Thursday, 19 July 2012

Two Clare's separated by 800 years

Zero and I recently paid a visit to Assisi (during the same week as the International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin - it's our excuse, anyway). The town has been marked by a celebration of the 8th Centenary of the consecration to God of St Clare of Assisi, a celebration that has not really been much noticed in England.

We arrived in the evening of 9th June, and so missed out on an event held that day under the auspices of the Focolare Movement: Clare of Assisi and Chiara Lubich: Two Charisms in Communion. The particular prompt for the event was the dedication of a square near the Basilica of St Francis to Chiara Lubich, the founder of the Focolare.

The following paragraph from the report on the Focolare website struck me in particular. It is worth recalling that the official title of the Focolare is "Work of Mary". This reflects a line of thought which suggests that the Virgin Mary represents a figure of all that is charismatic (ie individually given gift) in the life of the Church.

Moreover, charisms are means for the emergence of the feminine. So it was for these two Clares: Clare of Assisi was able to receive approval for her “Highest Poverty” by the Holy See. Clare (Chiara) of Trent introduced into the Church the great novelty that the president of an ecclesial movement, containing all the vocations, will always be a woman. The accomplishments of Chiara Lubich’s charism are exquisitely secular (like the Economy of Communion), showing how much the charisms of the past and present are like the flywheels, that gradually lead us to a society that is more “humane and beautiful”.

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