St. Clare was of a noble family of Assisi Italy and her family owned a large palace and a castle on the slope of Mount Subasio. She was born 1194 and died August 11, 1253.
From her earliest age, St. Clare always had a heart set on God. But after hearing a mission given by St. Francis, she gave up all her wealth and noble status to follow Jesus on March 20, 1212. Soon, other women gathered around her, including her mother, sister and aunt.
They lived and prayed by a very simple rule that had been given to them by St. Francis. Even though Pope Gregory IX admired St. Clare greatly, he nonetheless tried very hard to get her to not live by the rule of complete poverty. He even visited her at San Damiano, where St. Francis had place the sisters. But St. Clare firmly refused.
“Gregory Bishop Servant of Servants of God. To our beloved daughters in Christ Clare and the other handmaids of Christ dwelling together at the Church of San Damiano in the Diocese of Assisi. Health and Apostolic benediction. It is evident that the desire of consecrating yourselves to God alone has led you to abandon every wish for temporal things. Wherefore, after having sold all your goods and having distributed them among the poor, you propose to have absolutely no possessions, in order to follow in all things the example of Him Who became poor and Who is the way, the truth, and the life. Neither does the want of necessary things deter you from such a proposal, for the left arm of your Celestial Spouse is beneath your head to sustain the infirmity of your body, which, according to the order of charity, you have subjected to the law of the spirit. Finally, He who feeds the birds of the air and who gives the lilies of the field their raiment and their nourishment, will not leave you in want of clothing or of food until He shall come Himself to minister to you in eternity when, namely, the right hand of His consolations shall embrace you in the plenitude of the Beatific Vision. Since, therefore, you have asked for it, we confirm by Apostolic favour your resolution of the loftiest poverty and by the authority of these present letters grant that you may not be constrained by anyone to receive possessions. To no one, therefore, be it allowed to infringe upon this page of our concession or to oppose it with rash temerity. But if anyone shall presume to attempt this, be it known to him that he shall incur the wrath of Almighty God and his Blessed Apostles, Peter and Paul. Given at Perugia on the fifteenth of the Kalends of October in the second year of our Pontificate.”
Pope Innocent then solemnly confirmed the Rule of the Poor Clares (Bull, “Solet Annuere”), on August 9th. 1253. At the end of St. Clare’s life, this pope secure for her sisters the “precious treasure of poverty” that St. Clare, (in imitation of St. Francis), had lived from the beginning of her conversion.
One of the greatest miracles know about St. Clare was when the army of Frederick II, in 1234, began to invade Assisi and even had ladders up to the windows of the sisters convent. The whole community was in great fear. But St. Clare, calmly rose from her sick bed, took the ciborium from the chapel, and proceeded to face the invaders through an open window. As she raised up the Blessed Sacrament, the soldiers, who were about to enter their monastery, became confused like and left the sisters and Assisi alone.
Again, later on, General Vitale di Aversa began another offensive against Assisi. St.Clare gathered her community around her and they knelt in prayer that Assisi might be spared. Instantly, a powerful storm arose that tore up and scattered all the soldiers tents. They began to panic and quickly departed in great fear. The people of Assisi knew that it was St. Clare, and her sisters prayers, that had saved them again.
As St. Francis had the joy of seeing his order spread all over Europe, St. Clare also was able to see many Poor Clare convents open up all over Europe in her own lifetime.
After her death and in order for no one to steal her body, or for marauding armies to desecrate her body, she was buried deep down beneath the Church built in her honor. To the great joy of the people of Assisi, on 23 September 1850, her body was discovered.
St. Clare had two very important goals in her life. It “was to bring about a restoration of discipline in the Church, and of morals and civilization in the peoples of Western Europe” These two goals are also what we traditional Catholics have in common with her. We want to see:
1) The restoring of the Catholic Church back to Jesus’ Biblical teachings.
2) Return to the 2000 year old Catholic Traditions.
3) Return of the sacred Catholic Rites, like the Latin Mass and all other Latin Sacraments.
4) The use of the traditional blessings of Holy Water and other sacred objects.
5) Society subjected to Jesus’ Rule and Laws.
6) The restitution of the indissolubility of the Sacrament of Marriage, (only between a man and a woman).
St. Clare and St. Francis were just two people. Yet their faith, prayers, lives and poverty are still having an effect on the world. Who knows if one of you reading this blog will be the new St. Francis or St. Clare.
But we are not here to follow them. We are here to follow whom they followed, Jesus Christ. We are to follow His life and obey His teaching contained in the Holy Bible. We are so blessed to be traditional Catholics.
The original author of this blog passed away in July of 2016. RIP Father Carota.