A joyfully Franciscan view of Catholic life, inspired by St. Clare (Santa Chiara) of Assisi!

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Chiara Offreduccio (St. Clare) was born in 1194. It is said that when her mother had Chiara in her womb, an angel appeared to her and said, "your child will be a light that will illuminate the world!" Hence, her mother named the child Chiara, which means "light. As G.K. Chesterton put it, St. Clare was a romantic figure just like Juliet was. However, instead of running away from her family in order to be with an earthly man, Clare gave up everything and ran away from her family for the love of her Savior!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Chiara Countdown: St. Clare Comic Book

Alright, so I had promised months ago that I would provide a review of Pauline Books' "St. Clare of Assisi" Comic Book. I was very impressed by the comic on the life of St. Therese that they published, so you won't believe how excited I was to have found that they made a comic on the life of St. Clare! Being that the St. Clare comic is out of print, it took me more time than money to track down- for about $5, I ordered it used off of amazon.com. First of all, I'd like to thank the generous person who put it up for sale and made it available to a Clare-nerd like me!

Now the representation of Clare in this comic isn't as inaccurate as other media sources such as the film Brother Sun Sister Moon (of which I'll prob. do a review in the next day or so). Nonetheless, I did have my qualms about a few things in the comic. First, it doesn't clearly establish the fact that Clare and her sisters were cloistered- in fact, it almost tries to skirt around the issue. At one point in the comic, Clare says something like she wishes that she was a missionary out in the world. As Mother Mary Francis, PCC, says, if Clare had wanted to be a missionary out in the world, she would have done just that! However, she became a cloistered contemplative for a very valid reason, as did her sisters.

Another problem that I have with the comic is the way it represents the incident of Clare chasing away the Saracan marauders by taking the monstrance with the Blessed Sacrament to the walls of her cloister and holding the monstrance high in the air for the invaders to see. Instead of portraying this miracle as it actually happened, the comic illustrates Clare and her sisters inside the cloister praying and the Saracens subsequently deciding to go away. It kind of takes away the drama of the matter, and downplays Clare's radical faith and trust in Our Lord.

Nonetheless, I think that the story itself gives a pretty good overview of Clare's life and her love of prayer. The comic frequently depicts Clare deep in prayer and she often talks about the importance of emptying your entire self before Our Lord. The comic also emphasizes Clare's love of poverty, so much to the point where she specifically asked the Pope for the "privelage to own nothing."

From an aesthetic perspective, the graphics were fine. However, during the portion of the comic that depicts Clare before she became a nun, the people kind of resemble characters from an 80s Medeival Fantasy movie like Willow or The Princess Bride. Also, Clare herself vaguely looks like Paris Hilton, which was something that I got a real kick out of (although wouldn't it be AWESOME if Paris Hilton decided to embrace a life of poverty in the manner of St. Clare?! Nothing is impossible for God.)

In summary, I'm very fortunate to have acquired this rare piece of Clare-kitsch. I certainly wouldn't have any real hesitation in showing it to children or anyone else who wanted to gain an elementary understanding of Clare's life.


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