Franciscan Spirit Blog

Lent with St. Clare: First Monday

Cross on a mountain with the sunset

“Love that does not know of suffering is not worthy of the name.”
—St. Clare

St. Clare’s life was not easy. From the struggle to follow her religious vocation, to the physical suffering she experienced throughout her life, to the pope’s ongoing resistance to approving her rule for the sisters, she continually pushed forward with strength. It would have been understandable if at any point she gave up the fight. Yet she persevered out of the love she had for Christ.

What a powerful example of leaning into, rather than away from, one’s faith for support during times of suffering.

Gaze | Consider | Contemplate | Imitate

Time passes. At last, we read that Clare, Catherine—now Agnes of Assisi—and others already affiliated with them, take up residence in the small monastery attached to the church of San Damiano. This monastery had once served as a way station for monks working in the valley at a distance that prevented return to the monastery at the top of Mount Subasio on a nightly basis. Now it was under the bishop’s jurisdiction. He extends his protection to this newest expression of feminine Christian renewal. He is trusting that his support will not be in vain.

Now Clare and her very first sister companions take up the life they envisioned. San Damiano is outside the city walls on the lower slope of the mountain and close to an ancient mineral spring. It functioned as a refuge for anyone making the ascent into the city but unable to reach it before curfew. It functioned as a place known for healing waters from Roman times. It functioned as a refuge for friars in need of recuperation from illness or exhaustion. It functioned as the place where Clare, the “footprint of the Mother of God,” manifests unending feminine compassion to all in need. —from Light of Assisi: The Story of Saint Clare

lent with saint clare


St. Clare,
May your example
of remaining steadfast in your faith
inspire us during our own times of struggle.


13 thoughts on “Lent with St. Clare: First Monday”

  1. Remaining steadfast in your faith can only be accomplish by embracing our understanding of our faith. Never giving up on G-d. Praising Him -blessed is He- in good times and praying for His – blessed be His Holy name- guidance in trying times. For it is said ” Things do not happen to us they happen to us so that we can grow.
    G-d Bless.

  2. It’s been said that love has to involve a sacrifice of some sort. And a sacrifice requires a leap of faith. I guess it can be said that making a sacrifice involves suffering to some extent. Pain, suffering, etc., are mysterious things. But I like St. Clare’s quote mentioned above.

  3. “A new leader of women”. The Church needed Women then. The church needs them now. Our church calls us to be leaders and yet, women are still trying to break through the separate areas of duties and responsibility which are still reserved for men only.
    ””’Women, although often very effective preachers/homilists are not permitted to do so at Mass itself. Women, although excellent fund raisers and effective counsellors, are not allowed to make financial decisions that do not need to be “overseen” by a Bishop or other heirarchy of the church, controlled by men only and they cannot hear confessions that give absolution. In some geographic parts of our church, women cannot even be altar servers or Readers as Mass.
    But Jesus’ own way of leadership was very inclusive of women.
    Clare’s solid faith, caring family and beautiful friendship with St. Francis himself gave her the courage to fly in the face of such unreasonable dicrimination by the church leadership. This is still true today. We still need women of faith and courage to step forward and lead us all, men and women alike, to work toward equality in our leadership.
    God bless especially the National Association of Women Religious. They never give up trying to teach and encourage our loved and cared for men of faith even as they continue to nurture women of faith.

  4. These daily histories and reflections are very valuable. And they are brief enough not to be burdensome. Thank you for this Lenten guidance and support. Additionally I am developing a new knowledge of, and devotion to, St. Clare. Be well.
    Steve Schulte
    Los Angeles, CA

  5. “Love that does not know of suffering is not worthy of the name.”
    —St. Clare

    How clear a statement and how bold in her faith was St. Clare of Assisi ! She forged the way for women to be called and consecrate their whole lives to working in the vineyard of our Lord!
    The video today by Sr. Margaret seems to be a main focal point of St. Clare’s mission . We must not underestimate or try to say St. Clare was either this or that, for she focused on the whole picture!

    In order to really grasp that concept I think watching Sr. Margarets video several times today to fully comprehend the integral role of St. Clare in our faith is necessary. It is easier for us to appreciate our modern day saints like Mother Teresa of Calcutta or Pope John Paul the 2nd than it is to know the challenges and true nature of the earlier chosen saints like St. Clare of Assisi. I am so appreciative of this program being offered to those in the Catholic Faith and learning more about the Franciscan order.

    May I just also add the description today of the location of the Monastery motivates me to virtually travel there after posting this! If I could travel in person a retreat like that would be a Blessing!

    Peace to all who read and share today!

  6. Thank you for sharing how women felt called just as men felt called. Thank for sharing how the way to a better place for women started. Thank you for inspiring hope that these ways can be continued to bring betterment to women, racially diverse people and people who have been disregarded and placed below for being who they were meant to be! Love and perseverance show the way!

  7. I don’t know where you are practicing your faith…..but in my parish women do give advice and help on financial matters. I am a woman who has never felt neglected by my church. NEVER. I’m so tired of feminist rantings. God did create two sexes. Why do you suppose he did that?

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