The Corpus Christi Monastery of the Poor Clare Colettine Nuns is a few miles from our house. Within the cloister walls of this monastery the sisters live a life of prayer, worship, work and sacrifice. Their foundress St. Clare of Assisi, a 13th century Franciscan, never would have seen a television much less owned one. Why then was she named the patron saint of television by Pope Pius XII?
The period between 1948 and 1959 is referred to by some as the “Golden Age of Television.” In his 1958 Apostolic Letter proclaiming St. Clare Patron of Television Pope Pius XII says:
“…And the Church, which never showed progress contrary to civilization and technology, encourage this new assistance to the culture and daily life, and the same is used readily for teaching the truth and the extension of religion.… It is reported that in fact Assisi, one Christmas night, Claire, bedridden in her convent by the disease, heard the fervent chants that accompanied the sacred ceremonies and saw the nursery of the Divine Child, as if it was present in person at the Franciscan church. In the splendor of the glory of his innocence and clarity it sheds on our darkness so deep, so that Claire protects this technique and gives the translucent device to shine the truth and virtue necessary pillars of society.”
[a rough Google translate from the original French]
In the 2013 closing comments of his address to the Vatican Television Center Pope Francis reiterated the influence of this medium and invoked St. Clare’s patronage:
“Let us pray to the Lord that he make us capable of reaching the hearts of men and women, overcoming the barriers of diffidence, and we ask Our Lady to keep watch over our steps as “pilgrims of communication”. I ask you to pray for me, I need it! I invoke the intercession of St Clare, Patroness of television, and I accompany you with my Blessing.”
Now that’s something to consider when channel surfing.