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!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

St. Clare on the Big Screen


It’s that time of year again….when it’s getting cold outside so I often just stay in and watch movies. One of the films I decided to watch was “Millions,” which had been rated highly by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. The film is a very well-done story about a five-year old boy named Damien who loves to read about the lives of Catholic Saints and has conversations with his favorite Saints. In the film, the Saints actually appear on-screen and become a reality for Damien. I was particularly excited when the first Saint who appears to Damien happens to be the patroness of this blog! Below is a description of the scene involving Damien and St. Clare:

The scene…Damien, the imaginative five-year old protagonist of the movie, is sitting in his cardboard box playhouse next to the railroad tracks and is reading a picture book called ‘Six O-Clock Saints.’ .Suddenly the playhouse begins to shake and a fifty-something year-old woman dressed in a white habit, wimple, and dark blue veil beams down from above into the little boy’s playhouse. She has a halo over her head, and is carrying a large monstrance in her hands. She sets down the monstrance on the ground, sits down across from Damien, and lights up a cigarette. The ensuing dialogue is as follows:

Damien: Clare of Assisi! 1194 to 1253!

St. Clare: That’s right! (in a rather thick British accent)

A pause. St. Clare keeps smoking and looks around.

St. Clare: I had a hermitage meself once . I used to go and hide up there. If anyone needed me, I’d send them a vision. Sort ‘em out That’s why I’m the patron saint of television. I was like…. human television!

Damien: You’re the patron Saint of television?!

St. Clare: It keeps me busy…you know?

Damien: Are you allowed to smoke up there?

St. Clare: You can do what you like up there, son. It’s down here you have to make the effort.

That’s about the extent of St. Clare’s appearance in the film. Later on in the movie, St. Francis makes a shorter but somewhat more dignified appearance. Even though I was more amused than offended by the depiction of St. Clare, the producers could have been more accurate without having to compromise the humor of the scene. I’d be a curmudgeon to pick apart every single inaccuracy of what otherwise is an excellent children’s movie….however, you might find interesting the real reason why St. Clare is the Patron Saint of Television:

One Christmas Eve St. Clare was too ill to rise from her bed to attend Mass at the new Basilica of St. Francis. Although she was more than a mile away she saw Mass on the wall of her dormitory. So clear was the vision that the next day she could name the friars at the celebration. It was for this last miracle that she has been named patroness of television.
http://www.lbisaintfrancis.org/stclareparish.htm

The rest of the movie is definitely worth a watch and its lessons of spiritual poverty would make the real St. Clare (minus her Marlboros) very proud!
I hope that everyone has a joyful and blessed Christmas season!

2 Comments:

Blogger Charles of New Haven said...

The movie sounds cute, and I'll watch for it. But Clare smoking a cigarette is a little hard to believe. I know that a lot more people smoke over in Europe than do here, but reading what Clare's sisters said about her asceticism in preparation for her canonization, it's hard to imagine! :)

8:12 AM  
Blogger ALL CREATURES, said...

lol, St. Clare smoking! cigarettes + hair shirts = fire danger!

(but this is really just to say that I came across your blog and have quite an admiration for St. Clare as well!)

Peace!

2:18 AM  

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