Tag Archives: Christian

A Portrait of a Saint- St. Clare

This beautiful statue of St. Clare adorns a wonderful courtyard of a Franciscan Adobe Church in New Mexico. The statue is life-size and decorates on corner of the garden courtyard in the front of the church. It is shares this courtyard with several benches and the graves of early founding priests of the church itself.

Obviously the church, being of the Franciscan tradition is catholic in denomination. Therefore it is reasonable to expect historic saints to be well represented. St Clare does not disappoint in this matter. Indeed, she is often seen as the female alternate to St. Francis of Assisi himself. In fact, St. Francis in 1212 converted her into the servitude of her faith.St. Clare

This did not go without the notice and consternation of her father, a count in his own right. He had already had plans for her marriage and her conversion to the service of the church was not well received. After several family arguments it became very clear to the Count that she was not coming home.

Interestingly, it was a short time later that St. Clare’s sister, Agnes, also did not appreciate the Count delving in her affairs and she too ran away and joined the convent created by St. Clare. She would later become known as St. Agnes in her own right.

The main goal of St. Clare was to live a life of absolute evangelical poverty like St. Francis. As a nun, she did not have the same freedom of movement as St. Francis to travel, so she established an enclosed convent that became later known as the order of Franciscan nuns known as the Poor Clares. The object that the statue is holding is a ciborium. It’s a chalice-like vessel containing the Holy Sacrament.

This item is usually shown with depictions of the saint due to the prescribed miracles she has performed. In 1234 a large military force of Frederick II attacked the city and planned to sack the convent.

According to legend, St. Clare, though very ill, met the soldiers at a window where they had hoisted a ladder to gain entry. As the first soldier tried to come through the window, she raised the sacrament above her head and prayed for protection. Mysteriously, the soldiers became frightened and routed without causing any damage.

Later, a second force of the Frederick II ‘s army also attempted to attack the town of Assisi. St. Clare is known to have gathered all of her sisters at the convent and pray for the city’s deliverance. A large storm suddenly appeared and struck the military encampment with such force as to cause the troops immediate withdrawal from the area.

Her popularity for her pious actions and the two miracles associated even caused Pope Innocent IV to travel to visit her on her death-bed.

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References :

“St. Clare of Assisi.” CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA:. Web. 2 Sept. 2014. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04004a.htm.

“St. Clare.” St. Clare- Saints and Angels- Catholic Online. Copyright 2014 Catholic Online. Web. 2 Sept. 2014. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=215.

Santa Maria de Guadalupe: A Picture of Grace

Santa Maria de Guadalupe is a portrait of a very popular shrine to the Virgin Mary. Every Catholic Church I have ever visited has a shrine, sometime even a chapel, to Mary. Sometimes the shrine is outside of the churches in a rose garden off to the side.

Thus was the case with this particular church. I’d love Santa Maria de Guadalupeto mention the church, however, I’ve learned that many churches do not wish to have their names published for political or economic reasons.

This statue held a prominent place upon a slightly raised daïs in one corner of the garden. Even though it’s in a corner of the garden, the path leading up to it made it obvious that this was the center and purpose of the gardens existence.

The statue is life-size and strangely made of concrete. I find it fascinating that the craftsmen were able to pour the concrete into molds that allowed the rays of glory coming out of her back to be directly connected with the statue in what appears to be one piece.

What is unclear about it’s construction is whether the actual markings upon the statue occurred in the mold when they poured the concrete, or sculpted into the statue by a craftsman itself at a later time.

I love the peaceful and meditative thought expression on her face. The sunlight drifts down and creates a mystifying shadow that portrays a serious level of calmness and serenity. Her folded hands in the gesture of prayer signify the grace and hope she is obviously praying for.

Another unique aspect of this statue is the devotion shown by her patrons. The rosary she has draped over her hands is not original to the statue and happened at a future time. I’ve seen rosaries in many styles and forms and I confidently claim that particular example cost a significant amount of money.

Speaking of money, the area around this church is poor, yet the coins placed in her arms and the number of dollars at her feet (not in the picture frame) was quite substantial and had been there for some time. Nothing was missing.   Even the poorest people respected Santa Maria de Guadalupe enough to leave the statue in peace. Truly, this is a sign of devotion by the local Hispanic people to an idea of love, grace and hope for all.

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The Story of the Infant Jesus Of Prague

This is the statue of the Infant of Prague in the Holy Family Church of Jerome, Arizona.   The statue rests in the corner of the confessional room in the Church of the Holy Family.  It is the only statue in that room and faces the confessional booths.   The history of the Infant Jesus of Prague is a fascinating example of the mysterious stories found so often when dealing with the stories of Catholic saints.

 

The story of the original statue of the Infant Jesus Of Prague is historically thought to begin with a small statue of the Holy Child holding a bird in the right hand around the early 1340s A.D.  Some historians believe that the statue arrived in Prague in the early 1600s when an aristocrat gave the statue to the Carmelite order in 1628.

 

The Carmelites enshrined the statue at the Church of the Virgin Mary the Victorious in Prague.  However, trouble began soon after its arrival.  Shortly after 1628 a series of invasions involving Saxon and Swedish armies placed the city under the control of anti-Catholic protestant forces.  Veneration of the statue ceased.

 

It wasn’t until 10 years later that a Father Cyril arrived at the remains of the church and found the statue of the Infant of Prague in a pile of rubble behind the altar.  He discovered that, in the looting of the church, the statue sustained damage to its right hand.

 

Nonetheless, he placed it in the proper placement for veneration once again.  He wanted to repair the statue but had neither the funds nor the skills to see the job completed.  So he decided to pray for guidance and while praying he experienced a religious vision.  He received instructions to place the statue at the entrance to the church and 2 days later an unknown man arrived at the church and repaired the statue for free.

 

Soon after the miracle, construction of a chapel began and the story of the Infant of Prague spread.  Many rich aristocratic families gave gifts to the statue as offerings of thanking.  These included 2 rings for his repaired right hand, a glass case with golden angels, sets of fine clothing for the statue, and finally even a crown placed on his head.

 

Since that time,  veneration of the statue continues to spread to all areas of the world.  The Infant is the patron of good finances, health, family and pregnant women.  Many churches, schools, and religious institutions now exist in the name of the Infant Jesus and the statues veneration as a holy relic continues to this day.

I used this site EWTN for historical references

Here are some examples of prayers offered to the Infant Jesus of Prague every day:

Catholic Online:

EWTN: Prayers:

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