Wednesday, September 3, 2014


Blessed Clare of Agolanti
Also known as Clare of Rimini
Born in Rimini, Italy, 1282;
Died 1346.
Beatified 1782 by Pope Pius VI

Feast day 10 February
Clare, though born and brought up in circumstances of great wealth and comfort, learned early the meaning of misfortune. She lost her husband while still young, was herself exiled during a time of civil war, and saw her father and a brother die on the scaffold.

 It was after her second marriage that, with the approval of her husband, she turned to a life of self-discipline. Laying aside her jewels, she wore in their stead rings of iron on her wrists, fingers, and neck. She slept always on a hard bed and imposed upon herself long periods of fasting and prayer. Some of her physical austerities were so extravagant that they were questioned by even her contemporaries.

 But she is chiefly remembered as the saint of the watch-tower on the town walls. This watch-tower was an old and disused lookout to which she retired during Lent and where, exposed to the wind and rain, she prayed for herself and her fellow citizens. But she did more than pray. She lived a life of perfect charity with all men. As a result of her close communion with God and of her constant watching over the city, her heart overflowed with love and goodwill, which showed itself in many practical ways, and from her watchtower she came down and ran to where the need for help was greatest.

 At the call of an exiled brother who had fallen ill she flew at once to his bedside, nursed him with devoted care, and brought him home. On another occasion, learning that the sisters of a convent were without fuel, she went into the country, gathered wood, and carried it through the streets to their door. On the way she met a relative, a noble of the city, who, horrified to see her thus demean herself, sent a servant to carry the wood, but she refused to give up her burden, saying that just as our Lord was not ashamed to carry His Cross through the streets, so she was proud to carry firewood for the needs of His people.

 At another time, hearing that a poor man was sentenced to pay a heavy fine or have his hand cut off, she sold herself as a slave to pay his fine; when the magistrates heard the story they were so touched with pity that they refused the money and pardoned the man. Once when she gave way to angry speech she punished herself by nipping her tongue with a pair of pincers.

 In addition to these and many other acts of charity and discipline, she built a convent near the old sentry-box on the city walls, but she never joined the convent herself. For ever after, those who followed her kept alive her spirit and, like her, watched over the city. Towards the end of her life, she went blind. Those eyes that had looked out so kindly upon her brothers and which had shone with the love of Christ could no longer see. But she was still the saint of the watchtower of Rimini, and when she died she was buried in her own chapel under the city walls .

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