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Posted by on Aug 11, 2008

Saint of the Day – St. Clare of Assisi – August 11

Saint of the Day – St. Clare of Assisi – August 11

St. Clare of Assisi was born in 1194. She was one of the early followers of St. Francis of Assisi and with him co-founded the Order of Saint Clare, now commonly known as the Poor Clares.

Clare was from a wealthy family and left it all to lead a life of absolute poverty in a cloistered monastery. She and her sisters passed their days working and praying. The order has continued into our times, with monasteries of sisters in communities around the world.

In celebration of the feast of St. Clare, I invited some of her sisters to share their insights and reflections. I received these responses.

From Sr. Miriam Varney, Abbess of the Monastery of St. Clare in Chesterfield, NJ,

Saint Clare had a great devotion to the Eucharist and it was shown at the time when the town of Assisi was being attacked.  Clare’s response was to go to Jesus in the Eucharist. Here is our prayer Novena for our Feast Day:

Saint Clare, radiant light, Shining in Splendor, help us all to walk, “with swift pace and light step” in the footprints of the “Poor Crucified and His Most Holy Mother.” Through Your presence in the Blessed Sacrament, Protect all life, our homes and cities from crime and violence as you once protected your sisters and the city of Assisi.
Through your powerful intercession obtain many graces for the Church, for each of us, for our Franciscan family and for the whole world. Amen

From the Poor Clare Nuns of Belleville:

13th century St. Clare stands as a 21st century witness of Gospel hope.  She is reminder that human fulfillment is not a matter of power or prestige or possessions, but of discovering the treasure that lies hidden in the field of the world (3rd Letter of St. Clare to St. Agnes of Prague).  Clare bears shining witness that the kingdom of God is within.   She shows the world that a life full of God is a life full of hope.   She confirms this telling observation of Pope Benedict XVI:  Prayer is the language of hope — not a hope which isolates or renders indifferent to the sufferings of the human family, but a hope that gives the individual a heart for the world and thus to all that makes the world truly worthy of its divine destiny.

Each Poor Clare community is called to be an “assembly of hope.”  Hidden and apart, universal and eschatological (Poor Clare Constitutions, art. 44,1), the more deeply, fervently and faithfully we live our enclosed contemplative form of life, the more do we bear witness to Christ, the Life and Hope of the world.  Ours is a life of joy and faith, surrender and self-sacrifice which enables our monasteries to continue to offer to today’s world, with its widespread need for spirituality and prayer, the demanding proposal of a complete and authentic experience of God, One and Triune, radiating His loving and saving Presence.  (Pope John Paul II)

For more information on our community, our Poor Clare vocation and for reflections on various Franciscan/Clarian themes, you are welcome to visit our website.

From Sister Jane Marie Delevan of St. Clare Monastery in Evansville.

We appreciate your efforts to make our Mother St. Clare better known and yes you are in our prayers, God Bless you, Sr. Jane Marie,O.S.C. Happy & Blessed Feast Day!!

And now, a quick trivia question. Why is St. Clare shown with a cat in the first image? The story goes that when she was confined to bed due to illness, she continued to work. One day she dropped the roll of fabric on which she was working and it rolled away out of her reach. The monastery cat brought the fabric back to her, so she could continue working.

One of the California missions, and indeed, an entire city, is named for St. Clare of Assisi. Mission Santa Clara de Asís is located near San Jose, California and was founded in 1777 by Fr. Junipero Serra. Fray Tomás de la Peña and Fray José Murguía were the first to minister at Santa Clara. Today Santa Clara University is located on the site of the mission and the restored mission church is the university chapel.


My thanks to the communities who have shared their thoughts with us and to all Sisters of Saint Clare, for your dedication to serve the Lord and the Christian community through your lives of prayer and sacrifice, as well as through the many types of work you do in service to the community. Happy Feast Day.

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