Franciscan Special: St. Clare’s Christmas Miracle

Paul Keggington

December 21, 2011

Given this is the 800th anniversary year of St. Clare’s Palm Sunday decision to follow in the footsteps of Jesus and share St. Francis’ Gospel spirit, it is fitting to retell a tale dear to the Franciscan family. Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity invite you to enjoy St. Clare’s own unique Christmas Midnight Mass account, part of Franciscan literature’s ‘Little Flowers of St. Francis’. Sister Mariella Erdmann’s portrait of Clare holding the Trinitarian light in the darkness helps illustrate this miraculous story. 

Franciscan Sister Mariella Erdmann painted this portrait of St. Clare of Assisi found at the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity Motherhouse, Manitowoc, WI.

Once Saint Clare was seriously ill, so that she could not go to say the Office in church with the other nuns. When the solemnity of the Nativity of Christ arrived, all the others went to matins, and she remained in her bed, unhappy that she could not go together with the others to have that spiritual consolation. But Jesus Christ, her spouse, not wishing to leave her this way without consolation, had her miraculously carried to the Church of Saint Francis to be present for the whole Office of matins and the night Mass, and besides this, to receive Holy Communion, and then had her carried back to her bed.

When the office in San Damiano was finished and the nuns returned to Saint Clare, they said to her: “O Sister Clare, our Mother, what great consolation we’ve had on this Holy Nativity! If only it pleased God that you could  have been with us!” And Saint Clare replied: “My sisters and dearest daughters, I give thanks and praise to Our Blessed Lord Jesus Christ, because I have been present at all the solemnities of this holy night, and at greater ones than you have been, with much consolation to my soul, for by the intercession of my father Saint Francis and by the grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ, with the ears of my body and spirit I heard the whole Office and the music of the organ there and in that very place I received Holy Communion. Therefore, rejoice and thank God for such grace shown to me.” (Francis of Assisi The Prophet Early Documents, Vol. III, p. 626)

To the Praise of Jesus Christ and the little poor man Francis. Amen.

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