Clare is a medieval saint and often overlooked, being in the shadow of Francis of Assisi who was her mentor. Nevertheless, she founded the world’s very first religious order for women: The Poor Clares.
Despite running away from her rich and aristocratic family to embrace poverty and suffering Clare in her writings and rule uses the word “joy” a lot and joy becomes an antidote and shield against darkness and pain. Convinced of the efficacy of one’s own reciprocal love in a community of people she said:
Love one another with the charity of Christ, and let the love which you have in your hearts be shown outwardly by your deeds
Clare’s love embraced all creation and she would tell others “to praise God when they saw beautiful trees, flowers and bushes; and likewise, always praise Him in all things when they saw all peoples and creatures”. A true 13th century environmentalist, in many ways a person who would feel very much at home today here in the 21st century.
St. Clare is the patron saint of eye diseases, the patron of embroiderers and something you probably won’t know: in a most modern way the patron saint of television due to a time one Christmas when she was too ill to leave her bed she saw projected on her wall and heard, even though it was happening a few miles away the whole liturgy of the Midnight Mass.
A Light that brightens the world
The name Clare (Chiara) means “clear and bright” and over 800 years later she dazzles out over the centuries like a lantern to help us find our steps along life’s way, and so we too can shine in the world like bright stars as St. Clare asks us to: “Help and console all those who are afflicted in any way …and to love one another with the charity of Christ and let that love in our hearts be shown outwardly by our deeds”.
Clare would spend long hours meditating on the mysteries of the cross and The Passion of the Lord and asks us to do the same. We are reminded to be “vigilant” and to beware of deceit in its many forms, to close our eyes and ears to flattery and temptations of the world and it is in “praying for one another’s burdens that we fulfil Christ’s laws”.
Clare would definitely shy away from the title of “Great Saint”. The way she was so great was in the way she was so humble. She would take her leave from scripture:
Do all that has to be done without complaining or arguing and then you will be innocent and genuine and you will shine in the world like bright stars
Clare prayed for people throughout her life and said she would bless us after her death, assuring us of her intercessions promised to us from heaven and her blessing is often used in various forms at the end of church services including Holy Mass to send us on our daily ways.
May Almighty God bless you.
May He look upon you
with the eyes of His mercy
and give you His peace.
May He pour forth His graces
on you abundantly;
And in heaven may He place you among His Saints!