The Guardian Angel: St. Clare of Assisi and Eucharistic Miracle 1240
The History of Saint Clare, Virgin, tells of various miracles performed by Saint Clare. There are episodes of multiplications of loaves and of bottles of oil that appeared in the convent when there was none before.
But Clare performed the most famous of the miracles in 1240 on a Friday in September, in which she turned away an attack by Saracen soldiers who had broken into the convent cloister by showing them the Sacred Host.
This Eucharistic miracle is cited in The History of Saint Clare, Virgin written by Tommaso da Celano, and describes how Saint Clare of Assisi succeeded, with the Blessed Sacrament, in turning away Saracen troops in the pay of Emperor Frederick II of Sweden.
The history goes like this: “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.’”
St. Francis of Assisi 13th Century
Saint Francis nurtured a particular affection for lambs, to whom Jesus Christ is often paralleled in Sacred Scripture, most especially for His gentle nature.
The Franciscan historical chronicles tell the story that “during a trip to Rome, the saint kept with him a little lamb, inspired by his devotion to Christ, the brothers all enjoyed his most beloved Lamb. Upon his departure, the lamb was entrusted to a noble matron, Lady Jacopa of the Sette Soli (Seven Suns), so that she would have custody of it in her home. And the lamb, as if spiritually educated by the saint in matters of the soul, would not leave the woman’s side when she went to church, when she stayed, or returned.
Some mornings, when the lady was late in awakening, the lamb would gently pounce and nudge her with his little horns, and woke her with his bleats, encouraging her with his gestures and expressions to hurry to church. For this, the lady had much admiration and love for that lamb, disciple of Francis and teacher of devotion. [...]
One day while walking in the outskirts of Siena, Saint Francis encountered a huge herd of sheep at pasture. As he always did, he kindly saluted them, and they, having stopped grazing, all ran towards him, raising their heads and meeting his gaze.
They greeted him with such festivity that the shepherds were stupefied, seeing the lambs and the rams jumping around in such a wondrous way. [...]
Another time, at Santa Maria della Porziuncola, some people brought as a gift to this man of God, a sheep, and he accepted it with gratitude, because he loved the innocence and the simplicity that the sheep demonstrated by nature. The man of God admonished the little lamb to praise God and to absolutely not bother the brothers.
The sheep, for his part, sensed the piety of this man of God, and he put these teachings into practice with great care. When he heard the brothers singing in the choir, he would enter the church, bend his knees, and emit tender harmonious bleats in front of the altar of the Virgin Mother of the Lamb, as if with a strong desire to greet her.
During the celebration of the Mass, at the moment of elevation, he would bow down, knees bent, as if it were that this devout little animal wished to reproach men of little faith for their irreverence and encourage devout men for their reverence towards the Blessed Sacrament.”