Today, August 11, is the memorial of Saint Clare, Virgin and Foundress of the Order of Poor Ladies of San Damiano, which was changed officially to the Order of Saint Clare by Pope Urban IV in the year 1263, and today these religious sisters are commonly known as the Poor Clares.
She is the patron saint of television (yes, television), laundry, eye diseases and goldsmiths. She was born in 1194 and entered Heavenly Glory in 1253. On September 26, 1255, two years after her earthly death Pope Alexander IV canonized her as a Saint of the Catholic Church. To learn more about Saint Claire, click here.
To conclude this quick post on Saint Clare, I would like to focus on the Blessing that is attributed to Franciscan saint. The reason it’s attributed to her is because there is no real historical evidence of her actually saying it, however, within the Poor Clares tradition this blessing plays an important role for they cherish it as a reminder of their great foundress. The blessing is mentioned earliest during the year of 1350, where it was found in a Middle High German translation. This blessing is also very similar to a blessing she wrote to Blessed Agnes of Prague in a letter.
The story follows – As Saint Clare was on her deathbed, she asked that all the Poor Sisters at San Damiano come together once last time with her so she could give them, as well as all the future sisters of the Order, a final blessing…
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
May the Lord bless you and keep you. May He show His face to you and be merciful to you. May He turn His countenance to you and give you peace.
I, Clare, a handmaid of Christ, a little plant of our holy Father Francis, a sister and mother of you and the other Poor Sisters, although unworthy, ask our Lord Jesus Christ through His mercy and through the intercession of His most holy Mother Mary, of Blessed Michael the Archangel and all the holy angels of God, and of all His men and women saints, that the heavenly Father give you and confirm for you this most holy blessing in heaven and on earth. On earth, may He increase [His] grace and virtues among His servants and handmaids of His Church Militant. In heaven, may He exalt and glorify you in His Church Triumphant among all His men and women saints.
I bless you in my life and after my death as much as I can and more than I can with all the blessings with which the Father of mercies has and will have blessed His sons and daughters in heaven and on earth. Amen.
Always be lovers of God and your souls and the souls of your Sisters, and always be eager to observe what you have promised the Lord.
May the Lord be with you always and, wherever you are, may you be with Him always. Amen.
Saint Clare…Pray for Us.
Francis, Regis J. Armstrong, Ignatius C. Brady, and Clare. Francis and Clare: The Complete Works. New York: Paulist, 1982. Print.