Day: August 11
Holding a monstrance
July 16, 1194
August 11, 1253
September 26, 1255
disease, embroiderers, good weather, gilders,
goldsmiths, laundry workers, needle workers, telephone,
telegraph, and television.
Clare was born Chiarra Offreduccio in Assisi, Italy on July 16,
1194 to a wealthy family. Her
father, Favorino Scifi, was a count and her mother was the
countess Ortalana, now a blessed. Her father died when she was very young.
After hearing St. Francis preach in the streets one day,
she confided to him her own desire to live her life for God.
The two became good friends.
On Palm Sunday in the year 1212, the local bishop presented
Clare with a palm, which she took as a sign to follow her
vocation. Clare and
her cousin, Pacifica, ran away one night to enter the religious
life. She soon
accepted the veil of a nun from St. Francis at the Church of Our
Lady of the Angels in Assisi.
place her temporarily with the Benedictine nuns of San Palos near
Bastia, then to
San Angelo in Panzo, until she was finally sent to San Damiano
where she founded the first community of the Order of Poor Ladies
(later the Poor Clares.) She
led this order for forty years.
Everywhere the Franciscans established themselves
throughout Europe; there also went the Poor Clares, depending
solely on the providence of God to subsist.
This was a new idea at the time.
In the beginning, most of the young girls who joined her in
this life of radical poverty were from the noble families of
Assisi and the surrounding area.
At first they had no written rule to follow except for a
very short 'formula vitae.' Over the years prelates tried to draw up a rule for the order
largely based on the Rule of St. Benedict, however, Clare would
reject these attempts in favor of the 'privilege of poverty,’
wishing to own nothing in the world and depending entirely on the
providence of God and the generosity of the people for their
became a living example of the poverty, humility and the
mortification expounded by St. Francis.
She had a special devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and to
increase her love for Christ crucified, she learned by heart the
Office of the Passion composed by St. Francis.
Under her guidance the community of San Damiano became a
veritable nursery of saints.
Clare's mother, Ortalana (blessed), and sisters Agnes (St.
Agnes of Assisi) and Beatrix (blessed) later joined the order, as
well as her faithful Aunt Bianca.
Clare lived to see monasteries spread across Europe in her
God saved San Damiano through the intercession of St. Clare.
In September 1240, hoards of Saracen mercenaries attacked
the walls of the monastery on their way to the city.
Clare prayed before the Blessed Sacrament and suddenly for
no explainable reason the Saracens retreated.
A similar situation occurred when the troops of Vitalis
d'Aversa attacked Assisi in June 1241.
Again her profound devotion the Eucharist brought her
before the Blessed Sacrament and again the city was spared.
in 1224, Clare was always ill while at San Damiano.
One Christmas Eve she was too ill to rise from her bed to
attend mass at the new Basilica of St. Francis and although being
more than a mile away, she saw the mass on the wall of her
dormitory. So clear
was the vision that the next day she could name all of the friars
who were at the mass (She has been named patroness of television
for this reason.)
Clare felt the day of her death approaching, she called her
religious community around her and reminded them of the many
benefits they had received from God and encouraged them to
persevere faithfully in the observance of evangelical poverty.
On August 11, 1253, just before dawn, Clare passed
peacefully away. Her
body remains incorrupt.