Don't miss our End of Summer Fund Drive! DONATE NOW!

% Funded | raised | donors

Saint Clare novena

Prayer


Reflection

Is your faith strong enough that you would be willing to walk away from the comforts of your life in order to fully live out that faith? Take a moment to reflect on that question. For Saint Clare, the answer was easy. So easy, that at the young age of 18, she walked away from her life of nobility and all of its comforts, descended to the hills below Assisi, and joined Saint Francis in living out his mission.

It was not a hasty move, though. Before she made her way to the plains below Assisi, she would often take food from the family’s table and bring it to the needy on the streets of the city. These small acts of mercy provided a gateway to a lifetime of care for others. Even small acts of love convey Christ’s message for others. For Clare, Christ was her focus and Saint Francis was her guide to them. Her path, however, was definitely her own.


In Clare’s Own Words

“We are to become vessels of God’s compassionate love for others.” 


Questions for Reflection

Saint Clare gave up a life of privilege for a life of poverty. Could you do something so drastic? How dependent are you on your daily comforts?

Life can be complicated and noisy. In what ways can you simplify your life to make room for God?

Forging your own path takes bravery. What small changes can you make to your faith practices today? 


 

St. Clare of Assisi: Pray for us!

Prayer


Reflection

At some point in our lives, we will all experience some form of suffering. Whether it is physical or emotional in nature, it is painful and difficult. Saint Clare was no stranger to suffering. Throughout her life she endured pain and illness and often was bedridden. She did not, however, allow it to distance her from Christ. Even then, Clare held on to her promise of simplicity. Her bed was a straw mat, her pillow a layer of straw. Only when Francis instructed the sisters to give Clare a bale of hay for a pillow did she accept it. She did not allow her suffering to distract her from her commitment to Christ. In fact, she saw it as a connection with the crucified Lord. 

In the midst of suffering is when it can be the hardest to feel as if God is with us. It is at those times that we must turn to Christ, as Saint Clare did, and remember that even in our darkest moments, Christ is there. 


In Clare’s Own Words

“Love that does not know of suffering is not worthy of the name.”


Questions for Reflection

What suffering have you endured?

What would you say to someone who is going through a trying time?

When is a time when you felt distant from God? What did you do?


 

St. Clare of Assisi: Pray for us!

Prayer


Reflection

It is not often that you hear mention of Saint Clare without also hearing of Saint Francis. The two often seem to be a package deal. That is understandable, seeing as it was Francis who captivated Clare’s wonder as a young girl with his preaching in the town square. He helped lead her to her new and desired life of prayer and the two remained companions throughout their lives. Their ministries took on different forms—Francis among the people, Clare within the walls of San Damiano—but they never lost their connection. Francis was an inspiration for Clare; Clare was a constant support for Francis. 

But Clare was also joined in her ministry by others, including her mother, Ortolana, her sisters Catherine and Beatrix, and her Aunt Bianca. Women from the surrounding area also began to find their way to San Damiano, eager to join this community focused on simplicity and Christ. 

Life can be hard. When we face obstacles and challenges—both in life and our faith—it helps to have others to provide support, just like Clare found within her community. Try to be that person for someone today. 


In Clare’s Own Words

“We become what we love and who we love shapes what we become.”


Questions for Reflection

Who has been a steady companion and support for you in your life?

What obstacles have you faced—or currently face—in your life and how have you dealt with them?

Who would be most likely to join you in a ministry such as Clare's?


St. Clare: Pray for us!

St. Clare of Assisi: Pray for us!

Prayer


Reflection

For some, the life of Saint Clare may seem rather unappealing, spending her days inside the modest dwelling of Sam Damiano with her sisters in silence, going about the daily tasks of praying, cleaning, gardening, and other chores. It was the perfect vision of Clare’s quest for simplicity, of stripping away anything that could come between her and Christ.  

In this day and age of what seems like constant noise and distractions, though, this way of life probably seems completely unachievable and undesirable. But to Clarethis way of life made perfect sense. It was the manifestation of her ideal life, stripping away all things that could detract from fully focusing on Christ. 

Clare’s way of living the Gospel was not Saint Francis’ way, yet she left a profound mark on the life of the Church through her own form of ministry. We may not all be called to go out among the people. For some, their impact may be more interior—praying for others in need, caring for those who are quietly suffering, quietly serving the Church. Regardless, they are helping to serve Christ.


In Clare’s Own Words

“Live and hope in the Lord, and let your service be according to reason.”


Questions for Reflection

If you were called to ministry, what would it look like? Would you be more like Clare or Francis?

Given your personality, what are some ministries that would be a good fit for you?

Do you think that because Clare's ministry was not as visible as Francis' that she is often overlooked?


 

St. Clare of Assisi: Pray for us!

Prayer


Reflection

This final line of Clare’s prayer (see below), which calls us to go forward as we have been called by God, is perhaps the most important line. Saint Clare was definitely a woman of conviction and strength. From the moment that she left her home she was determined to steadfastly hold on to her desire to serve Christ. She held strong when her uncles tried to return her to the family home. She held strong when Pope Honorius III approved a rule that would have allowed the sisters to hold property in common. And she fought to have her rule approved before her death. 

It was her conviction to defend that which she felt so strongly about that serves as a model for us today. Certainly, the issues Clare faced are not the same as the ones we struggle with today. But her determination to stand up for what she believed in serves as a powerful example and role model for us in our modern times. 

In Clare’s Own Words

“What you hold may you always hold. What you do, may you always do and never abandon.”


Questions for Reflection

Reflect on a time when you were persistent about something you truly wanted or believed in.

Why was it so important to you?

Could you have been as bold as Clare in fighting for her convictions?


 

St. Clare of Assisi: Pray for us!

Prayer


Reflection

How many times do we look into a mirror to check things like our clothes and hair. Mirrors are great for checking surface-level things like that. But in her final letter to Agnes of Pragueshe encouraged Agnes to look deeper than the surface level of the mirror. The mirror, she wrote, is a tool for understanding the spiritual life. Using the different aspects of the mirrors, such as the outside edges, Clare tells Agnes to reflect on the “poverty of Him who was placed in a manger and wrapped in swaddling clothes.” This type of everyday evangelization was a hallmark of Clare’s ministry to others. 

Are we reflecting the type of person we would like to be on the inside as opposed to how we look? Of course, we can’t see those more spiritual things in a mirror, but the idea is a powerful one, one with which we can all relate. Take a minute to reflect on your gaze. Look deeper into your soul. Are your actions reflecting your intentions? If not, how can you change your spiritual appearance?


In Clare’s Own Words

"Gaze upon the mirror each day, O Queen and Spouse of Jesus Christ, and continually study your face within it.”


Questions for Reflection

Physical characteristics aside, take some time to reflect on what you think makes you beautiful.

If you could write your younger self a letter about beauty, what would you say?

Think of ways that you may contribute to society's obsession with physical appearance.

 


St. Clare: Pray for us!

St. Clare of Assisi: Pray for us!

Prayer


Reflection

Our world is very noisy. We are surrounded by distractions that constantly compete for our attention—cell phones, TV, computers, and so many other things. Saint Clare never could have imagined all of the distractions people would face in the future—except for maybe television, of which she is the patron saint. When we are constantly trying to keep up with the pace of the world, we run the risk of missing out on very important aspects of it and losing focus on our true life’s purpose. So often, quiet and solitude are difficult to come by.  

After joining Francis and embarking on a new life with her sisters at San Damiano, Clare fully embraced the quiets and solitude of the convent, becoming wholly and completely focused on serving the Lord. What a stark contrast to modern-day life!  

As Saint Clare reminds us, we should all step away from the hustle and bustle of our lives once in a while. Perhaps it is in that quiet that we will embrace quietness, find moments of peace, refocus on what is truly important, and reconnect with Christ.


In Clare’s Own Words

“Do not be disturbed by the clamor of the world, which passes like a shadow.”


Questions for Reflection

What things in your life are keeping you from embracing moments of quiet?

What can you do to change that?

If someone told you to go someplace peaceful and quiet, where would you go?


 

St. Clare of Assisi: Pray for us!

Prayer


Reflection

Being a humble as she was, Saint Clare would probably take issue with the words included below to describe her. But those who knew Clare would probably not. One person who found comfort and counsel in Clare was Saint Francis. Whenever he struggled with the direction of his mission and vocation, Clare provided him with insight and encouragement. She also provided comfort and counsel to others, including Francis’ brothers and her own sisters. 

If you were to ask your friends and family what your strongest qualities and positive characteristics are, what do you think they would say? Would they be as noteworthy as those Clare received when she was canonized. And yet she lived a humble, modest life. Too often, we get caught in the belief that we are not holy enough, humble enough, or not in the correct state of life to emulate someone like Saint Clare or the other saints. 

Yet each of us has our own talents, honorable characteristics, and gifts to offer to others. The key is to uncover those things and bring them to light for the good of all.


Honoring Saint Clare

“Clare was a vessel of humility, a shrine of chastity, a flame of love, the essence of kindness, the strength of patience, the bond of peace, and the source of loving unity in her community.”
—Document of Canonization


Questions for Reflection

What are your strengths? Make a list of what you think they are.

How could you use your talents in order to help others?

Saint Clare was a supportive companion for St. Francis. Who is that person for you and what do you appreciate the most about him or her?


St. Clare: Pray for us!

St. Clare of Assisi: Pray for us!

Prayer


Reflection

Clare's life was one devoted to service. Everything she did—leaving her family, following Francis, living a life of poverty, establishing the Poor Clares—all of that was done to serve God. Christ was the beacon of her life. We can recount the many events of her life, but we must always remember that at the heart of them was her love for the crucified Christ and how she could bring his message to others. 

Much like a stone thrown into water extends ripples far and wide, Clare’s holiness and faith helped spread the vision of St. Francis to many—even to this day. Each woman she joined in community with, each brother of Francis that she counseled, each cardinal or pope she challenged, each was changed as a result of Clare’s living example. 

It is a good reminder to us that at the heart of all we do, we must remember to keep our focus on the greater mission of serving Christ in our lives. May we all be such devoted followers of Christ that we are able to touch even just a fraction of those Saint Clare has.


In Saint Clare’s Own Words

“Love God, serve God; everything is in that.”  


Questions for Reflection

What does being of service to others mean to you?

What are some ways you have done service for others?

What does serving Christ look like to you?


 

FM_nonprofit_horizontal_white