By: Lilian Cristina Pinheiro, OSF
Francis and Clare: two hearts that find each other, in love and in Christ. It is an image of wholeness. The experience of faith of the two saints enriches the arid soil, allowing red and white flowers to bloom. The red represents a life searching for Gospel living; the white embodies unwavering faith.
In their embrace, they unite and give birth to the Franciscan-Clarian charism, represented by the strong branch reaching up to heaven. Francis’ feet are raised up and he seems to lean on Clare. Throughout his life, whenever he had doubts and had to discern something, he would ask Clare to pray. An example was when the seraphic father was in doubt as to whether he should preach or lead life as a hermit.
Clare remains in San Damiano (seen partially behind the figures), the first church restored by Francis, where he himself met the Poor Christ on the crucifix and heard the words that determined his life mission. Clare, therefore, becomes the one responsible for guarding the foundational charism of the Franciscan order: to live the Gospel as poor as Jesus Christ himself was. The sun enlightens the figures and is a reminder of the Franciscan charism, that was born to restore the church and to enlighten lives and hearts.