St. Clare of Assisi

Posted by on Aug 11, 2017 in courageous saints | Comments Off on St. Clare of Assisi

Fresco at church of San Damiano, Assisi

I was born in Santa Clara, a city named after St. Clare of Assisi, and baptized in a Franciscan parish. I have great uncles who were Franciscan friars, and a grandmother who was a Third Order Franciscan. Despite this, my interest in the Franciscans never extended past perpetuating the image of St. Francis as Snow White in the garden, surrounded by the little birds and woodland creatures. I am sure that somewhere in my dozen or so years of blogging I have misquoted St. Francis, perpetuating the myth of this (in)famous quotation so often misattributed to him,

Preach the Gospel at all times. Use words if necessary.

That encompassed my entire knowledge of St. Francis of Assisi, and I knew even less about St. Clare of Assisi. It illustrates the rather tepid relationships I’ve had with the Saints throughout my life, and the gentle awakening I’ve had in the last several years that has drawn me into the stories of these holy men and women. The Saints, I must admit, have been extending their hands in friendship for years, and only now am I responding. Better late than never is no real consolation, but writing one book about the saints in my life, and then writing a second one, Super Girls and Halos, that features St. Clare of Assisi, has opened my eyes and my heart to these powerful stories of conversion, faith, and commitment to the Lord.

Behind the accounts of incredible miracles and dramatic martyrdoms exist lives of heroic virtue. This kind of heroism doesn’t require superpowers such as flying or crushing mountains. Instead, it is a quiet strength that trusts in God, and abandons all to his holy will.

In Super Girls and Halos I explore the over-the-top heroics of fictional women, such as Rey from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and explore the virtues in these women. I examine Rey’s character, and acknowledge that her strength and desire for justice in the galaxy are worthy of emulation. And then I examine the same virtue in a Saint, recognizing how grace works through her. Where Rey becomes a ray of light in her fictional universe, I discovered Clare, who was truly such a light in her life.

My favorite account of St. Clare’s trust in the Lord is recorded in the traditional image of her holding a monstrance. In the year 1240, the convent at San Damiano in Assisi and the neighboring village were under attack by Saracen mercenaries. St. Clare, ailing and sick, went to the wall of the convent holding the Blessed Sacrament, beseeching the Lord to protect them. The Saracens retreated, and the sisters and the village were spared that night.

Dear Saint Clare, pray for us, that we may shine the Light of Christ in our corner of the world.

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