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!

Friday, August 11, 2006


DEAR BLOG READERS- I WISH YOU ALL A MOST JOYOUS FEAST OF SAINT CLARE!!!!! I consider this post to be the culmination of all my other posts, since today is the Feast Day of the Patroness of this humble little blog.

Thus, it’s come time for me to answer the big question: why am I so inspired by St. Clare as to dedicate an entire blog to her?

The answer certainly isn’t very simple. For the past 800 years, St. Clare has inspired thousands of women to become nuns- as far as I’m aware, I’m not necessarily called to that particular state of life. St. Clare is the patroness of television, and I watch so little TV that I have the folks from Comcast calling me and asking why I rarely tune in. Also, St. Clare has been deemed to be the “lover of poverty,” and I would consider myself hardly poor. Thus, why do I love her so much?

First of all, in the words of a person who is very dear to me, when you truly love a person, it’s nearly impossible to articulate why you love that person. However, I can perhaps give an explanation as to why I love the ideals which Clare represents. I’ll expound upon two of those ideals:

For one, I love how Clare represents that no one is immune from the call to holiness and that no one is incapable of living a life entirely for Christ. Growing up, various people taught me the misguided “liberation theology” theory that God only loved those who were born into economic poverty. Moreover, so many people throughout my life have rather thought it impossible for me to ever be holy because I’m just another spoiled “rich girl.” However, Clare is living proof that even the most wealthy people are capable of emptying themselves for Christ. She and her many followers have been the rich young person from the Gospel who have given up so much of themselves that they have been able to slip through the “eye of the needle.” I suppose it’s this great paradox of Clare’s life to which I am drawn…if holiness was possible for a woman who had even more than I will ever have, perhaps I too may come to achieve even one-fiftieth of that holiness.

Up until very recently, I have viewed my life through the lens of ambition: my gifts and talents would be squandered unless I became a “prominent” person through the world’s eyes. To the contrary, Clare has taught me that it is not worldly success but rather spiritual poverty that makes us “prominent” in the eyes of God. Indeed, the world considered what she did on that blessed Palm Sunday to be an act of “stupidity”….her running away and relinquishing of all her possessions was one rash and unwise decision. Clare, who could have risen to the heights of the Umbrian aristocracy, signed away any prominence she might have had with one clip of the scissors. She went on to live out the rest of her life as an unknown, never writing any book or owning any possessions that would survive her. She certainly didn’t choose to live this life for security or escape from the world, but because she loved the world so much that all she wanted to do was pray and do penance for those who are in most need of Christ’s mercy. When the world called her to pursue a life of ambition and fame, Clare cried “I don’t care!” but instead pursued a greater ideal of praying for the conversion of that world who had fed her such false ideals. Indeed, it is that love that is a model for all of us- she loved the world so much that she wanted what was truly best for it. Whether we are consecrated religious and try to love the entire world to that extent or married men and women who love our spouse and children in that manner, Clare’s love is certainly a model for all of us. It is a love that doesn’t make sense in the world’s eyes, but certainly makes sense in the eyes of Christ.

I suppose I’m rambling at this point. However, my greatest prayer is that you all come to be inspired by Clare in the way that she has inspired my life. Thus, I’ve written this prayer for that effect:
O most gracious and loving God
Clare so loved the world that she sacrificed everything For the love of You and the love of others Clare relinquished a life of ambition For a life of prayer and penance Inspired by her beautiful life, Help me to allow my own desires to decrease And Your Holy Will to increase in my life May Holy Mother Clare intercede for me So that I may answer the call to holiness And take action in response to that call By praying for my fellow man And performing penance for the sake of the redemption Of the entire world! On this most holy solemnity of the Feast of St. Clare I ask that I may have the grace to love you more and more each day Just as Clare’s entire life was an act of love for Your sake alone Amen


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen :) I just wanted to say THANK YOU for this blessed blog! It has truly been inspirational to me (a soon-to-be Poor Clare postulant). God bless you and all your efforts in spreading God's love and light through Saint Clare in this world!

1:57 AM  
Blogger Mary Liz said...

Happy Feastday! :-D

11:07 PM  
Blogger Kelly Joyce Neff said...

Thank you, Chiara, for this love-song to our beloved Mother Clare, which moved me to tears, for I know how you feel about her, I understand and feel deeply every thing that you say.

Thank you especially for your beautiful prayer! This might sound corny, but I hope it become part of the regular Franciscan canon.

Peace and love to you!

8:30 PM  
Blogger Brother Lesser said...

You said it so beautifully. Thank you, little sister.

9:36 AM  
Blogger Brother Lesser said...

You said it so beautifully. Thank you, little sister.

9:37 AM  
Blogger Mhari said...

how beautiful, I've not been online for the past month, and am very sad that I missed this around our seraphic mother's feast. St Clare is marvellous, and I do love your blog :)

May He give you His peace!

2:00 PM  

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