Encounters with the Saints

Went down to Santa Clara last night to see our local men’s professional soccer team, the San Jose Earthquakes, play an exhibition against what amounts to a farm team, the Portland Timbers (the home side won, 1-0; thanks, Eamon and Sakura).

The Quakes play in Buck Shaw Stadium at Santa Clara University. Saint Clare, I dimly recall from the Nikos Kazantzakis novel and maybe a Hollywood movie starring someone like Bradford Dillman, was Saint Francis’s one-time squeeze from Assisi (at least that’s how I think the story goes). When he gave up the life of the feckless, dissipating hedge-fund operator (or medieval equivalent) for one of impoverished contemplation and ethical treatment of animals, Clare did likewise.

Fast-forward to the Spanish colonization of California: Both saints wound up having California missions named after them. The one memorializing Saint Francis was part of the settlement that eventually turned into a town full of dissipation and hedge-fund shenanigans and only occasional world-renouncing introspection. The mission celebrating Saint Clare burned down, I’m told, and was replaced by the building you see here, which is on the campus of Santa Clara University–a place that I expect veers constantly between partying and deep reflection.

Mission Santa Clara

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