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SAINT CLARE OF ASSISI, Virgin – Memoria: 11 August

Clare was born at Assisi in the year 1193. She followed her fellow countryman Saint Francis in his life of poverty and was the founder and ruler of an order of nuns (Poor Clares). She led a very austere life, abounding in works of piety and charity. She died in the year 1253.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, in Your mercy You led Saint Clare to the love of poverty. Help us, by her intercession, to follow Christ in poverty of spirit, so that, in the kingdom of heaven, we may see You in Your glory. We make our prayer through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Jakarta, 11 August 2017

A Christian Pilgrim

 
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Posted by on August 11, 2017 in READ & PRAY, SAINTS WE LOVE

 

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SAINT CLARE OF ASSISI [1194-1253]

SAINT CLARE OF ASSISI [1194-1253]

Feast Day: August 12 

SANTA KLARA DARI ASSISI - 06

One of the more sugary movies made about Francis of Assisi pictures Clare as a golden-haired beauty floating through dun-drenched fields, a sort of one-girl counterpart to the new Franciscan Order.

The beginning of her religious life was indeed movie material. Having refused to marry at age 15, she was moved by the dynamic preaching of Francis. He became her lifelong friend and spiritual guide.

At 18, she escaped one night from her father’s home, was met on the road by friars carrying torches, and in the poor little chapel called the Portiuncula received a rough wooden habit, exchanged her jeweled belt for a common rope with knots in it, and sacrificed the long tresses to Francis’ scissors. He placed her in a Benedictine convent which her father and uncles immediately stormed in rage. She clung to the altar of the church, threw aside her veil to show her cropped hair and remained adamant.

End of movie material. Sixteen days later her sister Agnes joined her. Others came. They lived a simple life of great poverty, austerity and complete seclusion from the world, according to a rule Francis gave them as a Second Order (Poor Clares). At 21, Francis obliged her under obedience to accept the office of abbess in which she continued until her death.

clare and francisThe nuns went barefoot, slept on the ground, ate no meat and observed almost complete silence. (Later Clare, like Francis, persuaded her sisters to moderate this rigor: “Our bodies are not made of brass.”) The greatest emphasis, of course, was on gospel poverty. The possessed no property, even in common, subsisting on daily contributions. When even the pope tried to persuade her to mitigate this practice, she showed her characteristic firmness: “I need to be absolved from my sins, but I do not wish to be absolved from the obligation of following Jesus Christ.”

Contemporary accounts glow with admiration of her life in the convent of San Damiano in Assisi. She served the sick, waited on table, washed the feet of the begging nuns. She came from prayer, it was said, with her face so shining it dazzled those about her. She suffered serious illness for the last 27 years of her life. Her influence was such that popes, cardinals and bishops often came to consult her – she herself never left the walls of San Damiano.

Francis always remained her great friend and inspiration. She was always obedient to his will and to the great ideal of gospel life which he was making real.

A well-known story concerns her prayer and trust. She had the Blessed Sacrament placed on the walls of the convent when it faced attack by invading Saracens. “Does it please You, O God, to deliver into the hands of these beasts the defenseless children I have nourished with Your love? I beseech You, dear Lord, protect these whom I am now unable to protect.” To her sisters she said, “Don’t be afraid. Trust in Jesus.” The Saracens fled.

COMMENT: The 41 years of Clare’s religious life are poor movie material, but they are a scenario of sanctity: an indomitable resolve to lead the simple, literal gospel life as Francis taught her; courageous resistance to the ever-present pressure to dilute the ideal; a passion for poverty and humility; an ardent life of prayer; and a generous concern for her sisters.

STORY: On her deathbed, Clare was heard to say to herself: “Go forth in peace, for you have followed the good road. Go forth without fear, for He who created you has made you holy, has always protected you, and loves you as a mother. Blessed be You, my God, for having created me.”

Note: Taken from Leonard Foley, OFM (Editor), SAINT OF THE DAY, Cincinnati, Ohio: St. Anthony Messenger Press, 1990, pages 196-197. 

Jakarta, 12 August 2013 

A Christian Pilgrim

 
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Posted by on August 12, 2013 in SAINTS WE LOVE

 

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