Just like many Catholics, St. Clare of Assisi has been one of my most favorite saints Growing up, my mom would always take me to the Monasterio Real de Sta. Clara in Katipunan, Quezon City– a church dedicated to St. Clare–to pray and light candles for our whole family. She would also tell me to write my wishes and prayers on a piece of paper and St. Clare would tell Jesus about them.
This practice soon became the reason why I had a deep devotion to St. Clare of Assisi and why every 11th of August, her feast day, I light up candles, pray the rosary, and ask for her intercession.
But aside from this, there are many fascinating facts about this saint that made her my favorite even more. Here are 5 things that make St. Clare of Assisi shine bright!
Her name literally means ‘bright’
Born to wealthy and noble Italian parents on July 16, 1194, St. Clare of Assisi was baptized as Chiara Offreduccio. Her name means “bright” or “clear”– an apt name for someone who shined brightly as an example of a woman who was a leader and a pioneer of so many ways.
She’s a rebel
Being the eldest daughter of a noble and wealthy family– and very pretty, according to various sources– St. Clare’s parents promised her hand in marriage when she was 15. But the young Clare resisted and wanted to consecrate herself to God. At the age of 18, she ran away to join the Franciscans and was soon joined by her sisters Agnes and Beatrice, and later their mother. (Read: Prayer to St. Agnes of Assisi, Abbess of the Poor Ladies)
She’s a pioneer of many things
St. Clare of Assisi was the first woman to follow St. Francis. She lived with the Benedictines of St. Paul then eventually moved to the nunnery of Sant’Angelo di Panzo, where she resided for 41 years. She was also the first and only woman to write a rule of religious life exclusively for women. The nuns’ lifestyle caught people’s attention since it was different from monastic tradition in both structure and content. The condition for living under the rule was to distribute one’s goods to the poor, hence they were known as the Order of Poor Clares. (Read: 10 Things Pope Francis and Saint Francis Share in Common)
She was brave
In the 1230, Emperor Frederick II was at war with the pope. He sent Muslim warriors to attack the valley in Italy where St. Clare of Assisi’s convent was located. The nuns, scared for their lives, gathered around Clare, who although weak and sick, had herself brought to the entrance of the convent. There, she knelt before a silver monstrance holding the Blessed Sacrament and prayed for protection. They weren’t attacked.
She is the patron saint of television
Who would have thought that a saint who lived nearly 800 years ago would be the patroness of television? Yes, Pope Pius XII named St. Clare of Assisi the patroness of TV in 1957. It’s said that one Christmas Eve, Clare was too sick to attend Mass and was overcome with emotion at being bedridden. But the Holy Spirit came to her rescue and projected the images and sounds of Mass on the wall of her room, in order to allow Clare to be “present” at the Mass. This made Pope Pius XII think of the saint when the television was invented in the mid-20th century. (Read: 3 Ways To Bring Your Family Closer to God Amid Mass Suspensions During ECQ)