Fresco of Saint Clare – Simone Martini
Today is the feast of Saint Clare, foundress of the Poor Clares. Inspired by the preaching of Saint Francis of Assisi, she defied her wealthy family to take up a life of piety and manual labour through holy poverty. Saint Clare is the patron saint of those with eye disease, goldsmiths, laundry, embroiderers, gilders, good weather, needleworkers, Santa Clara Pueblo, telephones, telegraphy and television – this last because she would see visions of Holy Mass on the wall of her convent cell.
She famously warded off marauding attackers from the convent walls by displaying the Holy Eucharist. Here, in Giotto’s fresco, she is mourning Saint Francis. There appears to be an angel climbing that tree, though it is hard to tell; if so, how charming. On the subject of television, I have been watching reruns of Highway to Heaven lately – it is an excellent programme, full of improving moral tales, and highly recommended. We might, indeed, be entertaining angels unawares.