Today, March 18, 2012, Poor Clares from all over the world are celebrating the 800th anniversary of the religious consecration of their Mother and Foundress, Saint Clare. On the night of Palm Sunday, 1212, Clare left her home and all of her belongings to follow Christ’s call to a life of prayer, penance and poverty.
Saint Clare was born in Assisi, Italy, in about 1194 into a family of knights and nobles. At the age of eighteen, Clare became the first female follower of Saint Francis and later the first woman in Church history to write a Rule. Because she remained for 40 years “rooted” in one place, she liked to call herself the Little Plant of St. Francis.
Today, there are over 20,000 Poor Clares and Poor Clare Colettine Nuns around the world.
The Poor Clare Nuns of Belleville, Illinois, have put together a beautiful reflection on the life of Saint Clare as expressed by our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II. We thank God for the gift of the Poor Clares; lives hidden yet shining brightly for all the world.
For the first time in 800 years, the relic of St. Clare has gone on pilgrimage from Italy, coinciding with the 800th anniversary of the founding of the Order of St. Clare. The fortunate recipient is the country of the Philippines where the relic, a bone from St. Clare’s cranium, will travel to 29 monasteries and other Catholic locations.
The Clarian year began on April 16, 2011, the vigil of Palm Sunday, and will reach its climax on March 18, 2012 , the 800th anniversary of Saint Clare’s Profession. It will conclude on August 12, 2012.
It was on the night of Palm Sunday, March 20, 1212, that Saint Clare left her home and traded her elegant dress for a simple brown tunic. Saint Francis cut off her hair, preserved to this day in a reliquary in Assisi, as she made a pledge to serve Christ. She died in 1253.
“Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me, but I was not with you. Created things kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you they would have not been at all. You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness. You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness. You breathed your fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you. I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more. You touched me, and I burned for your peace.” (X, 27.38).
St. Augustine of Hippo
On this Feast of St. Blaise, remember to get your throats blessed!
While traveling through Yugoslavia in 1989, I was surprised, while in Dubrovnik, Croatia, to see statues of St. Blaise in every nook and cranny. He is revered in that beautiful city because, according to tradition, he appeared in a dream to some townspeople to warn them of an impending Moslem attack. St. Blaise was an Armenian Bishop who was martyred c. 316. According to tradition, he cured a boy who had a fishbone stuck in his throat, hence the blessing of the throats today.
The picture to the left depicts St. Blaise holding an image of the city of Dubrovnik.
May God, through the intercession of St. Blaise, preserve us from throat troubles and every other evil.
A beautiful article on St. Thomas Aquinas by Fr. Brain Mullady, O.P., and his impact on Catholic teachings can be found at the Catholics United for the Faith website. Father makes the point that modern schlolars often miss the crux of Saint Thomas’ thinking, believing that he taught us how to think rather than what to think. “Often his followers have sacrificed what he thought so that they might enlist him as a support for some contemporary philosophy, and so have not done justice to the master.”
During Mass this morning, our Associate Pastor reminded us of the most important legacy that Saint Thomas left for us. When Our Lord told Thomas, “You have written well of me, Thomas! What do you desire?” Saint Thomas famously replied, “Non nisi te, Domine” (Only You, Lord). May we too desire only the Lord!
St. Thomas, pray for our modern day theologians who strive to present ancient truths in our modern times.
Today we celebrate the Feast Day of St. Francis de Sales (1567-1622) : Bishop, Evangelist and Spiritual Director.
Though he died almost 400 years ago, his words of wisdom for those desiring to deepen their spiritual life are as pertinent today as they were then. He presented a wonderful image to keep in mind on the value of receiving of Holy Communion regularly: “As the hares living in our snowy mountains grow white from living in the snow, so by perpetually worshiping and adoring beauty, goodness and purity in this Divine Sacrament, you, too, will become beautiful, good and pure” (An Introduction to the Devout Life).
St. Francis de Sales, pray for us and for the Church.