August 11 – St. Clare
Friend and Follower of St. Francis
God of mercy, you inspired Saint Clare with the love of poverty. By the help of her prayers may we follow Christ in poverty of spirit and come to know the joyful vision of your glory in the kingdom of heaven. Amen.
St. Clare and the cat: Other more gentle facets of her character appear; her love of flowers, her custom of pulling the blanket over a sleeping nun, and the well authenticated incident of the bedridden abbess ordering the cat to bring a towel across the room and ‘not to drag it on the floor like that.’ The witnesses–her own sisters, her nuns and citizens of Assisi–all show us the ardent, determined girl grown into a commanding yet exquisitely gracious figure. She died on August 11th, 1253, and on the morrow Pope Alexander offered the white mass of virgins in her honor. She was canonized in 1255.
Clare was a beautiful Italian noblewoman who became the Foundress of an order of nuns now called “Poor Clares.” When she heard St. Francis of Assisi preach, her heart burned with a great desire to imitate Francis and to live a poor humble life for Jesus. So one evening, she ran away from home, and in a little chapel outside Assisi, gave herself to God. St. Francis cut off her hair and gave her a rough brown habit to wear, tied with a plain cord around her waist. Her parents tried in every way to make her return home, but Clare would not.
Soon her sister, St. Agnes joined her, as well as other young women who wanted to be brides of Jesus, and live without any money. St. Clare and her sisters wore no shoes, ate no meat, lived in a poor house, and kept silent most of the time. Yet they were very happy, because Our Lord was close to them all the time. Once, He saved them from a great danger in answer to St. Clare’s prayer. An army of rough soldiers came to attack Assisi and they planned to raid the convent first. Although very sick, St. Clare had herself carried to the wall and right there, where the enemies could see it, she had the Blessed Sacrament placed. Then on her knees, she begged God to save the Sisters.
“O Lord, protect these Sisters whom I cannot protect now,” she prayed. A voice seemed to answer: “I will keep them always in My care.” At the same time a sudden fright struck the attackers and they fled as fast as they could. St. Clare was sick and suffered great pains for many years, but she said that no pain could trouble her. So great was her joy in serving the Lord that she once exclaimed: “They say that we are too poor, but can a heart which possesses the infinite God be truly called poor?” We should remember this miracle of the Blessed Sacrament when in Church. Then we will pray with great Faith to Jesus in the Holy Eucharist: “Save me, O Lord, from every evil – of soul and body.” Her feast day is August 11.