Readings & Reflections: Friday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time & Memorial of Saint Claire, August 11,2017

Readings & Reflections: Friday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time & Memorial of Saint Claire, August 11,2017

Of noble birth and reputed beauty, Clare heard Francis of Assisi preach a Lenten retreat in 1212 A.D. Captivated by this new witness of a life “after the manner of the holy Gospel,” Clare stole from her home on the night of Palm Sunday to join Francis. With him she co-founded the Poor Clares, establishing a first house at San Damiano. The women went barefoot, wore rough tunics, and begged for food. Saint Francis made her the head of the order of women, who devoted themselves to Eucharistic prayer and joyful poverty. It was in 1234 A.D. that Clare famously displayed the Blessed Sacrament on the convent wall as Frederick II’s army attacked. Prostrating herself, she prayed, “Good Lord, I beg you: defend those I cannot protect.” When Clare raised the ciborium, the soldiers scattered. In imitation of Christ, Clare desired to be the servant of all. “Do what you want with me,” she told her sisters; “I am yours because my will is no longer my own. I have given it to God.” For the next forty years she lived in a convent attached to the church of San Damiano, leading the young women who joined her, the first Poor Clares. When Innocent IV composed a rule for her nuns that permitted them to receive an annual living, Clare responded with her own stricter version, the first women’s rule written by a woman. She died in 1253 A.D. with the approved rule in her hand and was canonized only two years later.

Opening Prayer

“Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and all my will, all that I have and possess.  You have given them to me; to you, O Lord, I restore them; all things are yours, dispose of them according to your will.  Give me your love and your grace, for this is enough for me.” Amen. (Prayer of Ignatius of Loyola, 1491-1556)

Reading I
Dt 4:32-40
Moses said to the people:
“Ask now of the days of old, before your time,
ever since God created man upon the earth;
ask from one end of the sky to the other:
Did anything so great ever happen before?
Was it ever heard of?
Did a people ever hear the voice of God
speaking from the midst of fire, as you did, and live?
Or did any god venture to go and take a nation for himself
from the midst of another nation,
by testings, by signs and wonders, by war,
with his strong hand and outstretched arm, and by great terrors,
all of which the LORD, your God,
did for you in Egypt before your very eyes?
All this you were allowed to see
that you might know the LORD is God and there is no other.
Out of the heavens he let you hear his voice to discipline you;
on earth he let you see his great fire,
and you heard him speaking out of the fire.
For love of your fathers he chose their descendants
and personally led you out of Egypt by his great power,
driving out of your way nations greater and mightier than you,
so as to bring you in
and to make their land your heritage, as it is today.
This is why you must now know, and fix in your heart,
that the LORD is God in the heavens above and on earth below,
and that there is no other.
You must keep his statutes and commandments which I enjoin on you today,
that you and your children after you may prosper,
and that you may have long life on the land
which the LORD, your God, is giving you forever.”

The word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 77:12-13, 14-15, 16 and 21

R. (12a) I remember the deeds of the Lord.
I remember the deeds of the LORD;
yes, I remember your wonders of old.
And I meditate on your works;
your exploits I ponder.
R. I remember the deeds of the Lord.
O God, your way is holy;
what great god is there like our God?
You are the God who works wonders;
among the peoples you have made known your power.
R. I remember the deeds of the Lord.
With your strong arm you redeemed your people,
the sons of Jacob and Joseph.
You led your people like a flock
under the care of Moses and Aaron.
R. I remember the deeds of the Lord.

Mt 16:24-28

Jesus said to his disciples,
“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself,
take up his cross, and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world
and forfeit his life?
Or what can one give in exchange for his life?
For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s glory,
and then he will repay each according to his conduct.
Amen, I say to you, there are some standing here
who will not taste death
until they see the Son of Man coming in his Kingdom.”

The Gospel of the Lord.

Reflection 1 – Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself

When Jesus said, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me”, He meant that we have to suffer and die for His cause just as we should have the decision to do the will of God whatever the cost may be.

When we deny our old drives, aspirations, dreams, inclinations and plans and decide to choose God’s will for us, we are actually picking up our cross and carrying it. By choosing to do God’s will no matter how difficult it could be, we actually lose our old self and we are transformed to the new creation that God has wanted us to be. By giving up our old life, we find our new life in Jesus, our Lord and Savior.

Not a lot of us will be asked to die for God’s cause. But what our Lord wants is for us to be able to die to ourselves, again and again, as we do His work and relate with one another. He wants us to yield to His control without any reservation and conditions so that we do not claim any rights whatsoever.

When Jesus said that we should take up our cross, He wanted us to open our hearts and minds into accepting and enduring what could be shameful, difficult and bitter, even to the point of martyrdom for His cause. Jesus’ will is for us to die to our sins, our world and our very own self. To follow Him, He wants us to live His life of compassion, love, mercy and humility.

What was just revealed to us is the path we all have to take if we will ever consider discipleship in Christ. Every one who comes to our Lord and hears His words and does them is a true disciple. He is like a man building a house, who dug deep, and laid the foundation upon rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house, and could not shake it, because it had been well built.

Today, God is calling all of us to give up self (SELF DENIAL) and allow Jesus to prevail in every aspect of our lives. He wants us to be firmly founded on Jesus, live His life and allow ourselves to be subsumed by His will, so that we can truly say that we are one with Him and in Him we live and move and have our being!


Surrender our lives to God and allow Him to freely work in our lives.


Heavenly Father, with your grace, transform me into a true disciple of your Son, our Lord Jesus. In Him, I pray. Amen.

Reflection 2 – Whoever loses his life for my sake will find it

What is the most important investment you can make with your life? Jesus poses some probing questions to challenge our assumptions about what is most profitable and worthwhile. In every decision of life we are making ourselves a certain kind of person. The kind of person we are, our character, determines to a large extent the kind of future we will face and live. It is possible that some can gain all the things they set their heart on, only to wake up suddenly and discover that they missed the most important things of all. Of what value are material things if they don’t help you gain what truly lasts in eternity. Neither money nor possessions can buy heaven, mend a broken heart, or cheer a lonely person.

The great exchange – my life for His Life
Jesus asks the question: What will a person give in exchange for his or her life? Everything we have is an out-right gift from God. We owe him everything, including our very lives. It’s possible to give God our money, but not ourselves, or to give him lip-service, but not our hearts. A true disciple gladly gives up all that he or she has in exchange for an unending life of joy and happiness with God. God gives without measure. The joy he offers no sadness or loss can diminish.

True freedom and gain
The cross of Christ leads to victory and freedom from sin, despair, and death. What is the cross which Jesus Christ commands me to take up each day? When my will crosses with his will, thenhis will must be done. Are you ready to lose all for Jesus Christ in order to gain all with Jesus Christ?

“Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and all my will, all that I have and possess. You have given them to me; to you, O Lord, I restore them; all things are yours, dispose of them according to your will. Give me your love and your grace, for this is enough for me.” (Prayer of Ignatius of Loyola, 1491-1556) – Read the source:

Reflection 3 – The discipline in discipleship

Jesus made it clear that suffering is an unavoidable part of being his follower. There can be no Christian discipleship without suffering. Why then would anyone want to be Jesus’ follower? What is to be gained? Today’s gospel (Mt 16:24-28) offers an answer. Not to follow Christ does not translate into the avoidance of suffering but into the loss of life itself as shown the following example: A child in the womb refusing to be born because of the inconvenience of childbirth fails to live. However comfortable womb-life may be, a child must go through the distress of delivery. “Whoever wishes to save his life will lose it” (Mt 16:25).

Today’s gospel promises a reward in the next life for those who suffer with Christ in this one. While this reasoning may be compelling, it is somewhat mercenary and self-centered. It is akin to the “no pain, no gain” of runners and physical exercise mavens. It smacks of an attitude that says, “It’s all about me.”

There is, I think, a more noble reason for carrying the cross behind Christ, a reason less self-serving and more generous. Acceptance of the cross allows a person to identify with Christ in the great mission of redeeming the world. St. Paul made a surprising statement in explaining his willingness to suffer. He said, “I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body the church” (Col 1:24). He did not imply that Christ’s passion was inadequate. He did claim that Christ’s followers were to share in the Master’s suffering and bring that redeeming power into the world.

God much prefers to do things with us rather that for us. It is part of the divine plan that we are to join the Son of Man in the process of salvation. Christians are called to live far beyond themselves, to participate in an adventure in which they can give their best for such a noble cause that they find a new life in eternity. (Source: Fr. Norman Langenbrunner, Weekday Homily Helps. Ohio: St. Anthony Messenger Press, August 8,2008).

Reflection 4 – Choose Life

In Deuteronomy 4:32-40, the Israelites in the desert are presented with a choice: Follow the commandments and keep the covenant of the Lord, or don’t. For them and for a great many people today, it seems clear that following a bunch of “outmoded rules” is a restriction of freedom; it is no way to live life to the fullest. Moses exhorts them to choose life, and it is clear that things are not as they seem.

Though the Law proved impossible to keep (even St. Paul, who claimed to have never broken a commandment, still confessed that he would be found guilty under the Law), it was a small thing compared to the challenge Jesus presents. It is hard enough to carry the burden of a tithe but Jesus proposes that his followers carry the cross – the instrument of their own torture and death (Mt 16:24-28). The Law limits how severely enemies can be punished – an eye for an eye (Mt 5:38); Jesus tells us we must love them, pray for them (Mt 5:44). Jesus has replaced an impossible standard with an unfathomable standard. We can scarcely understand what he asks; we have little hope of performing to his standard.

But, as with the Israelites, our part of the bargain isn’t so much in the performance as in the choice. Do we choose to follow Christ, even though we stumble at every step? Are we willing to be held to an impossible standard, to fail miserably, because it is the path of someone we love? In following Christ, we cannot look at the road; we must always look at him (Peter was able to walk on water until he looked down).

The stories of the saints bear witness that, though no one is perfect, the difficult is routine and the impossible not unusual in the lives of those whose sole focus is following Christ. (Source: Kathleen M. Carroll. Weekday Homily Helps. Ohio: St. Anthony Messenger Press, August 7, 2009).

Reflection 5 – Are You Prepared?

The foolishness of fools is folly. –Proverbs 14:24

Intelligent people can sometimes be unbelievably foolish. Consider the 19th-century explorers of the Franklin Expedition who tried to reach the North Pole. Annie Dillard, in her book Teaching A Stone To Talk, describes the provisions they took for that hazardous journey:

“Each sailing vessel carried an auxiliary steam engine and a 12-day supply of coal for the entire projected 2- or 3-year voyage. Instead of additional coal . . . each ship made room for a 1,200-volume library, a hand-organ playing 50 tunes, china place settings for officers and men, cut-glass wine goblets, and sterling silver flatware. The expedition carried no special clothing for the Arctic, only the uniforms of Her Majesty’s Navy.” Imagine heading into frigid wastelands with supplies like that! What utter folly!

Some people heading into eternity may be even more shortsighted. Multitudes fail to think of their destination with its dangers of everlasting destruction. Ignoring their desperate need for forgiveness of their sin through faith in Jesus Christ, they pay no attention to His solemn question, “What profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” (Mt. 16:26).

Are you shortsighted or prepared for eternity?  — Vernon C. Grounds

If I gained the world but lost the Savior,
Were my life worth living for a day?
Could my yearning heart find rest and comfort
In the things that soon must pass away? –Olander

The one who lives for this life only will have eternity to regret it (Source: Our Daily Bread, RBC Ministries).

Reflection 6 – For Sale: One Soul

What will a man give in exchange for his soul? —Matthew 16:26

One would think that selling one’s soul, as Faust offered his to the devil in Goethe’s Dr. Faustus, is only a figment of literary fiction. Medieval as it seems, however, several cases of soul-selling have occurred.

Wired magazine reported that a 29-year-old university instructor succeeded in selling his immortal soul for $1,325. He said, “In America, you can metaphorically and literally sell your soul and be rewarded for it.” One wonders how the purchaser intended to collect.

We can’t literally sell our soul, but we can lose our soul to gain something else. We need to ponder Jesus’ question, “What will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matt. 16:26). Our answers today would differ only in specifics from the responses of Jesus’ day: the world, the flesh, and the devil. The lusts that captivate us and the thirst for unbridled pleasure, success, revenge, or material things have certainly taken on far more importance to many people than any considerations of eternity.

Nothing on earth compares to the gifts of God’s love and forgiveness. If the pleasures of this world are preventing you from trusting in Jesus Christ, please think again. It’s not worth the cost of your eternal soul.  — David C. Egner

Rejoice, O soul, the debt is paid,
For all our sins on Christ were laid;
We’ve been redeemed, we’re justified—
And all because the Savior died. —D. De Haan

Jesus is the only fountain who can satisfy the thirsty soul (Source: Our Daily Bread, RBC Ministries).

Reflection 7 – The Price Of A Soul

He who wins souls is wise. —Proverbs 11:30

According to a Wall Street Journal article, Hemant Mehta wanted to find out if he was “missing something” as an atheist. So the DePaul University graduate student went on eBay with this proposition: He would spend 1 hour of church attendance for each $10 bid by the highest bidder. A former evangelical minister won with an offer of $504.

How much would you pay for the opportunity to present Christ to an unbeliever? The apostle Paul gave a lot more than $504 in his endeavor to bring the gospel to people who had never heard of Jesus Christ. He traveled many long, hard miles across the world. In a gripping account he told of his experiences: shipwreck, imprisonment, floggings, stoning, beatings, exhaustion, hunger, cold, and peril (2 Cor. 11:23-28).

In the past 2,000 years of missionary effort, valiant men and women have left their homelands to proclaim Christ in remote, primitive, and dangerous settings. Many have lost their lives; others have suffered persecution. In many parts of the world today, to talk publicly about Jesus is to risk hardship, jail, and even death.

When we consider Jesus’ sacrifice for us, any sacrifice we make to bring others to Him is worth the cost.  — David C. Egner

Give me a passion for souls, dear Lord,
A passion to save the lost;
O that Thy love were by all adored
And welcomed at any cost.  —Tovey

When we open our heart to the Lord, He opens our eyes to the lost (Source: Our Daily Bread, RBC Ministries).

Reflection 8 – No Regrets

The Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. —Matthew 16:27

Today’s gospel offers an answer. Not to follow Christ does not translate into the avoidance of suffering but into the lose of life itself as shown in the example of a child in the womb refusing to be born because of the inconvenience of childbirth fails to live. However comfortable womb-like may be, a child must go through the distress of delivery. “Whoever wishes to save his life will lose it” (Mt 16:25). And Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me” (Matthew 16:24). He also assured them that when He returns to earth, “He will reward each according to his works” (v.27).

Paul said our suffering for Christ isn’t worthy “to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18). And Peter told us, “Rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy” (1 Peter 4:13).

Believers who endure hardship for Christ count it a privilege to be identified with their Savior. Suffering for Him brings a sure reward—with no regrets.

It will be worth it all when we see Jesus,
Life’s trials will seem so small when we see Christ;
One glimpse of His dear face all sorrow will erase,
So bravely run the race till we see Christ.

Serving the Lord is an investment with eternal dividends (Source: Our Daily Bread, RBC Ministries).

Reflection 9 – Our crosses acquire value only as part of the Cross of Christ

Have you been searching how to save your life? Jesus said, “If any of you want to come with me, you must forget yourself, carry your cross, and follow me. For if you want to save your own life, you will lose it; but if you lose your life for my sake, you will find it. Will you gain anything if you win the whole world but lose your life? Of course not! There is nothing you can give to regain your life” (Mt. 16:24-26). Pope Benedict XVI talks to the general audience in Vatican (June 14,2006): “Our own crosses acquire value if we consider them and accept them as a part of the Cross of Christ, if a reflection of his light illuminates them. It is by that Cross alone that our sufferings too are ennobled and acquire their true meaning.” “It is true: the Cross shows “the breadth and length and height and depth – the cosmic dimension is the meaning – of a love that surpasses all knowledge, a love that goes beyond what is known and fill us ‘with all the fullness of God’”(Eph 3:18-19). And in his talk to the 4th National Ecclesial Convention in Rome (Oct 19,2006), Pope Benedict XVI said: “Rightly, the Cross causes us fear, as it provoked fear and anguish in Jesus Christ (cf. Mk 14:33-36); but it is not a negation of life, of which in order to be happy it necessary to rid oneself. It is rather the extreme “yes” of God to man, the supreme expression of his love and the source of full and perfect life. It therefore contains the most convincing invitation to follow Christ on the way of gift of self.”

       When we follow Jesus and surrender our lives to God, He gives us new life and the pledge of eternal life. St. Paul said, “I consider that what we suffer at this present time cannot be compared at all with the glory that is going to be revealed to us” (Rom 8:18). And St. Peter told us, “Be glad that you are sharing Christ’s sufferings, so that you may be full of joy when his glory is revealed” (1 Pt 4:13). Our suffering for Jesus Christ in the service of His Church brings us a sure reward with no regrets. Am I ready to lose all for Christ in order to gain all with Christ?

Reflection 10 – Taking risks for God’s kingdom

What are you willing to risk for the sake of the Kingdom of God? In our Gospel reading today, Jesus says: “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself.” Sometimes this means denying our sinful desires, but sometimes it means rejecting good, healthy desires in order to pursue a higher goal.

For example, if you witness an injustice at work or in the parish and speaking up about it might cost you your good reputation and maybe even your job — it’s right and perfectly acceptable to protect what God has given you. However, the moment this self-protection interferes with God’s plan for a greater good, we’ve become too narrowly focused on ourselves.

I’m the type of person who’d rather avoid conflict than cause it. In the name of God, people who are like me stay silent when there’s a need to cause a stir. We call it “loving our enemies” and “being patient” and “being peacemakers.” But to make peace, there has to first be a battle. Moses stirred up a lot of trouble when he told the pharaoh to release the Israelites from bondage; the Egyptians were not at war with the Jewish nation until Moses stood up for his people.

To translate this into Christian terms, the Israelites had to pick up their crosses and become willing to lose their lives in order to gain their freedom. And as Moses reminded his followers in today’s first reading, God delivered them to safety. As I gain ground in trusting God, I’m becoming feistier in standing up to injustices and immorality when the Holy Spirit says I can make a difference.

What pharaoh is in your life? What bondage are you witnessing that you feel disturbed about? Use that disturbance as the gift from God that it truly is! The desire in you to do something about an injustice has been placed there by God himself. It connects you to the Passion of Jesus, which hurts, of course, and is your cross to bear for a while. But saying no to it is saying no to your solidarity with those who are already suffering and for whom you are called to be Christ’s presence on earth. And it says no to your solidarity with Christ, who is your source of eternal justice.

Our efforts to guard ourselves from hardships for the sake of an easy life will never work anyway. We cannot entirely avoid suffering here on earth, so why not use it for the Kingdom of God? Our Father always protected Jesus, even on the Cross: He protected his Son from eternal death. He will protect us, too, in a way and time of his own choosing. Do we want to give that up in order to avoid trouble?

Sometimes we must suffer a battle in order to win a victory. If we’re doing what God wants us to do, he is at our side, suffering more than we do, kissing our wounds, strengthening us, and leading us to the glorious life of the Kingdom. In this unity of passion, he is our safety — he is always safe. – Read the source:

Reflection 11 – A matter of life and death

“It is I who deal death and give life,” says the Lord in today’s responsorial psalm. In today’s first reading we read, “See, upon the mountains there advances the bearer of good news, announcing peace!” There is no greater peace than to let God be totally in charge of our every decision, our understanding and our lack of understanding, our discovery of truth, and our life.

Jesus, who is that bearer of good news, explains it in today’s Gospel reading: If we want to have peace and a good life, we have to give up trying to save ourselves and let God do it for us.

We are way too inadequate to ensure our own happiness here on earth, let alone eternally in heaven! We don’t understand what’s going on, although we try to, and in our attempts to feel sure about our view of life, we believe in our own, limited perceptions — to our detriment.

If we could be transported in prayer, for even a moment, into eternity and see everything from heaven’s perspective, we’d slap our forwards and say, “Duh! How come I didn’t realize that before?”

Only God sees the full picture, the true road to happiness and peace, and he never communicates it to us alone. We’re not smart enough to hear him correctly all by ourselves. We need the help of community: a spiritual director, Christian friends, a Confessor, etc. And then we need to trust the Holy Spirit to speak first to us in our hearts and then confirm it through others.

Trusting the Lord means accepting that we are moronically stupid compared to his wisdom and knowledge. We dare not trust our own ability to make right decisions without his guidance, nor can we trust our ability to correctly discern that guidance. In the humility of that awareness, we open our lives to divine direction and intervention.

A favorite prayer of mine is: “Lord, grab onto my ankles today, and do not let me wander off the path where You want me to be.” I cannot trust myself to know where the Lord is leading me, but I can trust that the Lord is stronger and bigger than me. All he needs from me is my desire to be led by him. In his hands, I am safe. He corrects me when I’m wrong, redirects me to the right conclusions, and even stops me in my tracks when my moronic brain stubbornly refuses to pay heed.

This is giving up our lives for the sake of finding life. Is it scary? Indeed! Denying ourselves (putting aside our ways, our desires, our ideas of how to find happiness) to trust God is truly a loss. But it’s a matter of life and death. Read “The Parable of the Frog“: – Read the source:

Reflection 12 – St. Clare of Assisi (1194-1253 A.D.)

One of the more sugary movies made about Francis of Assisi (October 4) pictures Clare as a golden-haired beauty floating through sun-drenched fields, a sort of one-woman counterpart to the new Franciscan Order.

The beginning of her religious life was indeed movie material. Having refused to marry at 15, she was moved by the dynamic preaching of Francis. He became her lifelong friend and spiritual guide.

At 18, she escaped one night from her father’s home, was met on the road by friars carrying torches, and in the poor little chapel called the Portiuncula received a rough woolen habit, exchanged her jeweled belt for a common rope with knots in it, and sacrificed the long tresses to Francis’ scissors. He placed her in a Benedictine convent, which her father and uncles immediately stormed in rage. She clung to the altar of the church, threw aside her veil to show her cropped hair and remained adamant.

End of movie material. Sixteen days later her sister Agnes joined her. Others came. They lived a simple life of great poverty, austerity and complete seclusion from the world, according to a Rule which Francis gave them as a Second Order (Poor Clares). Francis obliged her under obedience at age 21 to accept the office of abbess, one she exercised until her death.

The nuns went barefoot, slept on the ground, ate no meat and observed almost complete silence. (Later Clare, like Francis, persuaded her sisters to moderate this rigor: “Our bodies are not made of brass.”) The greatest emphasis, of course, was on gospel poverty. They possessed no property, even in common, subsisting on daily contributions. When even the pope tried to persuade her to mitigate this practice, she showed her characteristic firmness: “I need to be absolved from my sins, but I do not wish to be absolved from the obligation of following Jesus Christ.”

Contemporary accounts glow with admiration of her life in the convent of San Damiano in Assisi. She served the sick, waited on table, washed the feet of the begging nuns. She came from prayer, it was said, with her face so shining it dazzled those about her. She suffered serious illness for the last 27 years of her life. Her influence was such that popes, cardinals and bishops often came to consult her—she never left the walls of San Damiano.

Francis always remained her great friend and inspiration. She was always obedient to his will and to the great ideal of gospel life which he was making real.

A well-known story concerns her prayer and trust. She had the Blessed Sacrament placed on the walls of the convent when it faced attack by invading Saracens. “Does it please you, O God, to deliver into the hands of these beasts the defenseless children I have nourished with your love? I beseech you, dear Lord, protect these whom I am now unable to protect.” To her sisters she said, “Don’t be afraid. Trust in Jesus.” The Saracens fled.


On her deathbed, Clare was heard to say to herself: “Go forth in peace, for you have followed the good road. Go forth without fear, for he who created you has made you holy, has always protected you, and loves you as a mother. Blessed be you, my God, for having created me.”


The 41 years of Clare’s religious life are poor movie material, but they are a scenario of sanctity: an indomitable resolve to lead the simple, literal gospel life as Francis taught her; courageous resistance to the ever-present pressure to dilute the ideal; a passion for poverty and humility; an ardent life of prayer; and a generous concern for her sisters.

Patron Saint of: Eye disorders, Television

Related St. Anthony Messenger article(s) 

Celebrating Clare of Assisi, by Claire Andre Gagliardi, OSC

In Pursuit of Saints Francis and Clare, by Christopher Heffron

St. Clare’s Gamble, by Ramona Miller, OSF

Patron Saints for Modern Challenges, by Thomas Craughwell

Related product(s) 

Clare of Assisi: A Heart Full of Love, by Ilia Delio, OSF (book)

In the Footsteps of Francis and Clare, by Roch Niemier, OFM (book)

Eucharistic Adoration: Reflections in the Franciscan Tradition, by the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration

Assisi Pilgrimage: Walking in Faith with Francis and Clare, written and directed by Greg Friedman, OFM (2-hour DVD, with extensive commentary by Franciscan experts)

Read the source:

Catholic saints are holy people and human people who lived extraordinary lives. Each saint the Church honors responded to God’s invitation to use his or her unique gifts. God calls each one of us to be a saint. 

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:hand.

This article is about the Italian saint. For the film, see Saint Clara (film). For the unincorporated community, see St. Clara, West Virginia.
Simone Martini 047.jpg

Detail depicting Saint Clare from a fresco(1312–20) by Simone Martini in the Lower basilica of San FrancescoAssisi
BORN July 16, 1194
DIED August 11, 1253 (aged 59)
VENERATED IN Roman Catholic Church,Anglican CommunionLutheran Church
CANONIZED September 26, 1255, Rome byPope Alexander IV
MAJOR SHRINE Basilica of Saint ClareAssisi
FEAST August 11 (1970 to date),
August 12 (1255–1969)
ATTRIBUTES Monstrancepyxlamphabit of the Poor Clares
PATRONAGE Eye diseasegoldsmiths,laundrytelevision,embroiderersgilders, good weather, needleworkersSanta Clara PuebloObando

Saint Clare of Assisi (July 16, 1194 – August 11, 1253, born Chiara Offreduccio and sometimes spelled ClairClaire, etc.) is an Italiansaint and one of the first followers of Saint Francis of Assisi. She founded the Order of Poor Ladies, amonastic religious order for women in the Franciscan tradition, and wrote their Rule of Life,[1]the first set of monastic guidelines known to have been written by a woman. Following her death, the order she founded was renamed in her honor as the Order of Saint Clare, commonly referred to today as the Poor Clares.


Fresco of Saint Clare and sisters of her order, church of San Damiano, Assisi

St. Clare was born in Assisi, the eldest daughter of Favorino Sciffi, Count of Sasso-Rosso and his wife Ortolana. Traditional accounts says that Clare’s father was a wealthy representative of an ancient Roman family, who owned a large palace in Assisi and a castle on the slope of Mount Subasio.[2] Ortolana belonged to the noble family of Fiumi, and was a very devout woman who had undertaken pilgrimages to RomeSantiago de Compostela and the Holy Land. Later in life, Ortolana entered Clare’s monastery, as did Clare’s sisters, Beatrix, and Catarina (who took the name Agnes).[3]

As a child, Clare was devoted to prayer. Although there is no mention of this in any historical record, it is assumed that Clare was to be married in line with the family tradition. However, at the age of 18 she heard Francis preach during a Lenten service in the church of San Giorgio at Assisi, and asked him to help her to live after the manner of the Gospel. On the evening of Palm Sunday, March 20, 1212, she left her father’s house, and accompanied by her aunt Bianca and another companion, proceeded to the chapel of the Porziuncula to meet Francis. There, her hair was cut, and she exchanged her rich gown for a plain robe and veil.[2]

Saint Clare intervenes to save a child from a wolf, in this panel byGiovanni di Paolo, 1455.

Francis placed Clare in the convent of the Benedictine nuns of San Paulo, near Bastia. Her father attempted to force her to return home. She clung to the altar of the church and threw aside her veil to show her cropped hair.[4] She resisted any attempt, professing that she would have no other husband but Jesus Christ.[5] In order to provide the greater solitude Clare desired, a few days later Francis sent her to Sant’ Angelo in Panzo, another monastery of the Benedictine nuns on one of the flanks of Subasio. Clare was soon joined by her sister Catarina, who took the name Agnes. They remained with the Benedictines until a small dwelling was built for them next to the church of San Damiano, which Francis had repaired some years earlier.[2]

Other women joined them and they were known as the “Poor Ladies of San Damiano”. They lived a simple life of poverty, austerity and seclusion from the world, according to a Rule which Francis gave them as a Second Order (Poor Clares).[4][5]

San Damiano became the center of Clare’s new religious order, which was known in her lifetime as the “Order of Poor Ladies of San Damiano”. San Damiano was long thought to be the first house of this order, however, recent scholarship strongly suggests that San Damiano actually joined an existing network of women’s religious houses organized by Hugolino (who later became Pope Gregory IX). Hugolino wanted San Damiano as part of the order he founded because of the prestige of Clare’s monastery.[6] San Damiano emerged as the most important house in the order, and Clare became its undisputed leader. By 1263, just ten years after Clare’s death, the order had become known as the Order of Saint Clare.

In 1228, when Gregory IX offered Clare a dispensation from the vow of strict poverty, she replied:[5]

I need to be absolved from my sins, but not from the obligation of following Christ.

Accordingly, the Pope granted them the Privilegium Pauperitatis — that nobody could oblige them to accept any possession.[5]

Unlike the Franciscan friars, whose members moved around the country to preach, Saint Clare’s sisters lived in enclosure, since an itinerant life was hardly conceivable at the time for women. Their life consisted of manual labour[7] and prayer. The nuns went barefoot, slept on the ground, ate no meat and observed almost complete silence.[4]

For a short period, the order was directed by Francis himself.[8] Then in 1216, Clare accepted the role of abbess of San Damiano. As abbess, Clare had more authority to lead the order than when she was the prioress, who had to follow the orders of a priest heading the community.[9] Clare defended her order from the attempts of prelates to impose a rule on them that more closely resembled the Rule of Saint Benedict than Francis’ stricter vows. Clare sought to imitate Francis’ virtues and way of life so much so that she was sometimes titled alter Franciscus, another Francis.[10] She also played a significant role in encouraging and aiding Francis, whom she saw as a spiritual father figure, and she took care of him during his final illness.

After Francis’s death, Clare continued to promote the growth of her order, writing letters to abbesses in other parts of Europe and thwarting every attempt by each successive pope to impose a rule on her order which watered down the radical commitment to corporate poverty she had originally embraced. She did this despite enduring a long period of poor health until her death. Clare’s Franciscan theology of joyous poverty in imitation of Christ is evident in the rule she wrote for her community and in her four letters to Agnes of Prague.

In 1224, the army of Frederick II came to plunder Assisi. Clare went out to meet them with the Blessed Sacrament in her hands. Suddenly a mysterious terror seized the enemies, who fled without harming anybody in the city.[5]

Before breathing her last in 1253, Clare said:[5]

Blessed be You, O God, for having created me.


On August 9, 1253, the papal bull Solet annuere of Pope Innocent IVconfirmed that Clare’s rule would serve as the governing rule for Clare’s Order of Poor Ladies. Two days later, on August 11, Clare died at the age of 59. Her remains were interred at the chapel of San Giorgio while a church to hold her remains was being constructed. At her funeral, Pope Innocent IV insisted the friars perform the Office for the Virgin Saints as opposed to the Office for the Dead (Bartoli, 1993). This move by Pope Innocent ensured that the canonization process for Clare would begin shortly after her funeral. Pope Innocent was cautioned by multiple advisors against having the Office for the Virgin Saints performed at Clare’s funeral (Bartoli, 1993). The most vocal of these advisors was Cardinal Raynaldus who would later become Pope Alexander IV, who in two years time would canonize Clare (Pattenden, 2008). At Pope Innocent’s request the canonization process for Clare began immediately. While the whole process took two years, the examination of Clare’s miracles took just six days. On September 26, 1255,[11] Pope Alexander IVcanonized Clare as Saint Clare of Assisi. Construction of the Basilica of Saint Clare was completed in 1260, and on October 3 of that year Clare’s remains were transferred to the newly completed basilica where they were buried beneath the high altar. In further recognition of the saint, Pope Urban IV officially changed the name of the Order of Poor Ladies to the Order of Saint Clare in 1263.

Some 600 years later in 1872, Saint Clare’s relics were transferred to a newly constructed shrine in the crypt of the Basilica of Saint Clare, where her relics can still be venerated today.


The wax figure of Saint Clare of Assisi atBasilica of Saint Clare, in Assisi

Pope Pius XII designated Clare as the patron saint of television in 1958, on the basis that when she was too ill to attendMass, she had reportedly been able to see and hear it on the wall of her room.[12]

In art, Clare is often shown carrying a monstrance or pyx, in commemoration of the occasion when she warded away the soldiers of Frederick II at the gates of her convent by displaying the Blessed Sacrament and kneeling in prayer.

Lake Saint Clair and the Saint Clair River in the Great Lakes region of North America were named in 1679 on her feast day, August 11. Mission Santa Clara, founded by Spanish missionaries in northern California in 1777, has given its name to the universitycitycounty, and valley in which it sits. Southern California’s Santa Clara River is hundreds of miles to the south, and gave its name to the nearby city of Santa ClaritaSanta Clara Pueblo, New Mexico celebrates its Santa Clara Feast Day annually on August 12, as the feast was celebrated before the 1969 calendar change. It may be noted that the early California missions were founded by Franciscan Friars, who had a special devotion to Saint Clare.

Clare was canonized two years after her death and her feast day was immediately inserted in the General Roman Calendar for celebration on August 12, the day following her death, as August 11 was already assigned to Saints Tiburtius and Susanna, two 3rd-century Roman martyrs. The celebration was ranked as a Double (as in the Tridentine Calendar) or, in the terminology adopted in 1960, a Third-Class Feast (as in the General Roman Calendar of 1960). The 1969 calendar revision removed the feast of Tiburtius and Susanna from the calendar, finally allowing the memorial of Saint Clare to be celebrated on August 11, the day of her death. Her body is no longer claimed to be incorrupt, and her skeleton is displayed in Assisi.


  1. Jump up^ “Chronology & Rule of Life of St. Clare”. Franciscan Friars of the Third Order Regular. Retrieved April 30, 2016.
  2. Jump up to:a b c Robinson, Paschal. “St. Clare of Assisi.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 4. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908.
  3. Jump up^ Bartoli, p. 34–35; in the sources, there is no exact year when Ortolana entered the monastery, according to Bartoli. The best source for the historical details of Clare’s life is the “Acts for the Process of her Canonization”, in The Lady: Clare of Assisi: Early Documents, ed. and trans. Regis J. Armstrong (New York: New City Press, 2006).
  4. Jump up to:a b c Foley OFM, Leonard. “St. Clare”Saint of the Day, (revised by Pat McCloskey OFM), Franciscan Media.
  5. Jump up to:a b c d e f Paolo O. Pirlo, SHMI (1997). “St. Clare”. My First Book of Saints. Sons of Holy Mary Immaculate – Quality Catholic Publications. pp. 178–179. ISBN 971-91595-4-5.
  6. Jump up^ Maria Pia Alberzoni, Clare of Assisi and the Poor Sisters in the Thirteenth Century (St. Bonaventure, NY: Franciscan Institute, 2004).
  7. Jump up^ Bartoli p. 92ff
  8. Jump up^ Bartoli p. 95
  9. Jump up^ Bartoli p. 96
  10. Jump up^ Bartoli p. 171ff
  11. Jump up^ A. Tomassetti (ed.), Bullarum, Diplomatum et Privilegiorum Sanctorum Romanorum Pontificum Taurensis editio (Turin 1858), pp. 620–624, no. XX.