Feast of St. Clare | Custodia Terrae Sanctae

Feast of St. Clare

2012/08/12

Jerusalem, August 11, 2012

Feast of St. Clare

Here in Jerusalem, as throughout the world, the Feast of St. Clare closed the 8th Centenary of the founding of the Order of this Saint of Assisi.

The Feast began on Friday, August 10, with First Vespers, presided by Fra Feras Hijazin, Pastor of St. Saviour Church, in the presence of the Franciscan friars, religious and some of the faithful.

Saturday, August 11th, Celebration of Mass in the Chapel of the Convent of the Poor Clare’s in Jerusalem

His Excellency William Shomali, Auxiliary Bishop, presided at the Mass with Fra Artemio Vitores, Custodial Vicar as concelebrant. Among those present was the French Vice-Consul, Mr. Olivier Plançon.

In his homily Bishop Shomali recalled Clare’s experience, who at age twelve, was conquered by the example of Francis, who decided to divest himself of all his clothing and return them to his father, Bernardone. The young Clare, seven years later, would flee from home to join Francis and his companions at thePortiuncula.

Bishop Shomali links the life experience of Clare to the passage of the Gospel of St. John: “Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit.” (Jn 15:5) as a way to demonstrate how Clare was able to remain with Christ and brought forth many fruits of holiness and love for the Lord.

The Auxiliary Bishop sought the intercession of the Saint of Assisi for the Middle East, in particular for the events in Syria, the violence in the Sinai and for peace and tranquility in the Holy Land.

Pope Pius XII named St. Clare “patroness of telecommunications” because on Christmas Eve of 1252, while remaining in her cell, she was able to contemplate the crib and solemn ceremonies that took place in Santa Maria degli Angeli.

After the blessing and the kissing of the relic, an enjoyable time of fellowship and sharing took place in the garden of the Monastery.

The Clarisse have two Monasteries in the Holy Land, in Nazareth and in Jerusalem.

The Monastery in Jerusalem is on the outskirts of the Old City, and was founded in the late Nineteenth Century by French Mother Elisabeth of Calvary. Today it is a little spiritual oasis and a vibrant home for the community of fifteen nuns from different countries.

But who is Clare?

Born in 1193, Clare belonged to a wealthy aristocratic family. She gave up her nobility and wealth to live a life poor and humble, adopting the way of life proposed by Francis of Assisi. Even though her parents, as was the custom of the time, were planning her marriage to a prominent figure, Clare, at eighteen, in a bold gesture inspired by a deep desire to follow Christ and by admiration for Francis, left the family home, and in the company of her friend, Bona of Guelfuccio, secretly met the friars minor in the small Chapel of the Portiuncula. It was the evening of Palm Sunday, 2011. In a deeply symbolic gesture, Francis cut the hair of Clare and put on her a coarse penitential habit. From that moment, she became the virgin bride of Christ, humble and poor, consecrating herself totally to Him.

Like Clare and her companions, countless women throughout history have been drawn by the love of Christ, who, in the beauty of his Divine Person, fills their hearts.

Clare was the first woman in the Church to write aRule,approved only days before she died.

Clare and Francis are two people immersed totally inGod. Their life is a “here I am” call to a radical evangelism that can be realized only in part.
This example is more relevant than ever and fascinating, especially for young people who live in a society whichis individualistic, where one loses the sense of belonging to the family, to history, and in which it is difficult toacknowledge in the other the “you” which is so attractive.