“Go forth in peace, for you have followed the good road. Go forth without fear, for he who created you has made you holy, has always protected you, and loves you as a mother. Blessed be you, my God, for having created me.” ~ Saint Clare of Assisi
“Apart from yoga, meditation, reading, [needlepoint] has to be one of the most serene things to do (don’t lose your needles though, that can create a severe lack of serenity.)” ~ Carole Berman and Jennifer Lazarus
“We become what we love and who we love shapes what we become.” ~ Saint Clare of Assisi
Featured Feast Day: August 11, Saint Clare
Patroness of: embroiderers, goldsmiths, eye disease, needle workers, television, good weather, gilders, laundry workers
Saint Clare was born in Assisi, Italy, in 1193 to wealthy parents and was taught to read and write as well as spin yarn and do needlework. She died in 1253 at a monastery the San Damiano, Italy. Her father died when she was very young. She lived with her mother in a palace. Clare would follow St. Francis of Assisi as he was preaching in the street and the two became good friends. One day, she told him she desired to live only for God. Soon, Clare ran away from her mother‘s palace during the night to enter religious life. She eventually took the veil from Saint Francis at the Church of Our Lady of the Angels in Assisi, Italy.
Clare founded the Order of Poor Ladies (Poor Clares) at San Damiano and led it for 40 years. Clare’s mother and sisters later joined the order. There are still thousands of members the world over living lives of silence and prayer.
Clare loved music and well-composed sermons. She was humble, forgiving, hospitable, optimistic, courageous, and every day she meditated on the Passion of Jesus. Once when her convent was about to be attacked, she displayed the Eucharist in a monstrance at the convent gates. The attackers left, the house was saved, and the image of her holding a monstrance became one of her emblems. Her patronage of eyes and against their problems may have developed from her name which has overtones from clearness, brightness, and brilliance – like healthy eyes.
Toward the end of her life, when she was too ill to attend Mass, an image of the service would display on the wall of her cell; thus her patronage of television.
In the days of Clare, monastics excelled in needlework, an artistic expression that is contemplative. Today, the members of contemplative communities still produce beautiful needlework: embroidery, knitting and crocheting, lacemaking, quilting, and tatting. They often sell liturgical vestments and wall hangings. Because many women take on various needlework projects, this month, we are featuring Saint Clare, patroness of needle workers.
Lectio Divina: Scripture for spiritual reading and meditating
For reading on Contemplative, Centering Prayer, see contemplative.net.
Phil 3:8-14 ~ Pursue maturity in knowing God.
Psalm 16 ~ A Prayer of Confidence (see it at Bible Gateway here)
Psalm 46 ~ God Is With Us (see it at Bible Gateway here)
Audio Divina: Music and Presentation
To celebrate the 800th Anniversary of the Poor Clares, A concert, narrated by Murshida Carol Weyland Conner, was given at the National Shrine of Saint Francis in San Francisco, California. Presented on August 11, 2012, the anniversary of Saint Clare’s passing, the performers offered original songs, dances, and pantomimes to express Clare’s devotion to her new life — a life of perfect joy lived in total surrender to God and in selfless service to His Creation.
Visio Divina: Art for prayer and meditation
“Visual images are another doorway to sacred awareness. They can touch into our desire to grow in intimacy with God. So, we encourage one another to let ourselves be touched by the colors, shapes, figures and symbols that capture our attention most as we are praying. While gazing at an image ~ a painting, a photo, an icon, a sculpture, a piece of pottery … something may leap out at us, calling our attention to something of God just waiting to reveal itself to us.”
(Ideas inspired by Christine Valters Paintner and Betsey Beckman in their book, Awakening the Creative Spirit: Bringing the Arts to Spiritual Direction. See also Abbey of the Arts.)
You may want to view this presentation to understand the art that follows: October 18, 2014: Needlework Symposium with Nancy Lukoskie
To find beautiful, Christian needlework like what follows, visit cathedral.org.
Another site with Christian needlework is Pinterest: Church Needlepoint.
Washington, DC National Cathedral needlepoint
The church of St. Laurence in Wyck Rissington, UK, has amazing kneelers stitched with local scenes by Hilary Fewtrell
LeAnne Brubaker on Pinterest: Needlepoint Ecclesiastical: Needlepoint-National Cathedral, Washington DC
For Spiritual Reading: to learn more about Saint Clare of Assisi
A biography of St. Clare from the Sisters of St. Clare, Saginaw, MI
Featured Monastery: Poor Clares, Duncan, British Columbia, Canada
This monastery is located in the Cowichan Valley in Duncan, British Columbia. The beauty of evergreens, flower and vegetable gardens speak to visitors of the Franciscan lifestyle of Saint Francis of Assisi.
The members live together as sisters and center their lives on finding God in all that they see and do. They offer an environment that focuses on the development and holistic growth of each sister and of the group as a whole. Their desire is that the harmony that they create among themselves will be a positive energy for the world around them.
The monastery chapel is not only their space. It is open and shared with others who join them for scheduled times of prayer, or, who go there for solace and quiet time.
For additional information visit their website.
While browsing on this site, check out this page about Sr. Doreen. Sr. Doreen Trautman was a Sister of Saint Anne for some 30 years. She long felt a call to be a Poor Clare and transferred to the Poor Clares in 1986.