In her convent of San Damiano, Clare heroically practiced the virtues that should characterize all Christians: humility, a spirit of piety and penance, and charity. Her fame of sanctity and the prodigies that came about thanks to her intervention led Pope Alexander IV to canonize her in 1255, just two years after her death. Her followers, the Poor Clares, still play a vital role in the Church with their prayer and their works. Pope teaches on women in the history of the Church and calls for courageous women for our time.
"Behold Him, consider Him, contemplate Him and desire to imitate Him" (St. Clare of Assisi).
Vatican Information Service
9/16/2010 (5 years ago)
Published in Christian Saints & Heroes
VATICAN CITY (VIS) - Pope Benedict XVI dedicated his entire Wednesday catechesis during his general audience to St. Clare of Assisi (1193-1253), a contemporary of St. Francis and one of the most beloved saints of the Catholic Church.
"Her witness", the Pope said, "shows us how much the Church is indebted to courageous women rich in faith who, like her, were capable of giving a decisive impulse to ecclesial renewal". Clare, the Holy Father explained, was born to a rich and noble family. While she was still very young, her relatives decided to arrange an important marriage for her, but at the age of eighteen the saint, in a bold gesture inspired by a profound desire to follow Christ, abandoned her family home in the company of a friend. She joined the Friars Minor at the church of Porziuncola and Francis himself welcomed her in a simple ceremony, cutting her hair and investing her with the penitential habit. From that moment Clare became a poor and humble bride of Christ, and dedicated herself entirely to Him. "Clare found in Francis of Assisi, especially at the beginning of her religious experience, not only a master whose teachings to follow but also a fraternal friend. The friendship between these two saints is a beautiful and important element, for when two pure souls enflamed with the same love for God meet, from their mutual friendship they draw a powerful stimulus to follow the path of perfection. Friendship is one of the most noble and exalted human sentiments, which divine Grace purifies and transfigures". The Flemish bishop and chronicler Jacques de Vitry, who visited Italy during that period, speaks of Clare and her followers in the early days of the Franciscan movement and notes her sensibility towards "a characteristic trait of Franciscan spirituality: ... radical poverty associated with complete trust in Divine Providence". For this reason the saint received "from Pope Gregory IX, or perhaps earlier, from Innocent III", the so-called "Privilegium Paupertatis" according to which Clare and her followers "could possess no material property. This", the Pope explained, "was a truly extraordinary exception to then current Canon Law, granted by the ecclesiastical authorities of the time in appreciation of the fruits of evangelical sanctity they saw in the lifestyle of Clare and her sisters who joined with her. "This shows", he added, "how even during the Middle Ages women played an important not a secondary role. In this context it must be remembered that Clare was the first woman in Church history to produce a written Rule, approved by the Pope, so that the charism of Francis of Assisi could be conserved in all the many female communities which were coming into being at that time, and which sought to draw inspiration from the example of Francis and Clare. "In her convent of San Damiano, Clare heroically practiced the virtues that should characterize all Christians: humility, a spirit of piety and penance, and charity". Her fame of sanctity and the prodigies that came about thanks to her intervention led Pope Alexander IV to canonize her in 1255, just two years after her death. Her followers, the Poor Clares, still "play a vital role in the Church with their prayer and their works", Pope Benedict concluded.
By Deacon Keith Fournier
This great defender of the faith insisted on the central claim of Christianity: God can be known and loved-indeed, that is why He came into our midst in the person of His Son; so that through a relationship with Jesus Christ, man could participate in the ... continue reading
By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)
On September 4, 2016, Pope Francis will canonize Mother Teresa as a saint of the Roman Catholic Church. Her canonization is an important event for Catholics and all people around the world. Here's 3 reasons why. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - When Mother Teresa is ... continue reading
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
The most kids know of St. Patrick 's Day is that you must wear green or you'll get a pinch from your friends. Adults see the day as an occasion to celebrate, sometimes with green beer and other assorted alcoholic beverages. However, few really know what they are ... continue reading
By Deacon Keith Fournier
We need to learn a lesson from this great missionary. He saw what was good in the culture and "baptized" what could be redeemed. He respected the civil order, but never compromised the faith. Then, he went for the next generation with all his efforts, preaching the ... continue reading
By Catholic Online
Saint Patrick - remembered with parades, the wearing of green and feasts throughout the world wherever there are people of Irish descent, or wish to be -- was the patron saint and national apostle of Ireland who is credited with bringing Christianity to the country. ... continue reading
By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)
On Thursday Pope Francis celebrated St. Agnes' feast day in the Vatican by continuing the centuries-old tradition of blessing two lambs in her honor. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Traditionally, the lambs blessed on January 21 are under a year old and their first ... continue reading
By Jennifer Hartline
St. Therese helps me understand: "the splendor of the rose and the whiteness of the lily do not take away the perfume of the little violet or the delightful simplicity of the daisy.if all flowers wanted to be roses, nature would lose her springtime beauty, and the ... continue reading
By Fr. Dwight Longenecker
I was an Anglican priest the summer I met St Therese of Lisieux. I was living in England and had three months free between jobs, so I decided to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. I was going to hitch hike and stay in monasteries and religious houses on the way. ... continue reading
By F. K. Bartels
The Little Flower of Jesus sacrificed her life for love of souls. She saw the magnitude of her Beloved's love for them. She offered herself for the building up of the Church, the People of God and the Mystical Body of Christ. That is truly a ... continue reading
By Youngsun Jun
Though I am not strong enough to hold the suffering souls in my arms and carry them home, I can do one thing: I can pray for the deliverance of the souls who are in the darkness. I can request help from the angels for them. I can make a 911 call for them. So again, I ... continue reading