Once, during an enemy attack against Assisi, the fierce Saracens invaded San Damiano, entered the confines of the monastery and even the very cloister.
Fainting in terror, their voices trembling with fear, they cried out to their Mother, Saint Clare. What happened next was recorded by the Franciscan friar, Tommaso da Celano:
“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.’”The miracles performed during her life by this first spiritual daughter of St. Francis were indeed numerous. Her confidence in her divine Spouse was total and unconditional. Having once renounced all earthly possessions for love of Him, she tenaciously thwarted every attempt – even by several well-meaning popes – to mitigate the absolute poverty she and her religious sisters had so willingly embraced.
After St. Francis’ death in 1226 and until her own in 1253, Clare continued to hold fast to the counsels St. Francis had given her and to direct the order in the true spirit of its founder: total renunciation of all earthly possessions and an unconquerable faith and confidence in Divine Providence.