During those troubled times which afflicted the Church during the reign of the Emperor Frederick... bands of mercenaries paid by the Emperor as well as bands of Saracen archers swarmed like bees into the region. They destroyed castles and looted the cities.

... The infamous tribe of Saracens, thirsting for Christian blood, was ready to commit any crime or act of audacity and had already penetrated the outer wall of San Damiano and had entered the cloister. The poor ladies were overcome with anguish and, their voices trembling with fright, they ran to take refuge around their mother. St. Clare, however, was not afraid; although ill herself, she asked to be taken to the cloister door and to have placed there as her only protection against the Saracens the ivory-covered silver pyx wherein was kept the Body of Christ.

She knelt in prayer before the Lord and with many tears prayed to Him, "Could it be your will, Lord, to deliver your servants whom you have nourished in your love into the hands of pagans? Guard them, Lord, for in this hour I am unable to take care of them." From the ciborium... the voice of a child was heard, "I will care for you always." Clare continued, "Lord, if it is your will, please protect this city, which continues to live in your love." And Christ replied, "It will suffer much, but I will come to its aid and protection."

... At that very moment the frenzy of those dogs was changed into fear and they climbed down the walls faster than they had scaled them; the power of that prayer had cast fear into their ranks. But Clare firmly enjoined the Sisters who had heard the voice, "My dearest daughters, as long as I am alive, make certain that you will tell no one of this voice."

Assisi: In the Footsteps of St. Francis
P. Theophile Desbonnets