Honoring St. Clare
Sister Claire André Gagliardi, OSC, tells us that ‘Clare was a cofounder of the Franciscan movement, where Clare supported Francis as he discerned God’s message for himself and his followers. Together with her sisters, she wrote the first Rule written for religious women by a woman.’ Not only do we have Clare’s Rule, we also have the benefit of her spiritual insights through correspondence: her letters to Agnes of Prague. This was social distancing not due to disease, but due to geography.
In the days before cell phones, email, or Zoom, Clare and Agnes communicated via hand written letters personally carried back and forth between Bohemia and Assisi by Franciscan Friars as they made their dangerous travels on foot across Europe. Clare shared her insights about the spiritual life with Agnes in these letters. The letters span a time period of 19 years. The first letter first letter is very formal, Clare, as Abbess and leader of her own religious community, is addressing a Princess, the eldest daughter of a King. Clare shares her fascination in Jesus in this letter. The Second letter dwells on Poverty and Contemplation, Clare asks Agnes to gaze upon Christ, contemplate Christ. Clare encourages us to look prayerfully, to think deeply, and through contemplation, to become Christ-like: to see our reflection in Christ, and Christ’s reflection in us. In the third letter, Clare bolsters Agnes up in meeting the challenges in living a Franciscan life. The fourth and final letter is written near Clare’s death; the letter is full of peace and joy and is considered by many as ‘one of the most beautiful pieces of spiritual literature.’ I invite you to spend time with Clare’s letters; they are posted on our website here.
May God Bless you and Keep You and in this extended time of Coronavirus and separation from so many that we love, please God, we’ll meet again before too long.
Secular Franciscan Order
Old Mission San Luis Rey
4050 Mission Avenue
Oceanside, CA 92057
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