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Thursday, August 11, 2011

St. Clare of Assisi - August 11

Saint Clare of Assisi
August 11

“The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom do I fear?” (Psalm 27:1)

Clare, the Latin origin of her name means, clear and luminous was born to a wealthy family in Assisi, Italy in 1194 (by some accounts 1193). At eighteen years of age when St. Francis came to teach a course in the church of San Giorgio at Assisi, she was inspired by his words and the Holy Spirit enflamed in her soul. She left her home and all her riches to follow in the steps of St. Francis, finally founding the order of the Poor Clare Nuns with approval by Pope Gregory IX in 1228.

Though, during her life, many miracles were attributed to the prayers and petitions of God’s servant St. Clare, the most famous was that which God performed due to St. Clare’s faith in Our Lord’s real presence in the Holy Eucharist.

“By imperial order, regiments of Saracen soldiers and bowmen were stationed there (near Assisi), massed like bees, ready to devastate the encampments and seize the cities.  Once, during an enemy attack against Assisi, city beloved of the Lord, and while the army was already approaching the gates, the fierce Sarcens invaded San Damiano, entered the confines of the monastery….St. Clare, with a fearless heart, commanded them (her fellow sisters) to lead her, sick as she was, to the door, preceded by a silver and ivory case in which the Body of the Saint of saints was kept with great devotion.  Prostrating herself before the Lord, she spoke tearfully to her Christ:  ‘Behold, my Lord, is it possible that You wish to deliver these Your defenseless handmaids, whom I have taught for love for You, into the hands of pagans?  I pray You, Lord, protect these Your handmaids whom I cannot save alone.’  Suddenly a voice like that of a child resounded in her ears from the tabernacle: ‘I will always protect you!’  ‘My Lord,’ she added, ‘if it is Your will, protect also this city which sustains us for love of You.’  Christ replied, ‘It will have to undergo trials, but it will be defended by My protection.’  Then the virgin, raising a face bathed in tears, comforted her weeping sister:  ‘I assure you, daughters, that you will suffer no harm; only have faith in Christ.’  There was no delay; the fierce Saracens were immediately filled with fear and fled back over the walls they had scaled.”  (The Eucharistic Miracles of the World, catalogue of the Vatican International Exhibition, page 276-277)

The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom do I fear?
The Lord is my life’s refuge;
of whom am I afraid?
When evildoers come at me
to devour my flesh,
These my enemies and foes
themselves stumble and fall.
Though an army encamp against me,
my heart does not fear;
Though war be waged against me,
even then do I trust.
One thing I ask of the Lord;
this I seek:
To dwell in the Lord’s house
all the days of my life. (Psalm 27: 1- 4)

St. Clare and the Assault on Assisi, Giuseppe Cesari (Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia)
Icon in the Basilica of St. Clare of Assisi
Portion of Altarpiece of San Francesco al Monte

1 comment:

  1. Hi,

    I especially love the part of the story when the enemy was trying to climb the walls of San Damiano and Saint Clare took The Blessed Sacrament and held it up high, and the bad guys all turned around and ran away.

    Psalm 119:105, Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a Light unto my path.