“You will give birth to a light that will shine brilliantly in the world.”
—Message Clare’s mother, Ortalana, received while pregnant
In the Acts of the Process of Canonization, it was noted that Clare told her sisters about her mother receiving this message while in church one day during her pregnancy. Could this have inspired Clare’s name, which means “bright,” or was it just a foretelling of this child’s impact on the world? She certainly did become a light for society—both then and now—shining far and wide.
Gaze | Consider | Contemplate | Imitate
Early biographies extol the piety and generosity Clare exhibited in her youngest years. While such praise was common in telling the stories of saints, the evidence of her early behavior contrasts sharply with that of Francis, whose youth was clearly a patchwork of light and shadow.
She, on the other hand, adopted practices of penance that were extraordinary for one so young. She wore a penitential garment, recited prayers regularly, and saved her food for the poor. One interesting detail is that she sent alms to men working at Santa Maria degli Angeli, the tiny Marian sanctuary in the valley. This church, also called the Portiuncula, was the rallying point of the early generation of brothers. Was this, perhaps, the first evidence we have of a desire to support the companions of Francis?
It was becoming obvious to anxious family leaders that Clare had already decided that her life would not follow the expected path. She was strongly set upon another route whose contours were as yet unclear. This time of testing in the crucible of family pressure showed that she possessed a singular sense of self, a self already captivated by a summons from beyond earth’s kingdoms. —from Light of Assisi: The Story of Saint Clare
Your light of faith continues to shine bright for all to see.
Thank you for lighting our way toward Christ through your example.