A joyfully Franciscan view of Catholic life, inspired by St. Clare (Santa Chiara) of Assisi!
- Name: Chiara
- 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!
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Happy 110th Birthday, Frank!
Here is my post from his Feast Day this past February
This is my post from the year before, which happens to be one of my personal favorite posts.
I attribute my coming back to the Church a few years ago to Frank’s intercession. In fact, if God ever blesses me with children some day I plan on naming my first born son “Francis Joseph Parater.” Had I become a nun, I would have wanted my name to be Sister Francis Joseph of the Sacred Heart….nonetheless, Poor Clares can’t choose their own names although I believe the postulants can “drop hints.”
Since Frank’s Feast Day last February, I have read most of Therese’s Story of a Soul. Given that Frank’s own spirituality greatly resembled that of Therese, it is no wonder that Story of a Soul was one of his favorite books. The stories of their lives are eerily similar, too. Both Frank and Therese were very attached to their loving families, but both made the courageous choice to ultimately leave their homes in favor of God’s call. Both saints struggled with that choice- Therese felt almost guilty about leaving her ill father, and Frank was very sad to leave his physically weak mother. However, Frank and Therese both turned to Our Lord for their strength in times of trouble….right until the very end of their lives.
The most striking similarity between Frank and Therese are their courageous early deaths. Both died of very painful illnesses, which took its toll on them physically, mentally, and spiritually. In spite of all this, Frank and Therese vowed to offer up their great suffering for the souls of others. They even promised to give themselves to others in heaven; Therese remarked “I will spend my time in heaven doing good on earth,” and Frank’s last testament states “I shall not leave my dear ones. I will always be near them and be able to help them more than I can here below. I shall be of more service to my diocese in heaven than I could ever be on earth.”
Indeed, both saints have proven to be powerful and loving intercessors, which is a testament that they have both lived up to their earthly promises to help others while they are in heaven.
Happy Birthday, Frank! Thank you, Therese! I love you both!
Saturday, October 06, 2007
St. Francis and St. Clare
Thursday, October 04, 2007
THE SOLEMNITY OF THE FEAST OF HOLY FATHER FRANCIS!!!!!!
In the week or so leading up to today, I had been listening to a mix-CD that I made of songs that remind me of St. Francis. Included on this CD are songs like “All Creatures of Our God and King,” “Alleluia, Sing to Jesus,” “All Good Gifts,” “Brother Sun, Sister Moon,” “On This Lovely Day,” and “I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say.” After listening to these Francis-inspired songs, I began to contemplate the immense faith that Francis had.
It was certainly rash, and even foolish, for a man like Francis to suddenly forsake the plans that had been in store for him since his youth….he was raised to eventually become a merchant, like his father. When he finally decided to give his life to God, his future was very unclear. Where would he live? Where would Francis get his clothing and food from? What would he “do” for a living?
These are questions that plague many young people. In a time when there is so much pressure put on teens and young adults to define rather nebulous futures, many young people- myself included- spend a large amount of time worrying. In high school, we worry whether we’ll be able to get into a choice college, be able to pay for college, and also worry about our choice of college. After those problems are resolved and we have made it into college, we worry about new issues. What subject will we major in? Will we be able to pass a particular class? Will we be able to find gainful summer employment? As graduation draws near, a whole new set of questions arise. Will we find jobs? Will we get into grad school? The biggest question of all, “What do we want to do with our lives?”
About a month ago, I had a conversation with a young women from one of my church groups. She noted how important it is to place such worries and questions God’s hands, trusting that He will lead us in the right direction. She said something like, ‘a year from now, you’ll be looking back and wondering why you were so worried about your future when God eventually worked everything out for you.”
Francis is the embodiment of this simple trust in God’s love and providence. At first glance, it seems foolish to place one’s livelihood in God’s hands….but Francis understood that when we spend less time worrying about ourselves and trust in God’s providence, we’re able to spend more time loving and living for God and our neighbors. I pray that eventually- through St. Francis’ intercession- I will be able to embrace such a faith-filled mentality!
Below is a prayer by St. Francis:
Almighty, eternal, just and merciful Godgive us miserable ones
Our Father, Who art in heaven
We adore You, Lord Jesus Christ,
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
St. Francis Countdown: The Transitus
Monday, October 01, 2007
St. Francis Countdown: The Seraphic Father
"My Lord Jesus Christ, I pray for you to grant me two graces before I die: the first is that during my life I may feel in my soul and in my body, as much as possible, that pain which You, dear Jesus, sustained in the hour of Your most bitter passion. The second is that I may feel in my heart, as much as possible, that excessive love with which You, O Son of God, were inflamed in willingly enduring such suffering for us sinners."
And remaining for a long time in that prayer, he understood that God would grant it to him, and that it would soon be conceded to him to feel those things as much as is possible for a mere creature.
Having received this promise, St. Francis began to contemplate with intense devotion the Passion of Christ and His infinite charity. And the fervour of his devotion increased so much within him that he utterly transformed himself in Jesus through love and compassion. And while he was thus inflaming himself in this contemplation, on that same morning he saw coming down from heaven a seraph with six resplendent and flaming wings. As the seraph, flying swiftly, came closer to St. Francis, so that he could perceive him clearly, he noticed that He had the likeness of a crucified man, and his wings were so disposed that two wings extended aobve his head, two were spread out to fly, and the other two covered his entire body.