San Damiano - ASSISI
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Celano called it “the ancient, dilapidated Church”: the place of Francis’ conversion, in which the Saint heard the voice of the Crucifix: “Go and rebuild my house”. He restored the church and prepared it to be the proto-monastery for St. Clare. Two years before his death, Francis composed the Canticle of the Creatures.
St. Clare lived at San Damiano for 42 years and died there after having received the Papal approbation of her Rule.
St. Clare lived her entire penitent and hidden life at San Damiano.
The tiny choir, where the first sisters gathered for common prayer.
The oratory of St. Clare: decorated with frescoes from the end of the 1300s is the place where she prayed when she was ill. The Eucharist was placed in a recess in the wall on the left side of the altar. It was from here in September 1240 that the ailing St. Clare was carried by her Sisters to the door of the refectory, and with the Blessed Sacrament in hand, she courageously warded off the Saracens of Frederick II, saving the convent and the town of Assisi.
The dormitory of St. Clare: a large, bare, unadorned room in which the first sisters slept, lying on beds of straw. It was from here on Christmas eve 1252 that St. Clare, in an extraordinary event, saw the sacred celebration taking place in the church of St. Francis in Assisi. In light of this very particular event, St. Clare was named “patroness of television”. St. Clare died in the evening of August 11, 1253 after having defended the right to remain poor like Jesus as St. Francis had taught.
The refectory is the place where St. Clare and her companions ate their frugal meals and where numerous miraculous episodes occurred.
A community of Friars Minor has lived next to the simple little church since 1260.
After the Italian suppression, the convent was bought by Lord Ripon in 1879 and was returned to the General Curia of the Friars Minor in 1983. Currently, it is the Novitiate house.