August 11th is the feast day of St. Clare of Assisi. Here are just a few things that happened in Clare’s life.
St. Clare had a life of trials but because of her trust in Christ she was able to greet each day knowing that Christ was with her. When she was 15 she refused to marry. Christ’s call to religious life was stronger especially after she had heard St. Francis’ dynamic preaching. It was not easy for Clare to go against her family, but at 18 she escaped and went to the poor little chapel called the Portiuncula. There Francis gave her a rough woolen habit, a common rope with knots in it, and she sacrificed her long beautiful hair for a veil. Francis became her lifelong friend and spiritual guide.
One of the remarkable things with Clare was on August 9, 1253, two days before Clare died, Pope Innocent IV gave his approval to Clare’s Form of Life (Rule) of the Poor Ladies. In the book “Clare of Assisi, The Lady: Early Documents” it says, “…that Clare became the first woman to write a religious rule and, in so doing, inaugurated a totally new epoch for women in the life of the Church.” Clare had a vision for religious life and her order but struggled for years to get it approved by the Church. With its “privilege of perfect poverty,” forbidding the ownership of property even by the community, Clare’s order is noted for its apostolic aim: she considered its penitential prayer life a spiritually vitalizing force for church and society.
Some say that the following is a miracle and others say it is a story. It was in 1240 when a group of mercenaries, known as the Saracens, were on their way to attack Assisi. They approached the monastery where St. Clare and the Poor Clares lived to attack it. Not feeling well but knowing that turning to Christ in this time of need Clare took the Blessed Sacrament in a monstrance and placed it at the convent gate. She then began to pray for protection of the Sisters and the city of Assisi. She told her Sisters “Don’t be afraid. Trust in Jesus.” The Saracens did not attack but left in such a way that they did not do any harm or damage.
Do you have that much trust in Christ? Some days I do, other days I need some help. But I know that God is with me always and trusting in his love for me will protect me and those I pray for.
St. Clare, pray for us.
–Sr. Barb Knauf