Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Santa Chiara di Assisi

Today is the feast of St. Clare of Assisi, the protege of St. Francis, together they founded the Order of Poor Clares, at one time one of the most austere order of contemplative nuns in the world. Today many monasteries of strict observance continue to thrive - and I suspect the monastic life lived within those enclosures corresponds well to the original charism of St. Clare.
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In Clare's time their poverty was extreme and the nuns slept in dormitories. St. Clare's love of Jesus crucified was so intense, her asceticism seemed to know no bounds, to the extent that Holy Father St. Francis commanded her to temper it.
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Despite the arduous penances she imposed upon herself, the fasting and the vigils, amidst such extreme poverty, St. Clare was a loving mother to her nuns and exercised her duties as abbess with great tenderness and care, providing for her daughters in all of their needs. Her joyful demeanor and loving accessibility lightened the yoke of obedience and imparted to her nuns the gift of joy - a characteristic seen amongst all Poor Clares to this day.
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For me, the feast of St. Clare is always an occasion of joy. Happy feast day.

3 comments:

  1. And to you!

    I couldn't help but laugh this morning. I decided to burn some incense while I prayed Lauds, and I chose myrrh (which some don't like but I usually find dark and appealing.) Anyway, apparently my myrrh was old, because it smelled like burning tires. Halfway through I had to run outside with the censer so I wouldn't choke!

    For some reason I think Clare probably got a kick out of that.

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  2. Thanks Terry for sharing the Franciscan joy of celebrating the "little plant" of St Francis.
    One of my favourite images of St Clare is a smoking St Clare - and Thom's comments remind me of this picture, a movie still from the British movie Millions.
    http://pointofview.bluehighways.com/images/MillionsNunSmoke.jpg
    Pax et bonum!

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  3. That's a pretty awesome photo, Brother William.

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