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Saint Clare of Assisi

Born: July 16, 1194 in Assisi, Italy

Died: August 11, 1253 (Natural Causes)

Venerated:  Roman Catholic Church
Anglican Communion
Lutheran Church

Canonized: September 26, 1255 by Pope Alexander IV

Feast Day: August 11

Patronages: Against Eye Disease
For Good Weather
Laundry Workers
Needle Workers
Places: Assisi, Italy

Representation: Host
Woman with a Monstrance in her hand(s)

Assisi, the birthplace of Saint Francis, had also the honor of giving birth to Saint Clare, his spiritual daughter. She was born in 1193. From her childhood she desired to consecrate herself to Jesus Christ. Having heard of Saint Francis and his sanctity, she contrived to be taken to him by a pious matron. The conversation of Saint Francis made her resolve to abandon the world. On March 18, 1212, together with another young woman, she went to the Portiuncula where Saint Francis prayed and received the penitential habit.

At first, Saint Francis placed her in a Benedictine convent of nuns. She persevered in her resolution, in spite of the opposition of her friends and relatives. Later her sister, Agnes, joined her. Saint Francis then placed them in a separate house. Soon after, her mother and several other ladies, some of high nobility, united themselves to her. The foundation of Poor Clares, or the Second Order of Saint Francis, was thus laid. Within a few years, Saint Clare founded a number of other monasteries and her Order spread to Germany and Bohemia.

The austerities these religious women practiced had scarcely ever been known among their sex. Together with other mortifications, their fast was perpetual. Such was the spirit of poverty of Saint Clare that when, after her profession, she fell heiress to the large fortune of her father, she gave all of it to the poor. She would accept no revenues for her monastery. When the army of Frederick II was devastating the valley of Spoleto some of the soldiers placed a ladder against the convent wall. Saint Clare caused herself to be carried to a window, and holding the monstrance with the Blessed Sacrament in sight of the enemies, she prostrated herself before the Eucharistic God. Her prayer was heard, and the enemies, struck with a sudden panic, fled in terror. Saint Clare’s life came to an end on August 11, 1253. She was canonized in 1255 by Pope Alexander IV.

PRAYER: God, in Your mercy, You led Saint Clare to embrace poverty. Through her intercession help us to follow Christ in the spirit of poverty and to contemplate You in the heavenly Kingdom. Amen.