11th August. St. Clare

SAINT FRANCIS ASSISI AND THE SAN DAMIANO CROSS – Art as an ...

On the hottest days in Rome you could see two Poor Clare Sisters going round the market dressed in their woolen habits gathering food for the convent. They have one of the simplest and poorest ways of life. Right from the start St. Clare, in the 13th century, wrote poverty into their rule and when the Pope questioned this she said it was not an option. Clare found her vocation when listening to St. Francis speak as a young woman and immediately went to the chapel of San Damiano, where the famous cross is still to be found, to join him and then found a new branch of the Franciscans specifically for women. It is one of the most demanding of rules and everything about it underlines total dependence on the love of God. In western Europe the order often have trouble now maintaining their houses. Few are attracted to join them. But they have been, and still are in many places, a wonderful sign of love for God in this world, and an awareness that everything has to be placed after that in order of priority. To find such an example is rare, especially in materialist societies, and we should treasure the example they give to the rest of us.

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