“She frequently and reverently washed the feet of the serving sisters who returned from outside and, after washing them kissed them.” —The Legend of St. Clare
As the ultimate act of humility and service, Clare would often wash her sister’s feet. There is a story that recalls a time when as Clare was bending to kiss a sister’s foot, the sister pulled her foot away out of humility and accidentally kicked St. Clare in the mouth. Rather than react, St. Clare simply pulled the foot close to her again, and kissed it.
In such an act of humility, St. Clare mirrored that of Christ as he washed and kissed the feet of the disciples at the Last Supper.
Gaze | Consider | Contemplate | Imitate
Francis came to San Damiano for care. His companions were sworn to secrecy about the miraculous vision of Christ, but the fact of the wounds and the resulting pain were adding to his rapid physical decline. For all of the torment Clare now witnessed, she had the joy of being able to serve him with all of her skill.
Not only was she able to see to the medicinal help he needed, but she provided special slippers to protect his feet from the excruciating pain of the wounds. Clare had spent years in adoration before the Cross that had called him from sin. Who could better understand what was transpiring? This fact of stigmatization was totally new in Christian experience.
These confidential companions struggled to comprehend it and to trust the evidence of their own eyes. Only with the formal notice of Francis’s death was the miracle made public. It would, to be sure, be controversial through the ages.
For Clare, controversy was unimaginable. She bathed and dressed those wounds barely daring to breath. She saw—as few would ever see—what a poet would later call Francis’s “Veronica-veil of flesh.” His early promise to lead her to intimacy with Jesus was fulfilled as she beheld the incarnate icon of the Crucified Son of God. –from Clare of Assisi: A Heart Full of Love
As we observe Holy Thursday,
may your act of humility and service inspire us
to strip away our vanities and humbly serve others.