As the army of Frederick II approached San Damiano, home of the Order of Poor Ladies, I’m sure the air was filled with terror. The soldiers intended to raid the convent–to what end? These women had no treasures, but I can imagine their worst fears. As they came near, the nuns carried their leader, frail and sickly, out to the walls of the convent where she placed the Sacrament of the Eucharist on the wall. “O Lord, protect these Sisters whom I cannot protect now,” she prayed. Suddenly, the soldiers became frightened and changed course. The Poor Ladies of San Damiano were safe.
St. Clare of Assisi (July 16, 1194 – August 11, 1253) was one of the first followers of St. Francis of Assisi. Her father had arranged for her marriage when she was 15, but at 18, she chose to go against his wishes to create a new order of nuns, based on the principles of poverty Francis taught. The Order of Poor Ladies, known later as the Poor Clares, ate no meat, wore no shoes, performed manual labor and depended on donations for their needs. Their order was cloistered at San Damiano and Clare herself never left the walls of the convent. Clare was ill for most of her life, but still cared for and supported her sisters as well as Francis and his friars. When Francis fell ill, Clare tended to him until he died.
One Christmas Eve, Clare was too sick to go to mass. As she lay in bed, she was able to see the mass on the wall of her room. For this, she is the patron of television. Mother Angelica, founder of EWTN, is of the order of the Poor Clares.
Patron of eye disorders and television.
Read more about St. Clare here.
Prayer to St. Clare
God of mercy,
You inspired Saint Clare with the love of poverty.
By the help of her prayers
may we follow Christ in poverty of spirit
and come to the joyful vision of Your glory
in the Kingdom of heaven.
We ask this through Our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
Who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.