, there are but very few who persevere therein.”

St. Clare of Assisi

The few who find the narrow gate are those who desire to be in friendship with Jesus. Salvation comes no other way.

Saint Clare of Assisi

More than anything else that can be said of the life of Saint Clare of Assisi it is her example of being at the foot of the life-saving Cross. This icon shows us that the cross means sacrifice and service. An abbess, as an example of what the Lord would do, washes the feet of the disciples.

Saint Clare’s radical example is not easy to follow but I think it ought to be an aspiration. May she show us the path to the Lord. I believe that Clare opens a door of what Christian discipleship means.

Prayers for the Poor Clare nuns.

Saint Clare of Assisi continues to inspire countless

St Clare SMartini.jpg

The world’s
Catholics -not merely the Franciscans–are celebrating “Clarian Year,” to
observe the eighth centenary of the conversion and consecration of Saint Clare
of Assisi (1193-1253) which tradition tells us took place on Palm Sunday 1211
or 1212. Pope Benedict XVI wrote to Bishop Domenico Sorrentino of Assisi –
Nocera Umbra – Gualdo Tadino to express his own affection for the continued
witness of Saint Clare.

Saint Clare’s history “also speaks to our generation,
and has a particular fascination for the young. All Christian life, and thus
also consecrated life is the fruit of the Paschal Mystery and of our
participation in the death and resurrection of Christ. In the Palm Sunday
liturgy pain and glory come together, a theme which will be developed over the
following days through the dark night of the Passion up to the ultimate light
of Easter. With her choice Clare relived this mystery.

At its most profound
level, Clare’s ‘conversion’ is a conversion of love. No longer would she have
the refined dress of the Assisan aristocracy, but an elegance of soul expressed
in praise of God and giving of self. Day by day a fraternity came into being
within the confines of the monastery of San Damiano, at the school of the Eucharistic
Christ, … a fraternity regulated by love of God and prayer, by concern for
others and service. It was in this context of profound faith and great humanity
that Clare came to interpret the Franciscan ideal, imploring the ‘privilege’ of
poverty and renouncing even the shared possession of material goods, something
which left even the Supreme Pontiff perplexed, until in the end he too
surrendered to the heroism of her sanctity.

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Saint Clare of Assisi: a year to receive an indulgence

St Clare of Assisi saving a child from a wolf.jpgToday we observe the feast day of one the brilliant gems in the crown of Christ the King, Saint Clare of Assisi. 

Clare, as you know, is the close companion to the great saint Francis of Assisi, who some have called the “other Francis” because of singular vision of living with Christ poor. In time, Clare founded a group of “poor ladies” living together following the Rule written by Clare for God’s greater glory in enclosed life. First known as the Order of San Damiano, The Poor Clares as they have been known, live a life of joyous poverty in imitation of Christ. Clare’s Rule was an extraordinary act of confidence since the establishment only accepted the Rule of St Benedict for monastic living.

grant of indulgence for St Clare.jpg

Saint Clare was born on July 16, 1194 and died at the age of 59 on August 11, 1253. She was canonized by Pope Alexander IV on September 26, 1255. Our Saint is the patron of those with diseases of the eye, communication systems, goldsmiths and good weather. Perhaps brides and builders should pay more attention to Saint Clare!
For the 800th anniversary of Saint Clare’s birth holy Mother Church is offering the faithful –with the usual conditions– an indulgence.
The four minister generals of the large Franciscans groups wrote the Poor Sisters of Saint Clare a letter for the anniversary where they say they rely on the continued witness of the daughters of Clare today in the monastic life. The friars propose a consolidation that maintains a “healthy and necessary complementarity” among the friars and sisters. Here’s the letter: Letter to the Poor Clares.pdf
You may want to read an excellent t book on Saint Clare edited and translated by Capuchin Father Regis J. Armstrong, The Lady: Clare of Assisi: Early Documents (NY: New City Press, 2006).
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About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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