The Testament of St. Clare
Translated by Ignatius O. F.M. Brady
In the Name of the Lord, Amen.
1. Among the many graces which we have received and continue daily to receive from the liberality of the Father of mercies ( II. 1:3), and for which we must give deepest thanks to our glorious God, our vocation holds first place. Indeed, because it is the more perfect and the greater among these graces, so much the more does it claim our gratitude. Therefore the Apostle says: "Know your vocation" (cf. I Cor. 1:26).
2. The Son of God became for us the Way ( John 14:16); and that Way our Blessed Father Francis, His true lover and imitator, has shown and taught us by word and example.
3. Therefore, beloved Sisters, we must consider the immense benefits which God has conferred upon us, but especially those which He has deigned to work in us through His beloved servant, our Father the Blessed Francis, not only after our conversion but even while we yet dwelt among the vanities of the world.
4. For when the Saint as yet had neither Friars nor companions and, shortly after his conversion, was repairing the Church of San Damiano and there, filled completely with divine consolation, was led to abandon the world wholly and forever, in great joy and in the illumination of the Holy Spirit he prophesied concerning us what the Lord later fulfilled. For at that time he mounted the wall of the church and cried with a loud voice in the French tongue to certain poor folk of the neighborhood; "Come and help me in building the Monastery of San Damiano; for here will dwell Ladies whose good name and holy life will glorify our Heavenly Father throughout His holy Church." 5. In this therefore we can behold the great kindness of God toward us, who of the abundance of His mercy and love deigned to speak thus through His Saint of our vocation and election. And it was not of us alone that our most blessed Father prophesied these things, but of all others likewise who were to enter the holy calling to which God has called us.
6. With what solicitude, therefore, and fervor of mind and body must we not observe the commandments of God and of our Father, that with the help of God we may return to Him with increase the talent He has given us! For the Lord has placed us as an example and mirror not only for other men, but also for our Sisters whom God has called to our way of life, that they in turn should be a mirror and an example to those living in the world.
Since therefore the Lord has called us to such heights of holiness that in us our other Sisters may behold themselves who are to be an example to mankind, we are truly bound to bless the Lord and praise Him and to be strengthened in Him more and more to do good. Wherefore if we live according to the pattern given us, we shall leave others a noble example and after life's short labor gain the prize of eternal happiness.
7. After the most high celestial Father had deigned to enlighten my heart by His mercy
© 1953 by the Franciscan Institut. Reprinted by permission of the publisher from The Legend and Writings of Saint Clare of Assisi, ed. and trans. Ignatius O. F.M. Brady ( New York: St. Bonaventure, 1953).
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Publication information: Book title: Medieval Women's Visionary Literature. Contributors: Elizabeth Alvilda Petroff - Author. Publisher: Oxford University Press. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1986. Page number: 242.
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