This Living Mirror, Reflections on Clare of Assisi by Sr. Teresa Downing, O.S.C.
The central image of This Living Mirror is Clare of Assisi’s journey to God, a journey which begins with her flight from her family home followed by her consecration by St Francis. Clare, says author Sister Frances Teresa, is given to us as a compass, pointing always to God. Clare lays down the guidelines for us so that we, too, can find our way from the known to the unknown, from brokenness to the One, from loneliness to community.
An important part of Clare’s journey involved the obstacles and difficulties she encountered. Clare experienced the violent hostility of her own family, the acute pain of bereavement when Francis died, continual ill health, and constant pressure from Church authorities to abandon God’s call. In all of this, Clare has remained a noble example in how to live in the pain of our human condition, but in peace and even, on a good day, joy.
This Living Mirror reflects on Clare’s life and her teachings about community, on the early Franciscan dream of a world worshipping God together, and finally on Clare’s most important relationships: with Francis, with Christ, and finally with Sister Death. Sister Frances Teresa draws out the inner heart of what Clare has to say to us, writing, “Not for nothing did her contemporaries equate her with light itself. We live, at the moment, in quite dark days; may she shine for us, as she shone for them, ‘giving a clear light in the house of the Lord.’” Sister Frances Teresa Downing, OSC is a member of the Community of Poor Clares at Arundel, and is currently part of a small community on the edge of a Council estate in East Sussex. She is author of the highly acclaimed Living the Incarnation: Praying with Francis and Clare of Assisi.