Preparing for Pilgrimage, Renewing our Devotion
As the Assisi Project prepares for our Annual Fall Pilgrimage to Assisi, it seems like a good time to renew our devotion to Saint Clare of Assisi. Saint Clare (1194-1253) is venerated as patroness of eye diseases, good weather, homemakers, knitters and needle workers, and television. But Clare is perhaps best known as the closest follower and dearest friend of Saint Francis of Assisi. More than eight centuries ago, she founded the “Poor Ladies of San Damiano” which is now known colloquially as the Poor Clares. And perhaps more than any other Franciscan, Clare most faithfully lived the gospel life of prayer, fellowship, simplicity, and service.
Although Saint Clare lived all of her post-conversion life within the confines of a cloister, she was a person of great courage, faith, and perseverance. When mercenary soldiers attempted to breach the walls of her convent, she confronted them with the Blessed Sacrament and they retreated. When a bishop asked her to compromise her principles and accept gifts of property and riches, Clare declined and said: “I must be absolved from my sins, but not from my obligation to follow the Poor Christ.” And when a pope refused to approve her strict rule of life, she declined to die until the rule was approved. Just two days after it was finally given papal authorization, she quietly and contentedly passed away.
Many centuries later, we can still call on Saint Clare to pray for us, for our Church, and for our troubled world during times of adversity, scandal, and uncertainty. The following prayer was written years ago by an anonymous Poor Clare in Jamaica Plain. It speaks beautifully to the remarkable soul who cast aside the spirit of the world in order to faithfully live the adventure of the gospel. This weekend, let us join our hearts and voices as we pray:
ardent lover of Jesus
in the Most Blessed Sacrament,
help us to grow in love
for Christ Jesus, our Redeemer.
With your strong faith and unwavering hope,
gather our wounded Church,
our suffering world,
and all people
into your loving heart and lift us up to Jesus
with your absolute confidence in his merciful love.
Saint Clare, help us to be like you:
peaceful, kind, gentle,
strong, patient, and persevering
in the face of all difficulties.
Trusting in your powerful intercession,
we confidently praise and thank God, our Father,
for all of the blessings we have received.
Glory, praise, wisdom, and thanksgiving,
honor, power, and might to our God
for ever and ever. Amen.
May the powerful intercession of Saint Clare of Assisi bring us closer to Christ and to the Church. May her prayers comfort us, empower us, and protect us as we strive to live the Gospel of Christ. Saint Clare of Assisi, pray for us! May the Lord give you peace!
Founded in 2007, the Assisi Project is a Fellowship of Franciscans in Spirit with members, friends, and followers in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Africa. We are dedicated to helping Christian believers of all ages to more faithfully live the Gospel of Christ in the spirit of Saints Francis and Clare of Assisi. For more information about the Assisi Project and upcoming opportunities for faith formation, prayer, and pilgrimage in the Franciscan spiritual tradition, please contact Cliff Garvey at firstname.lastname@example.org. May the Lord give you peace!
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