In 1212 a young noblewoman named Clare ran away from her wealthy parents’ home in the Italian town of Assisi to join the man who would become Saint Francis in his denial of all Earthly things for the sake of God. She would eventually join him in sainthood as well, becoming the woman we know as Saint Clare, the founder of the order of Poor Clares.
Clare died in 1253 but before then her legend had spread. She is often depicted as above, holding up a Monstrance against the invading army of Frederick II who had a mind to ransack her convent. He was turned back by a storm which the locals attributed to Clare’s vigilance and courage in the face of so formidable an enemy. Women, particularly those of noble birth, at first flocked to the order of Poor Clares. Later it would be a place for wealthy families to stash unmarriageable daughters and a small convent was established on the island of Sante Domingue after the French settled there.
Perhaps because of this, Saint Clare entered the Voudon pantheon as the lwa Klemezin Klemay. Though Clare of Assisi was an elderly, pious woman when she succumbed to a virtual life-long illness in the 13th century, she is nonetheless thought of in Voudon as a young, spritely girl. It is not unusual for those possessed by Klemezin to skip around the peristyle like a child. They might also take up a broom to sweep the bad luck out of the oumphor.
Klemezin is frequently offered sweet cakes with light blue or white icing. She is also fond of flowers in the same colors and her devotees wear scarves and clothing in those colors as well. Oddly, she is thought to love perfume, something that Saint Clare herself would surely have nothing to do with. She is called on for clarity in thought and vision and those who do psychic readings keep her prayer card handy to help them in their “second sight”.
A little prayer to Klemezin next time you need help choosing your best path in any given situation may be something to consider. Her kind and energetic spirit is sure to jump to your aid without hesitation.
Header: Saint Clare from the Fort Meyers Beach, Florida, convent of Poor Clares website