In 1958, Venerable Pope Pius XII declared Saint Clare of Assisi as patroness of television, and by extension all video. Choosing a 13th century Franciscan sister may seem like an odd choice for such a modern technology, but when you understand why, it makes perfect sense.
Saint Clare of Assisi was one of Saint Francis’ first followers and closest friends. Born into wealthy Roman family, Saint Clare denounced her worldly wealth and started to follow the saint’s teachings, and later founded the order known as Poor Clares.
On Christmas Eve, near the end of her life, Saint Clare fell seriously ill. Though she desperately wanted to attend midnight Mass, she was too sick to be able to do so. After all the nuns had gone, Clare prayed, “See Lord, I am left here alone with You.” At that moment, God granted Saint Clare a vision. On her wall, in a sort of holy broadcast, she was able to see and hear the Mass that she was unable to attend as if she was there.
Pope Pius XII saw this as a holy and miraculous prefiguring of video communication which was just becoming a powerful force in society during his pontificate, and thus chose her to be the patroness of television and video.
Saint Clare’s miraculous vision and her patronage should be used as a model for all Catholics who work in communication and marketing. Like her vision, modern communication has the ability to bring Christ and His Church to people no matter where they are. And in today’s world, to take Christ to where people are means reaching them on their screens.
If you are responsible for marketing and communication for a Catholic organization, whether it be at a parish or diocesan level, religious order, or lay apostolate, embracing and learning the best practices of modern marketing and communication is absolutely essential to your organization’s success and future.
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