Tuesday, April 18, 2006

St Clare & her Cats - one of my favourite icons

St Clare apparently loved cats, and had one special one who would sit on her bed as she knitted. Clare had trained her so that if the ball of yarn fell away, the cat would jump down and bring it back to her.

I don't know how many cats there were at San Damiano, but I love the way this icon shows a couple rubbing round her ankles.

The icon is by Terence Nelson - his note on it reads, in part:
As in her life, St. Clare devoutly holds the monstrance with the Blessed Sacrament in protection of the monastery. At her feet are cats, symbolizing the contemplative life. Consistent with Franciscan love of nature, a sparrow nests in the colonnade, “Even the sparrow has found a home ... where she may have her young – a place near your altar, O Lord Almighty, my King and my God.” (Psalm 84:3)

Cats symbolising the contemplative life? Yes, I could go along with that!

Figgy, our little round black rescue cat, loves to pray with me in the early mornings, either sitting on my lap or on the desk in front of me. If I have my Bible or Office folder open, she'll often put a paw on the open page to hold it for me. If I ever forget to let leave my study door ajar for her, she makes a terrible fuss till I do! Posted by Picasa


LutheranChik said...

I've always loved that line from that Psalm.

Anonymous said...

Hi Mike,
Can you tell me where the info about Clare and her love of cats is from? The reason is I'm designing an icon of a group of Contemplatives, and I was going to put a cat by St. Clare, but that she had a special cat is not generally known.
How do I send you an email?
Ann (in USA)

Mike Farley said...

Hi Ann

My email address is mike[dot]farley[at]live[dot]co[dot]uk. The icon I showed in my post is by Terence Nelson.