Thoughts from your Regional Formation Director – August, 2015

clare_with_flowersDear Sisters and Brothers,

Last month our fraternity, St. Maximilian Kolbe had a Day of Recollection. Our speaker was Sr. Mary Frances OSC. The theme was “Rebuild My Church”

During this month of August we celebrate a few feast days starting with Our Lady of the Angels August 2nd “The Portincula”, then the feast day of St. Clare on the 11th and “The Assumption” on August 15th . Our Lady has a special place in our Franciscan way of life

It was the first time at least for me to hear someone give a talk about Clare beginning with Clare’s mother Ortulana. We learned about the prophecy of Clare that at one time Clare’s mother was to go on Pilgrimage and it was unheard of for a noblewomen of that time. If a noblewomen would be walking down the street, the other person would have to walk on the opposite side. It so happened that one day when Ortulana was praying before the crucifix, she heard a voice say, You will bear a Light, her name means Clare with shadowed light.

After her family returned from Perugia in 1202 Clare received the education of a gentlewoman and in her later life she described herself as “a worthless handmaid.”

When she was about 12 years old, Francis son of that merchant class which once had driven her family out, suffered his bewildering conversion. Clare in her testament wrote that before Francis had as much as one brother, sang out prophetically in French whilst rebuilding San Damiano “Come help me in the work of building the Monastery of San Damiano because ladies are yet to dwell here who will glorify our heavenly Father throughout His holy Universal Church by their holy and celebrated manner of life.

On Palm Sunday in 1212, Clare went to church in her best clothes. When the distribution of palms took place she did not go forward at that moment. Perhaps she was filled with fear understanding the meaning of the palm, a symbol of martyrdom. Clare wandered and passed through a little used door in her palazzo which some thought that only the dead alone were carried out. She ran down the hill to Our Lady Of the Angels where Francis and his brothers waited for her. Clare’s hair was cut and she received the habit of the lesser brothers. Clare was then sent to a near home in Bascia which was the home of Benedictine women. The next morning her relatives came and tried to persuade Clare with threats and every means to get her back going as far as employing violent force with poisonous promises(Legend of Clare 9)

After the death of Pope Gregory lX both Clare and Agnes (who rejected the hand of Emperor Frederick ll in order to follow her vocation) separately entreated the Holy See for a more authentic rule of life but began to write her own rule but was not successful. Around the year 1250 Clare began to write her own rule. Clare was the first women to do so. It was presented to Pope Innocent lV as Clare neared her death. The Holy Father was in Perugia along with Cardinals and came to visit Clare. When she asked for absolution from her sins, he said with tears, “Would that I had as little need of absolution as you” Finally the confirmation of Clare’s rule was signed which was endorsed by the Papal Bull.

May we as Franciscans be the Mirror as Clare was and as Francis to help rebuild the church as a family rooted in the love of Christ and Our Mother Mary Mother of the Church.

What part of Francis and Clare’s life motivates you to move to conversion? How can we be the mirror of Christ so that others will see the Jesus in us?

A quote from Benedict XVl: Do not be afraid to say “yes” to Jesus to find joy in doing His will giving yourself completely to the pursuit of holiness and using our talents in the service to others.



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