“If thou fearest thy vow,” said the Pope, “we release thee from the vow.”
“Holy Father,” answered Clare, “absolve me from my sins if thou wilt, but never do I wish to be released in any way from following Christ for ever.”
Happy Feast Day to all our Franciscan and former Franciscan readers!
From The Rule of Saint Clare, Chapter VI:
After the most high heavenly Father saw fit by His grace to enlighten my heart to do penance according to the example and teaching of our most blessed Father, Saint Francis, I, together with my sisters, willingly promised him obedience shortly after his own conversion.
When the blessed Father saw we had no fear of poverty, hard work, trial, shame, or contempt of the world, but, instead, regarded such things as great delights, moved by compassion he wrote a form of life for us as follows:
“Because by divine inspiration you have made yourselves daughters and servants of the Most High King, the heavenly Father and have espoused yourselves to the Holy Spirit, choosing to live a life according to the perfection of the holy Gospel, I resolve and promise for myself and for my brothers to always have that same loving care and solicitude for you as I have for them.”
As long as he lived he diligently fulfilled this and wished that it always be fulfilled by his brothers.
Shortly before his death he once more wrote his last will for us that we or those, as well, who would come after us would never turn aside from the holy poverty we had embraced. He said:
“I , little brother Francis, wish to follow the life and poverty of our most high Lord Jesus Christ and of His Holy Mother and to persevere in this until the end; and I ask and counsel you , my ladies, to live always in this most holy life and poverty. And keep most careful watch that you never depart from this by reason of the teaching or advice of anyone.”
Saint Clare, pray for us!