Thursday, August 11, 2016

S. Chiara d'Assisi

Contrary to what modern Franciscans tell you - St. Clare really loved poverty.

If people choose to gloss over the poverty of Francis and Clare, or consign it to a particular way of life peculiar to medieval culture, or an exaggeration of hagiographers, so be it. If religious seek to redefine it - let them.  It fits in with revisionist thinking and is an excuse to justify themselves.

Show me a poor Franciscan and I'll show you a friary equipped with modern conveniences and all sorts of electronic media and several changes of secular clothes and nice cars and gym memberships to lose weight.  What?  I'm just kidding - they don't live like that.

All kidding aside, in our day, thank God, there are lay people, and perhaps more obviously, consecrated religious who embrace voluntary, radical poverty. The Little Sisters and Brothers of Jesus for one, as well as the more visible Missionaries of Charity of Blessed Mother Teresa, and don't forget the Fratti Minori Rinnovati. They really are poor - crazy poor - like crazy St. Francis and St. Clare and other 'fools for Christ' sake.

The Rule of St. Clare.

Shortly before his death he once more wrote his last will for us that we--or those, as
well, who would come after us--would never turn aside from the holy poverty we had
embraced. He said: "I, little brother Francis, wish to follow the life and poverty of our
most high Lord Jesus Christ and of His holy Mother and to persevere in this until the
end; and I ask and counsel you, my ladies, to live always in this most holy life and
poverty. And keep most careful watch that you never depart from this by reason of
the teaching or advice of anyone."
Just as I, together with my sisters, have ever been solicitous to safeguard the holy
poverty which we have promised the Lord God and Blessed Francis, so, too, the
Abbesses who shall succeed me in office and all the sisters are bound to observe it
inviolably to the end: that is to say, by not receiving or having possession or ownership
either of themselves or through an intermediary, or even anything that might reasonably
be called property, except as much land as necessity requires for the integrity and
proper seclusion of the monastery, and this land may not be cultivated except as a garden
for the needs of the sisters.[...]Let the sisters not appropriate anything, neither a house nor a place nor anything at
all; instead, as pilgrims and strangers in this world who serve the Lord in poverty and
humility, let them confidently send for alms. Nor should they be ashamed, since the
Lord made Himself poor in this world for us. This is that summit of the highest poverty
which has established you, my dearest sisters, heiresses and queens of the kingdom
of heaven; it has made you poor in the things [of this world] but exalted you in virtue.
Let this be your portion which leads into the land of the living (cf. Psalm 141:6).

Clinging totally to this, my most beloved sisters, do not wish to have anything else forever under heaven for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and His most holy Mother. - Holy Rule

Did you know St. Clare once repelled the Mohammedans who staged an attack upon Assisi and her monastery was in grave danger?  Saracens were Mohammedans, today we call them Muslims - at the time, they were mercenary troops employed by Emperor Frederick II.

Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, the Saracens were the enemies of Christians...
The power and efficacy of her prayers are illustrated by a story told by Thomas of Celano, a contemporary. In 1244, Emperor Frederick II, then at war with the Pope, was ravaging the valley of Spoleto, which was part of the patrimony of the Holy See. He employed many Saracens in his army, and a troop of these infidels came in a body to plunder Assisi. St. Damien's church, standing outside the city walls, was one of the first objectives. While the marauders were scaling the convent walls, Clare, ill as she was, had herself carried out to the gate and there the Sacrament was set up in sight of the enemy. Prostrating herself before it, she prayed aloud: "Does it please Thee, O God, to deliver into the hands of these beasts the defenseless children whom I have nourished with Thy love? I beseech Thee, good Lord, protect these whom now I am not able to protect." Whereupon she heard a voice like the voice of a little child saying, "I will have them always in My care." She prayed again, for the city, and again the voice came, reassuring her. She then turned to the trembling nuns and said, "Have no fear, little daughters; trust in Jesus." At this, a sudden terror seized their assailants and they fled in haste. Shortly afterward one of Frederick's generals laid siege to Assisi itself for many days. Clare told her nuns that they, who had received their bodily necessities from the city, now owed it all the assistance in their power. She bade them cover their heads with ashes and beseech Christ as suppliants for its deliverance. For a whole day and night they prayed with all their might- and with many tears, and then "God in his mercy so made issue with temptation that the besiegers melted away and their proud leader with them, for all he had sworn an oath to take the city." - Source

Did you know Muslims used to be called infidels?

St. John Paul II recounted this same story in his Letter on the Eighth Centenary of the Birth of St. Clare. :   It is the voice of the Child Jesus which, at a time of great danger - when the monastery was about to fall into the hands of Saracen troops in the employ of Emperor Frederick II - reassures her from the Eucharist: It "will be defended by my protection"(LegCl 22). 

Isn't that odd?  Imagine Muslims attacking Christians - especially Catholic cloistered nuns?  Imagine Muslims or ISIS working as mercenaries for a world leader or sovereign nation?  How silly.

That could never happen today, could it?

Holy Lady Clare,
most beautiful among women.

Help me.
Help me to 
know anew ...

How does your lover differ from any other lover,
Oh, most beautiful among women?

Where has your lover gone,
most beautiful among women?
Where has your lover withdrawn
that we
may seek him with you?

Oh St. Clare,
Santa Chiara,
most beautiful among women,
come to my aid...
awaken my early love!
Instill in me 
a spirit
of penance,
of fortitude,
all that 
I need 
to follow 
Tell him I sicken,
and die...
Tell him.

Pray for me.
Pray for us...
Remember me.
Remember when ...

this day of graces,
overflowing torrents ...
pick for me 
which give forth fragrance,
to awaken love
and devotion,
strong as death.

your little flock
all the poor.

Speak to the
Divine Infant Jesus,
that he will
and defend 
Holy Faith
against the 
of the 

St. Clare,
pray for me,
pray for us...
obtain for us
Pray for us 
to see
and love
the Truth.


Hail Mary,
full or grace!
The Lord is
with you.
Blessed are you
among women!
Blessed is the fruit
of your womb,
Holy Mary,
Mother of God,
pray for us
and at the hour
of our death.


  1. Wonderful read. Makes one ponder the fate of so many today who have perished at the hand of the infidel.

    St. Clare and her sisters remained in prayer while the city was almost sacked. Where are we today? Do we have enough courage? Do we lack the trust or faith required to take a stand?

    More to pray about since I lack all these virtues.

  2. O glorious Saint Clare,
    intecede for us with the Lord.
    Ask Him to save and protect
    those that we cannot save and protect,
    and to defeat the Saracens
    and drive them away forever.


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