“Clare was hidden, yet her life was visible. Clare was silent, yet her reputation became widespread. She was kept hidden in a cell but was known throughout the world.” —Bull of Canonization
St. Clare had a profound effect on the world. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that she spent most of her life within the walls of the San Damiano convent. The isolation we all experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic gave us a glimpse into what that might have been like, even though we still had means of instant communication with the outside world.
Clare shared her faith and wisdom with so many outside San Damiano and far beyond her own time. Indeed, she counseled and nursed an ailing Francis during one of his visits. How might we be in service to others? How can we use the season of Lent to give back?
Gaze | Consider | Contemplate | Imitate
Francis wrote his immortal Canticle of the Creatures while in Clare’s care at San Damiano. The incredible power and poetry of this song has long fascinated all who read, study, or sing it. One word in that poem, written in Umbrian dialect, and written during a time of daily nursing by Clare, catches the eye. It is the word clarite. “Praised be you, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars, in heaven you formed them clear and precious and beautiful” (Canticle, 5). This is the adjective for the stars. They are “clarite et pretiose et belle,”—clear, precious, beautiful.
In the long dark time of his illness, was it Clare who was this companion whose light helped him endure encroaching blindness and searing pain? She had been—and would remain—the North Star for all who wanted to follow his way.
—from Light of Assisi: The Story of Saint Clare
St. Clare, by your example may we realize
the potential for our impact on the world.
Help us live in such a way that will see our
faith travel beyond the confines of where we are.