ST CLARE, THE EUCHARIST AND THE FLEEING OF THE MUSLIMS
Years ago a sweet lady from my church offered me a very large and beautiful statue of St Clare of Assisi after I named my daughter Clare. I gladly accepted not knowing much about St Clare at the time except that she had bravely driven vicious soldiers from her convent while carrying Jesus in the Eucharist. It wasn't until I recently read Frank M. Rega's book St Francis and the Conversion of the Muslims that I realized that the Saracen soldiers that St Clare drove off-- were actually Muslims.
Clare was a beautiful Italian noblewoman who founded an order of nuns called the "Poor Clares." She was converted upon hearing St. Francis of Assisi preach. Thereafter, she developed a great desire to live a poor humble life for Jesus. She ran away from home, and in a little chapel outside Assisi, gave herself to God. St. Francis cut off her hair and gave her a rough brown habit to wear tied with a plain cord around her waist.
In the year 1240, St Clare saved her sisters and her convent from plundering hordes of Saracen mercenaries through the miracle of the Eucharist. As the Saracens were placing ladders against the walls of the convent she placed a monstrance containing the Eucharist in the sight of the men while she lay prostrate before Jesus and prayed. Here is an account of the incident from The History of Saint Clare, Virgin, written by Tommaso da Celano:
“By imperial order, regiments of Saracen soldiers and bowmen were stationed there (the convent of San Damiano in Assisi, Italy), massed like bees, ready to devastate the encampments and seize the cities. Once, during an enemy attack against Assisi, city beloved of the Lord, and while the army was approaching the gates, the fierce Saracens invaded San Damiano, entered the confines of the monastery and even the very cloister of the virgins. The women swooned in terror, their voices trembling with fear as they cried to their Mother, Saint Clare.
“Saint Clare, with a fearless heart, commanded them to lead her, sick as she was, to the enemy, preceded by a silver and ivory case in which the Body of the Saint of saints was kept with great devotion. And prostrating herself before the Lord, she spoke tearfully to her Christ: ‘Behold, my Lord, is it possible You want to deliver into the hands of pagans Your defenseless handmaids, whom I have taught out of love for You? I pray You, Lord, protect these Your handmaids whom I cannot now save by myself.’ Suddenly a voice like that of a child resounded in her ears from the tabernacle: ‘I will always protect you!’ ‘My Lord,’ she added, ‘if it is Your wish, protect also this city which is sustained by Your love.’ Christ replied, ‘It will have to undergo trials, but it will be defended by My protection.’ Then the virgin, raising a face bathed in tears, comforted the sisters: ‘I assure you, daughters, that you will suffer no evil; only have faith in Christ.’
Upon seeing the courage of the sisters, the Saracens took flight and fled back over the walls they had scaled, unnerved by the strength of she who prayed. And Clare immediately admonished those who heard the voice I spoke of above, telling them severely: ‘Take care not to tell anyone about that voice while I am still alive, dearest daughters.’”
According to Wikepedia "the term [Saracens] spread into Western Europe through the Byzantines and Crusaders. In the early centuries of the Roman Empire, the Saracens were a nomadic Moor tribe from the Sinai Peninsula...After the rise of Islam, and especially at the time of the Crusades, its usage was extended to refer to all Muslims, including non-Arab Muslims, particularly those in Sicily and southern Italy. In Christian writing, [saracens came] to mean "those empty of Sarah" or "not from Sarah," as Arabs were, in Biblical genealogies, descended from Hagar and also called the Hagarenes."
St Clare, pray for conversion of the world to Christ and His Church--and for Christians to realize the immense gift Jesus gave us in the Eucharist. It is precisely because the world has lost its faith in Jesus and the Eucharist that we now face the suicidal depopulation of the West and the ensuing invasion of Islam. Only through the eating of the flesh of the Son of God will we carry Jesus life within us and bravely command every evil to flee our midst.