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!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

A Surprise on the Feast of Christ the King!

Happy Feast of Christ the King!

My family went to the vigil mass at our local parish, since we need to drive my brother to the airport early tomorrow morning. I was pleasantly surprised to see that a religious goods shop had been temporarily set up in the church lobby.....there were so many beautiful, rare items sold at this shop! Since Benedictines notably have an eye for beauty, I wasn't surprised to discover that the shop was run by a Benedictine monk from St. Vincent Archabbey in PA. This wonderful monk is currently in my town in order to do a pre-Advent mission at my parish.

Thus far I managed to steer clear of post-Thanksgiving shopping....but my abstention was brought to a close when I spent almost an hour browsing the monk's shop after mass. There were gorgeous rosaries, hand-painted nativity sculptures, Christmas cards, medals, St. Francis statues, St. Benedict crucifixes, and other lovely crucifixes as well. In the crucifix section, a lovely icon-crucifix caught my eye. It looked very similar to the famous San Damiano crucifix, only it wasn't. What I loved about this particular crucifix was that it depicted Jesus' body as very emaciated and frail.....I think it really emphasizes the pain of Christ's passion. My mother kindly decided to buy the crucifix for me as an early Christmas present.

After the cross was paid for, I asked my pastor to bless the crucifix for me. He mentioned in his blessing that this crucifix was "Santa Chiara's cross." I couldn't believe my ears! Indeed, as a man who is very passionate about the faith, my pastor is a walking treasure-chest of beautiful little facts about the Catholic Church. Thus,, when I asked him to explain the part about Santa Chiara, Father explained to me that this is a replica of the cross that had been hanging in the basilica of Santa Chiara in Assisi! Strangely enough, I had assumed that this cross was from the Benedictine tradition.....I had no idea that this beautiful little image of "Christ the King" had anything to do with St. Clare!

If you happen to be reading this, Father, thank you for sharing with me this beautiful piece of Church history! Also, if the Benedictine monk happens to be reading this, thank you for visiting my parish and bringing your many lovely gifts!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a beautiful crucifix. Thank you for sharing your story.

11:29 AM  

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