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St. Clare of Assisi Repels a Muslim Attack with the Eucharist

St. Clare of Assisi (Public domain image)

In 1244 Saracen (Muslim) mercenaries attacked the town of Assisi. They were fighting for Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II who was at war with Pope Innocent IV. Frederick had arrested two bishops who were traveling on their way to a church council and the pope responded by excommunicating him. When the Saracens reached the convent where Clare (1194-1253) and the other nuns lived, they put up ladders to scale the wall. Clare took a monstrance holding a consecrated host and placed it on the wall. She prostrated herself before the Real Presence and began to pray. Thomas of Celano (1185-1260), who wrote several books on the history of the early Franciscans, describes the incident in his book The History of Saint Clare, Virgin.

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A monstrance (Public domain image)

As the Saracens attacked the other sisters were overcome with fear and begged Clare to do something. Although she was sick she told the others to come with her as she took the vessel holding the body and blood of Jesus and placed it on the wall. Then she prayed: “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.”

Clare heard a voice saying, “I will always protect you.” Clare continued, “My Lord, if it is Your wish, protect also this city which is sustained by Your love.” The voice, identified as Jesus answered, “It will have to undergo trials, but it will be defended by My protection.” Clare told the nuns that they would be protected. The Saracens were overcome with fear and fled over the wall they had scaled. Clare admonished the sisters not to tell anyone of this as long as she remained alive.

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© 2018 Gary J. Sibio. All rights reserved.

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Written by Gary J Sibio

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    • In this particular case the attackers were mercenaries, fighting for money rather than country or religion. They just happened to be Muslims but they weren’t like the Muslim armies that spread across North Africa and into Spain.

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