August 12 – St. Clare, Abbess

St. Clare

On Palm Sunday, March 17, 1212, the Bishop of Assisi left the altar to present a palm to a noble maiden, eighteen years of age, whom bashfulness had detained in her place. This maiden was St. Clare. Already she had learnt from St. Francis to hate the world, and was secretly resolved to live for God alone. The same night she escaped, with one companion, to the Church of the Portiuncula, where she was met by St. Francis and his brethren. At the altar of Our Lady, St. Francis cut off her hair, clothed her in his habit of penance, a piece of sack-cloth, with his cord as a girdle. Thus she was espoused to Christ. In a miserable house outside Assisi she founded her Order, and was joined by her sister, fourteen years of age, and afterwards by her mother and other noble ladies. They went barefoot, observed perpetual abstinence, constant silence, and perfect poverty. While the Saracen army of Frederick II. was ravaging the valley of Spoleto, a body of infidels advanced to assault St. Clare’s convent, which stood outside Assisi. The Saint caused the Blessed Sacrament to be placed in a monstrance, above the gate of the monastery facing the enemy, and kneeling before it, prayed, “Deliver not to beasts, O Lord, the souls of those who confess to Thee.” A voice from the Host replied, “My protection will never fail you.” A sudden panic seized the infidel host, which took to flight, and the Saint’s convent was spared. During her illness of twenty-eight years the Holy Eucharist was her only support and spinning linen for the altar the one work of her hands. She died in 1253, as the Passion was being read, and Our Lady and the angels conducted her to glory.

Reflection.—In a luxurious and effeminate age, the daughters of St. Clare still bear the noble title of poor, and preach by their daily lives the poverty of Jesus Christ.

pink roses sparkle

Taken from the “Pictorial Lives of the Saints: with Reflections for Every Day in the Year”


Lord, have mercy upon us.
Christ, have mercy upon us.
Lord, have mercy upon us.

O Christ, hear us.
O Christ, graciously hear us.

O God the Father, of Heaven:
have mercy upon us.
O God the Son, Redeemer of the world:
O God, the Holy Ghost:
O Holy Trinity, one God:
have mercy upon us.

Holy Mary:
Pray for us.
Immaculate Virgin:
Mother and Mistress of our Order:
Pray for us.

St. Clare, first-born of thy Order:
Pray for us.

St. Clare, resplendent with the light of Jesus:
St. Clare, resplendent in thy noble heritage:
St. Clare, resplendent in thy renunciation thereof:
St. Clare, resplendent in clinging to the altar as thy portion:
St. Clare, resplendent as first abbess of a great Order:
St. Clare, resplendent in putting the Saracens to flight:
St. Clare, resplendent in reparation for the sins of the world:
St. Clare, resplendent in wondrous miracles:
St. Clare, little plant of St. Francis:
St. Clare, princess of the poor:
St. Clare, duchess of the humble:
St. Clare, mistress of the chaste:
St. Clare, abbess of the penitent:

St. Clare, alabaster box of ointment broken at the feet of Jesus:
St. Clare, received at death by a choir of virgins:
St. Clare, censer of sweet perfume filling heaven and earth:
Pray for us.
O Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world:
spare us, O Lord.
O Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world:
graciously hear us, O Lord.
O Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world:
have mercy upon us.

V. Pray for us, O blessed Clare. Alleluia.
R. That we may be worthy of the promises of Christ. Alleluia.

Let us pray.

Choose one of the following Collects.

O God Who hast raised up blessed Clare as a shining lamp of holiness to lighten the way before a multitude of virgins: by her merits and prayers grant to us who do call to mind her commemoration, that in this life we may walk in Thy light, and in the life to come, may forever enjoy the light of Thy countenance. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

We beseech Thee, O Lord, that like as we do celebrate the memory of blessed Clare thy Virgin: so she may intercede for us; and that we may become partakers with her of eternal joy and joint heirs of Thy Only-Begotten Son. Who livest and reignest forever and ever. Amen.

O God, Who hast filled the world with the splendid virtues of blessed Clare, Thy Virgin, by whom Thou hast also increased Thy Church with a new offspring: be pleased to grant; that we may so follow in her steps as to attain unto the splendor of her eternal glory. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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