"She Is My Sister"
question frequently asked of witnesses at a Process of Canonization is
“How do you know this?”
Few can confirm their testimony concerning a
potential saint by replying as Beatrice di Favarone did: “Because she is
my sister!” Who was Beatrice’s illustrious sibling?
The woman we now call St. Clare of
By the time Beatrice entered the monastery in 1229, her big sister
was already the cornerstone of a flourishing religious Order.
Her other sister, Agnes, was likewise known for
her generous adherence to the Gospel form of enclosed life that Clare was
living so heroically.
Their mother Ortolana had also joined the
community of San Damiano, living out the final years of her life in prayer
and penance. Beatrice’s entrance completed the family circle, so to speak,
and witnessed to the beauty of familial love united and purified in the
service of God.
While Beatrice told her canonical examiners that she could not adequately speak of her sister’s goodness, she nonetheless gave a comprehensive summary of Clare’s sanctity. In doing so, she also highlighted what was most important in her own life as a Poor Sister: humility, patience, kindness, perseverance in prayer, forgetfulness of self, fervent love of the Lord, her sisters and the whole human family.