Ordinary Time: August 11th
Memorial of St. Clare, Virgin
Other Commemorations: Sts Tiburtius and Susanna, martyrs (RM)
St. Clare of Assisi was the first woman to practice the life of entire poverty as taught by St. Francis. Placed by him at the head of a few companions in the small convent of San Damiano, she governed her community for forty-two years thus founding at the gates of Assisi the Order of Poor Clares. Their Rule included austerities hitherto unknown in monasteries of women. They went barefoot, slept on the ground, kept perpetual abstinence and made poverty the basis of their lives. St. Clare died on August 11, 1253, and was canonized two years after her death.According to the previous calendar (1962), today is the feast of Sts. Tiburtius and Susanna. St. Tiburtius is a Roman martyr of unknown date who is buried on the Via Laviacana in the cemetery known nowadays as the catacomb of Sts. Peter and Marcellinus. St. Susanna, a Roman virgin, was also martyred at an unknown date. There are two churches in Rome that bear her name. Historically today is the feast of St. Philomena, a young virgin and martyr of the fourth century.
The Breviary says of her: "Following the example of St. Francis, she distributed all her possessions among the poor. She fled from the noise of the world and betook herself to a country chapel, where St. Francis himself sheared off her hair and clothed her with a penitential garb (on March 18, 1212, at the age of eighteen). Then she resided at the Church of St. Damian, where the Lord provided for her a goodly number of companions. So she established a community of nuns and acted as their superior at the wish of St Francis. For forty-two years she directed the nunnery with zeal and prudence, her own life serving as a constant sermon for her sisters to emulate. Of Pope Innocent IV she requested the privilege that she and her community live in absolute poverty. She was a most perfect follower of St. Francis of Assisi.
Often Portrayed as: Woman with a monstrance in her hand; Nun holding a vessel containing the holy Eucharist.Things to Do:
- St. Clare's relics rest in The Basilica of Santa Chiara in Assisi, Italy. More information in English available here and here.
- This Franciscan Archive page dedicated to St. Clare has links to her writings, biographies, religious congregations, papal documents, and more.
- See images and information about the statue of St. Clare on St. Peter's Colonnade.
- Although not comprehensive, this site maintains the list of different Poor Clare Orders around the world.
- Since St. Clare is the patroness of television, here's an idea from A Treasure Chest of Traditions For Catholic Families by Monica McConkey:
While St. Clare is the patroness of sore eyes, she has also become the patroness of television. She miraculously saw and heard Mass, even when she was too sick to attend!Make a resolution to prevent sore eyes caused by too much television! Pick shows selectively. Some families create a token system, rationing viewing by requiring viewers to "PAY-PER-VIEW". Buttons, poker chips or other sets of small game pieces can be used as tokens (handed out weekly), or a TIME SHEET can be used to log in or out TV programs to keep track.Help children to choose programs carefully. Help children to recognize how programs which may be cute or funny, do not necessarily reflect family values. Keep the dialogue going and talk about the differences! Used with permission by Monica McConkey. See Arma Dei for more information about this great book. Treasure Chest is filled with unique ideas for activities, crafts and recipes to help families celebrate the various Seasons and Feast Days of the year.
- One of the divisions of the cloistered and contemplative Poor Clares is the "Poor Clare Federation of Mary Immaculate," which has 12 monasteries in the United States. One of the more known monasteries is the one in Roswell, New Mexico, where Mother Mary Francis, P.C.C. (1921-2006) was Mother Superior. Some of her books have been published by Ignatius Press. All her writings are highly recommended. She wrote a book on St. Clare, which is self-published and available through the sisters in NM.
- Read a short biography of St. Clare by Mother M. Angela, P.C.C..
- Mother Angelica of EWTN was a Poor Clare. Her monastery is Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration at Our Lady of the Angels Monastery in Hanceville, Alabama.
Sts. Tiburtius and Susanna
A sense of reverential awe and deep respect fills us whenever we meet the martyrs of the ancient Church. Yet it is often very difficult to give a strictly historical account of their lives. Nevertheless, even though we do not know all the biographical details, they are for us representatives of that "army of light," the martyrs, witnesses to Christ. And we want to be inspired by their example. Today the older Martyrology tells this: "At Rome, between the two laurel trees, the death of the holy martyr Tiburtius. During the persecution of Diocletian the magistrate Fabian forced him to tread barefoot upon burning coals. As it only served to make him profess the faith more boldly, he was ordered to be led outside the city until the third milestone and there beheaded. . . . At Rome, the holy virgin Susanna. She came from an illustrious family, and was the niece of the saintly Pope Cams. At the time of Diocletian she won the palm of martyrdom by being beheaded."
- See more information about St. Susanna's Statue in the Colonnade in St. Peter's.
- The Church of Santa Susanna in Rome is considered the American Church in Rome but has been closed to the public since 2013 due to falling items from the ceiling. St. Patrick's is now the American Church in Rome. Visit here for more information about the Church of Santa Susanna.
- In the Basilica of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in DC, the lower crypt church contains beautiful mosaics dedicated to women saints, including St. Susanna of Rome. See this page under the "East Apse" for more information, and this site for a close up of the beautiful mosaic.
- Much less information is known about Tiburtius. CatholicSaints.info for basic information. It is uncertain why these two saints are partnered together, since they died almost ten years apart.