Our nascent schola had sung through most of the music for Sunday Compline (according to the modern Office) in Gregorian chant at our practice this evening, when our leader Fr Allan very unexpectedly and graciously invited us to join him at the friary for a little eat and drink in honour of St Clare, whose feast day falls to-day in the Ordinary Form, on the anniversary of her death (it is kept to-morrow in the Extraordinary Form). He was most hospitable: a decent few glasses of merlot from the Clare Valley in South Australia, some cheeses with crackers, some cake and lamingtons, and a drop of port to finish off - a good time was had by all. How appropriate that it was in the Clare Valley (not the Lutheran Barossa) that Catholics settled, and good German Jesuits among them: Seven Hills, still owned by the Society of Jesus, still makes Australia's altar wine.
We were reminded that St Clare is patroness of television (one hopes she can redouble her prayers!) and, together with St Lucy, of the blind: St Clare having once been vouchsafed a vision of Mass when she was laid up in bed by illness, and having a name meaning clearness and clarity, just as Lucy means light. At the end of the soiree, Fr kindly shewed us a large landscape photograph of Assisi, pointing out the sites - I hope to visit there come September.
According to the modern Martyrology, to-day is also the feast of the martyr St Rufinus, first bishop of Assisi, and of a famous Irish abbess, St Attracta, who received the virgin's veil from St Patrick himself. Martyrs died this day under the Romans (such as SS Tiburtius and Susanna), under Elizabeth I, during the French Revolution, and in the midst of the Spanish Civil War. Most recently, in 1949, Bl Maurice Tornay was martyred on the borders of Tibet (to which land he had brought the Gospel) out of hatred for the name of Christ. May all the saints intercede for us!