Friday, August 11, 2006

Saint Clare/Santa Chiara/Santa Clara

San Daminano

Chiara Offreduccio (St. Clare) was born in 1194. She died 11 August 1253. Along with Francesco Bernardone (St. Francis of Assisi), she is considered co-founder of the Franciscan Family. Chiara began to meet with Francesco after hearing him preach during Lent in 1211 at the Cathedral of San Rufino in Assisi. On 28 March 1211 she left her father's house to elope with Jesus Christ. She receive her habit from Francis in the Porziuncola. Afterwards, Chiara lived a cloistered life in San Daminano (pictured above).

So close were their ties that when Francesco died in 1226, his body was brought to San Daminano so Clare could say goodbye to him. Not long after receiving a Bull from Pope Innocent IV granting her and her sisters the Privilege of Poverty, Chiara died. Her holiness was of such renown that she was canonized in 1255. In 1958 Pope Pius XII proclaimed St. Clare the patron saint of television because toward the end of her life, when she was too ill to attend Mass, an image of the service would display on the wall of her cell. Papa Pacelli's Apostolic Letter is available from the Holy See's website, but only in French.

Hagiographers write that when Chiara was in her mother's womb, an angel appeared to her and said, "your child will be a light that will illuminate the world!" According to this legend that is why she was named Chiara, meaning "light." With that I encourage you to link to the lovely daughters of light, the Poor Clares, descendants of the virgin Chiara Offreduccio, living lives of holiness in Virginia eight centuries after her birth into eternal life. Additionally, I urge to visit the blog Canticle of Chiara for a lovely meditation for today's memorial from somebody with whose life Santa Clara is deeply involved.

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