Church indebted to courageous women, teaches Holy Father
Church indebted to courageous women, teaches Holy Father
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- Continuing his theme on women's contributions to the Church throughout history, Pope Benedict recalled the life of St. Clare of Assisi during his catechesis on Wednesday. “Her witness,” the Pope noted, “shows us how much the Church is indebted to courageous women rich in faith who, like her, were capable of giving a decisive impulse to ecclesial renewal.”

Born into wealthy nobility, the saint had a marriage arranged for her when she was very young, the Holy Father explained. However, at the age of eighteen, Clare left her family home and joined the Friars Minor at the church of Porziuncola in Italy. The renowned St. Francis of Assisi welcomed her, cut her hair and invested her with the penitential habit.

“Clare found in Francis of Assisi, especially at the beginning of her religious experience, not only a master whose teachings to follow but also a fraternal friend,” he said. “The friendship between these two saints is a beautiful and important element, for when two pure souls inflamed with the same love for God meet, from their mutual friendship they draw a powerful stimulus to follow the path of perfection.”

“Friendship is one of the most noble and exalted human sentiments, which divine Grace purifies and transfigures.”

The Pope continued to say how a Flemish bishop by the name of Jacques de Vitry, who visited Italy during that period, observed St. Clare and her followers' embracing of  “a characteristic trait of Franciscan spirituality: ... radical poverty associated with complete trust in Divine Providence.”

It was because of this, he added, that the saint received “from Pope Gregory IX, or perhaps earlier, from Innocent III,” the so-called “Privilegium Paupertatis” which stated that Clare and her followers “could possess no material property.”

“This,” the Holy Father clarified, “was a truly extraordinary exception to then current canon law, granted by the ecclesiastical authorities of the time in appreciation of the fruits of evangelical sanctity they saw in the lifestyle of Clare and her consoeurs.”

“This shows,” he underscored, “how even during the Middle Ages women played an important not a secondary role.”

“In this context it must be remembered that Clare was the first woman in Church history to produce a written Rule, approved by the Pope, so that the charism of Francis of Assisi could be conserved in all the many female communities which were coming into being at that time, and which sought to draw inspiration from the example of Francis and Clare,” he added.

“In her convent of San Damiano,” Benedict XVI said, “Clare heroically practiced the virtues that should characterize all Christians: humility, a spirit of piety and penance, and charity.”

Pope Alexander IV canonized Clare in 1255, two years after her death. Her followers, the Poor Clares, still “play a vital role in the Church with their prayer and their works,” Pope Benedict said in conclusion.

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages


Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google

Featured Videos

Cardinal Luis Tagle to Pope Francis
Cardinal Luis Tagle to Pope Francis
Pope Francis in the Philippines: Manila Welcomes the Pope
Pope Francis in Sri Lanka: Highlights
Pope Francis in Sri Lanka: Interview with Cardinal Ranjith
Pope Francis in SriLanka: Inter-religious Faith Meeting
Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Family thrilled to see Pope Francis in Istanbul
Syrian Refugee, Sara, 14, Before Meeting Pope
Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
One year after Haiyan: Philippines rebuilds homes, lives
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day

Liturgical Calendar

January 30, 2015

Friday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mk 4:26-34


Daily Readings

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »


Homily of the Day

Mk 4:26-34