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

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Location: Virginia, United States

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!

Monday, November 20, 2006

"For All the Saints": St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

When I was a student at Notre Dame, I was a study-rat and most evenings of the week I was buried inside the library until the building closed at 2 AM. My dorm was on the opposite side of campus, and in order to clear my mind a bit I took the route that went past the Basilica of the Sacred Heart and led to "The Grotto," which is a replica of Our Lady's grotto in Lourdes. Even at 2:15 AM, the Basilica was still lit up inside so that passersby could see the stained glass windows. The stained glass windows that surrounded the back of the Basilica always caught my attention- they depicted Our Lord appearing to what appeared to be a Poor Clare nun (pictured above). Thinking that it was either St. Colette or St. Clare, I always said a quick prayer to both of those Saints as I passed by those stained glass windows. However, a friend of mine who owned a book about the artwork in the Basilica later pointed out to me that the nun depicted in those stained glass windows wasn't a Franciscan/Poor Clare at all- the windows depicted scenes from the life of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. I'm sure that this wonderful Saint must have laughed up in heaven along with Sts. Clare and Colette at my innocent mistake!

In fact, St. Margaret Mary was a Visitation Nun.....and the Visitation Nuns are an absolutely wonderful order of contemplatives! St. Margeret Mary is best known for developing the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. In fact, my beloved Servant of God Frank Parater had a very strong devotion to the Sacred Heart: in one of his dying letters he wrote "Remember, the Sacred Heart never fails those who love Him." This devotion was fostered by the Visitation Nuns of Monte Maria Abbey in Richmond, VA, where Frank Parater served as an altarboy during his youth. A very good overview of the devotion to the Sacred Heart can be found here.

Below is a very powerful prayer written by St. Margaret Mary......

Sacred Heart
Act of Consecration Prayer
by Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque

I, ( your name. . .), give myself and consecrate to the Sacred Heart of our Lord Jesus Christ my person and my life, my actions, pains, and sufferings, so that I may be unwilling to make use of any part of my being save to honor, love, and glorify the Sacred Heart.

This is my unchanging purpose, namely, to be all His, and to do all things for the love of Him, at the same time renouncing with all my heart whatever is displeasing to Him.

I therefore take Thee, O Sacred Heart, to be the only object of my love, the guardian of my life, my assurance of salvation, the remedy of my weakness and inconstancy, the atonement for all the faults of my life and my sure refuge at the hour of death.

Be then, O Heart of goodness, my justification before God Thy Father, and turn away from me the strokes of His righteous anger. O Heart of Love, I put all my confidence in Thee, for I fear everything from my own wickedness and frailty; but I hope for all things from Thy goodness and bounty.

Do Thou consume in me all that can displease Thee or resist Thy holy will. Let Thy pure love imprint Thee so deeply upon my heart that I shall nevermore be able to forget Thee or to be separated from Thee. May I obtain from all Thy loving kindness the grace of having my name written in Thee, for in Thee I desire to place all my happiness and all my glory, living and dying in true bondage to Thee.


Blogger Jiza said...

It is so funny how I found you online. I found your St. Clare's group on facebook & I was looking at the pictures & I thought, "My goodness, I know her!" Haha. Then I remembered your blog. I'm sorry I didn't get to say goodbye to you. But I hope all is well!

-- Jiza

7:26 PM  
Blogger Emily said...

I think those windows, all lit up at night, were probably my favorite among all the beautiful sights on campus. Thank you so much for reminding me of them, even if it does make me miss Notre Dame all over again!

7:18 PM  

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