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, January 05, 2007

St. Bernard of Clairvaux Comic Book

Hooray for the first post of 2007! I made my annual trip up to New York last weekend and was like a kid in a candy shop at the Daughters of St. Paul Bookstore. Among my purchases, I made several additions to my growing collection of Saint comic books, which includes one on St. Therese and another on St. Clare. One of the many things that I love about these wonderful little books- besides the reasonable $1.50 price- is that with the exception of Therese and Clare, they focus on Saints with whom many children might not be familiar. As a case in point, I purchased a comic about St. Bernard of Clairvaux, who is a Saint that was very unfamiliar to me. How wonderful it is to have finally “met” this amazing Saint!

You can order the comic book here. It’s a very solid overview of a rather complicated life. I’d particularly recommend it for young people who are into medieval adventure stories such as “Prince Valiant,” or “Robin Hood” (monks of Clairvaux= the band of merry men). In fact, when I was looking up information for this post, I came across a rather secular medieval fantasy website; St. Bernard was the only religious figure listed on the site, but he was featured rather prominently! You can read more about St. Bernard here.

For lack of a better description, the life and character of St. Bernard reminded me of certain aspects of some of my other favorite Saints. His youthful pursuit of military glory and later renunciation of his family’s wealth reminded me of St. Francis. Similar to St. Catherine of Siena, St. Bernard was called to identify the true papacy. Certainly Bernard’s charismatic preaching style was a model for St. Dominic and his Order of Preachers. Furthermore, just as St. Colette traveled beyond the walls of her cloister in order to reform her order, St. Bernard went against his own desire to remain in his monastery in order to follow the will of God.

Following from that thought, I can’t help but think of the similarities between St. Bernard and Pope Benedict XVI. Beset with health problems in his later years, St. Bernard greatly desired that God allow him to stay in his beloved monastery in order to continue with his scholarly writings. However, it was God’s will that Bernard leave Clairvaux one last time in order to help recruit for the Second Crusade. Similarly, Joseph Ratzinger had been looking forward to his retirement, upon which he could live out the rest of his years in quiet study and contemplation. However, God willed it that he be led where he did not want to go….in order to lead the flock of the Church. Perhaps St. Bernard can be a model for us all in trying to accept God’s will for us in our lives.

Since they’ve come this far by making a comic book about this remarkable Saint, perhaps someone will make a decent movie about him!


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