On Friday, August 11th, 2023, His Beatitude Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, presided over a Mass at the Poor Clares’ convent in Jerusalem to celebrtae the feast day of Saint Claire of Assisi. Concelebrating was Mgr William Shomali, General Vicar, and several other priests. The Franciscans served at the altar, and many of them attended to celebrate the Saint whose decision of consecration happened upon hearing the preaching of St. Francis and was inspired by his way of living. Among the assembly was the French Consul, Mr. René Troccaz, the Italian Consul General, Mr. Giuseppe Fedele, as well as many religious sisters and faithful.
“Contemplative sisters remined us to remain in contemplation, in prayer and reflection of God’s Word,” said Mgr Pizzaballa, in his homily, explaining that Saint Claire remained consistent in her decision of starting a new religious order, the first woman to do so, and the first Franciscan community. “At her time this decision went against the traditions. But despite all odds she remained persistent in prayer, waiting on God for direction. She chose to find security in God, which was a courageous act then,” he added.
Two years after her death she was canonized. "Go forth without fear, Christian soul, for you have a good guide for your journey. Go forth without fear, for He that created you has sanctified you, has always protected you, and loves you as a mother,” said Saint Clare, on her deathbed in 1253.
Short Biography of the Saint
Born in 1194, in a Christian noble family, Saint Clare of Assisi was one of the main followers of St Francis and the first woman to ever write the rule of a religious order - her own. Very devoted to prayer, she decided to dedicate her life to God after hearing one of Saint Francis’ sermons during Lent, when she was still a teenager. Despite her father’s disapproval, she left her family and, with St Francis’ help, entered a convent of Benedictine nuns. After her sister Catarina joined her, they moved to a small house next to the church of San Damiano, which had previously been restored by St Francis. Soon, other women joined them, becoming known as the “Poor Ladies of San Damiano” due to their poverty and simplicity. Their life, based on the theology and rule of St. Francis, was not easily accepted by the Church, but Clare was able to convince it to accept it. She soon became abbess of the order and wrote its rule: after her death, it became the Order of St. Clare (or Poor Clares). Today, the Poor Clares are a contemplative order of nuns spread throughout the world.