Paxtonvic’s Blog

Just another weblog

Thought for the Day

Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass…..

it’s about learning to dance in the rain


Not sure who wrote this but it makes  a lot of sense to me…

August 13, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Clare of Assisi – remembered August 11th

Clare of Assisi

Saint Clare miraculously intervenes to save a child from a wolf, in this panel by Giovanni di Paolo, 1455.

Clare was born in 1193 in Assisi, Italy, into a wealthy family.

She was educated in the domestic arts of spinning and needlework, as well as reading and writing. Though raised among the nobility, she cared little for the social life which surrounded her because she had decided to dedicate her life to God. Her decision was greatly influenced by the piety of her mother. Given to prayer and care for the poor, Clare often saved food from the table to distribute to the poor outside the doors of her home.

It is generally believed that Clare heard St. Francis preaching in the streets of Assisi about his new religious community of men called friars who relied solely on alms or begging for their needs. Clare was inspired by his words.

Clare’s parents had decided she would marry a wealthy young man. In desperation, Clare fled her home and sought refuge with Francis, who received her into religious life.

Clare lived briefly in a nearby Benedictine monastery of nuns before moving to another religious community, joined by her sister Agnes.

Clare and Agnes next moved to the Church of San Damiano, which Francis himself had rebuilt. Soon other women joined them there. San Damiano became known for its radically austere lifestyle, and its residents were the “Poor Ladies”.

San Damiano became the focal point for Clare’s new religious Order, the “Order of San Damiano”.

Unlike the Franciscan friars who moved freely around the country to preach, an itinerant life was hardly conceivable at that time for women. Clare’s sisters lived in enclosure, a life devoted to manual labor and prayer.

For a time, Francis himself directed the Order.

In  1216, Clare accepted the role of abbess at San Damiano and she sought  to imitate Francis’ virtues and way of life. She played a significant role in encouraging and aiding Francis, whom she saw as a spiritual father. She cared for him during his illnesses at the end of his life, and was with him when he died in 1226.

After Francis’s death, Clare continued to promote the growth of her Order. She wrote letters to abbesses in other parts of Europe. She thwarted attempts by each successive pope to impose any rule on her Order which would water down their radical commitment to corporate poverty. She did this despite the poor health which plagued her until her death.

On August 9, 1253, Pope Innocent IV  confirmed that Clare’s rule would be the governing rule for her Order of Poor Ladies. Two days later, on August 11, Clare died. She was 59. Her remains were temporarily interred in a chapel until a church to hold her remains could be built.

Numerous miracles attributed to St. Clare are re-told. For example, upon finding an empty jar miraculously filled with oil when they were in need, Clare believed God had filled it as “a gift of divine generosity”. The book, “Legend of Clare”, tells how Clare healed a young boy with an emotional disorder.

Clare accepted all things and people as a gift from God. She lived among her community as an equal — doing daily works with everyone else. She was attentive to each sister’s well-being. One day Clare suspected a sister was suffering from depression. Clare gave her extra tenderness and care, and the nun was restored to health and peace of heart.

On August 15, 1255, Pope Alexander IV canonized Clare.  The Church of St Clare was completed in 1260 and  Clare’s remains were transferred to the new church  and buried beneath the high altar. In further recognition of St. Clare, Pope Urban IV officially changed the name of the Order of Poor Ladies to the Order of St. Clare in 1263.

In art, Clare is often depicted carrying a monstrance or pyx, in commemoration of the time when she warded off the soldiers of Fredrick II at the gates of her monastery by displaying the Blessed Sacrament and kneeling in prayer.

Today Poor Clares number over 20,000 sisters throughout the world  in over 70 countries.

Most monasteries have from four to thirteen members. Some have larger communities but  the idea of family is essential to the communities and St. Clare emphasised that small communities were much better to keep this family spirit than larger ones. You may be surprised to know that there is a web-site all about Poor Clare communities and some of the sisters blog.

Here is what one site says:   This is a site about the mysterious world of being a Poor Clare. Contemplative  nuns who live a life of prayer, community and joy.

Poor Clares Monasteries are individual and unique as is each sister in them. Enjoy!

Pope Pius XII designated Clare  as the patron saint of television in 1958, on the basis that when she was too ill to attend Mass, she had reportedly been able to see and hear it on the wall of her room.

“May the Lord be with you always and may you be with Him always, and in every place. Amen.”

Blessing of Saint Clare

* St Clare has been regarded also as the patron saint of sore eyes ( for people watchng too much TV?) and telephones…

August 11, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Stig in The Deanery

I was out and about in the Deanery of St Neots and came across this enigmatic gentleman  yesterday. I might have a reputation for putting loos into churches… but I didnt have anything to do with this outdoor one!

Meeting stig at his own convenience

You just dont know what you will see next.. methinks he has something to do with the recent Abbotsley scarecrow festival…

August 7, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Kimbolton Church

Opportunity  arose for me to spend some time in Kimbolton near to St Neots recently – and readers wont be surprised that I headed striaght to the church.

I had often driven past it, but never gone inside.

Before I post some pictures, here is a summary of the church on the excellent web-site along with a pciture from the site:

The earliest reference to a church and priest at
Kimbolton  appears in the Domesday survey of 1086.

Originally a wooden structure, it was replaced by
stone in about 1200. Today the external appearance
is mainly 14thC with 15thC additions.

In the churchyard there is a fine selection of table
tombs dating back to the early 18thC.

Now for some of the thngs inside that took my interest:

A view looking towards the chancel

Looking towards the south aisle

Detail from the Rood Screen.

This is the information about the rood paintings – if you click on the image you will be able to see the text when a bigger picture comes up.

The splendid servery at the back of church

Love this prayer tree – people write their prayer requests on leaves and add them to the tree.

Finally, as you walk in you find a board showing the church family – pictures of people who worship at St Andrews. It gives a nice homely feel to the church. It is open during daylight hours and is certainly a church which feels as though it wants you to go inside and explore its riches.

It also has a splendid loo…

For more history have a look at the web-site.

Kimbolton is 7 miles west of St Neots on the B645.

It is approx. 24miles from Cambridge and 31miles from Peterborough.

Kimbolton Castle, the home of the Dukes of Manchester until
1950, lies at the eastern end of the High Street, and St Andrew’s Church at the western end.

The village also has some fascinating shops as well as a nice tea shop. Kimbolton  Castle, now the Independent School, has significant history attached to it and walking round the village is a most pleasant experience.

I will go again!

August 7, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Time begins anew

“Time is too slow for those who wait,

too swift for those who fear,

too long for those who grieve,

too short for those who rejoice,

but for those who love, time is eternity.”

Henry Van Dyke.

Recently I rescued my old Nanny  Minnie’s clock from a place hidden behind a pile of books and gently brought it to life again. It is a very precious clock which she and her husband were given on their wedding day in 1921.

I had it restored some years ago but hadnt really got round to letting is run properly again. So having found the old key, I gently turned the winding mechanism, pushed the pundulum – and off it went. And its been running for a day now – a little fast but thats good as it may mean Im not late for  things! The chime and the  tick- tock are some of my earliest memories.  It stood in Nanny’s front room next door to  the house where I grew up in Boscombe. It has chimed its way through so much inthe last 89 years – and here it is tick tocking along whilst the earth unfolds more stories of  human endeavour. I wonder when it will finally stop chiming all together? I hope not for a long time now.

Nanny’s clock – with a picture of my late mother beside it when she was a little girl.

August 5, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Why go to church?

Why bother to go to church?

A pastor heard that one of his parishioners was going about announcing to one and all that he would no longer attend church services. This rebellious parishioner was advancing the familiar argument that he could communicate with God just as easily out in the fields with nature as his setting for worship. One winter evening, the pastor called on this reluctant member of his flock for a friendly visit. The two men sat before the fireplace making small talk, but studiously avoiding the issue of church attendance. After a while, the pastor took the tongs from the rack next to the fireplace and pulled a single coal from the fire. He placed the glowing ember on the hearth. As the two watched in silence, the coal quickly ceased burning and turned an ashen gray, while the other coals in the fire continued to burn brightly. The pastor’s silent message was not lost on the parishioner. After a long pause, he turned to the pastor and said “I’ll be back at services next Sunday.”

In Community Is Strength. From The Sower’s Seeds, copyright 1990 by Brian Cavanaugh, T.O.R., p. 72. Paulist Press, Mahwah, NJ 07430.

I like this way of seeing it….

August 3, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Love alone

“It is love alone that gives worth to all things.”

St. Teresa of Avila

August 3, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment