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Saint Clare of Assisi (vegetarian): Devoted Italian Visionary and Co-Founder of the Poor Clares, Part 1 of 2

2021-08-08
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“Place your mind before the mirror of eternity! Place your soul in the brilliance of glory! Place your heart in the figure of the Divine substance! And transform your whole being into the image of the Godhead Itself through contemplation!” – Saint Clare of Assisi

Together with the devoted companion Saint Francis of Assisi, Saint Clare founded a religious monastic order with over 12,000 followers committed to serving the sick and poor. Very much influenced by her mother’s devotion to God, Saint Clare had a special relationship with Lord Jesus Christ. At the age of 18, Saint Clare was extremely moved when she heard the young Saint Francis of Assisi preaching during Lenten of 1212 in the church of San Giorgio. Saint Francis became Saint Clare’s lifelong friend and spiritual guide. After much singing and praying, Saint Clare exchanged her rich clothing for a simple habit and veil. As a symbol of her commitment, her beautiful long hair was cut short by Saint Francis. Other women joined them, and they became known as the “Poor Ladies of San Damiano,” living a simple life of austerity and seclusion from the world. They wore no shoes, abstained from consuming meat, and lived in a humble house, keeping silent all the time.

In 1215, Saint Clare became the abbess of San Damiano, spending her days praying and doing manual work. She learned the “Office of the Passion” by heart, a prayer composed by Saint Francis in order to increase her love for Christ. Under her guidance, the community became the sanctuary of saints.

On two occasions, Saint Clare was credited to saving Assisi from invaders. One famous incident is called the “Miracle of the Eucharist of Assisi.” During turbulence in 1240, the convent of San Damiano stood between an army and the city of Assisi. Saint Clare took the Holy Eucharist and held it high in the air. Legend has it that those invaders were momentarily blinded by a bright light which frightened them, and they fled. In 1241, a similar situation occurred when other troops tried to attack. Many miracles happened during Saint Clare’s lifetime, such as the sick being cured by her blessing. Sometimes an aura of rainbow could be seen surrounding her.

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