The Clara apple tree it turns out is named for St. Clare. The tree is an early August fruit bearer, producing around August 11, which is the feast day of St. Clare. St. Clare was reputedly very beautiful and from a wealthy family in Assisi, Italy in the twelfth century. Clare heard St. Francis preach and she was never the same, demanding one night to be allowed to follow him. Mind you Francis’ followers were only men at that time. Francis accepted her, cut her hair, and as they say the rest is history. You can visit her convent in Assisi where she warded off soldiers while in her 80’s, holding the Eucharist in front of her. The soldiers mysteriously ran away! The point of this story is that here at the Beguinnage, the sisters pray on each Saint’s feast day for all the people carrying the name of that saint, a wonderful tradition. It must be thousands of people, I have mused more than once as they prayed! Traditionally, Catholic families named their children for a Saint …Lawrence, Benedict, Clare, Antonia, Mary and here in Flanders, Lutgarde or Godelieve – no Grants or Samanthas or Chelseas — modern names. So the child had a name day when his/her Saint was celebrated. I have a special sister friend not in my order but a sister in religion as well as a sister in lace making. She is a Sr. Clare so I shall pray her on Saint Clare’s Day, August 11, and pray she does not have to defend her guest house from soldiers!