St. Clare

Also Known as:

August 11 (1970 calendar), August 12 (1962 calendar)

July 16, 1194

August 11, 1253 (aged 59)

September 26, 1255, Rome by Pope Alexander IV

Eye disease, goldsmiths, laundry, embroiderers, gilders, good weather, needleworkers, Santa Clara Pueblo, telephones, telegraphs, television


By the time she was in her teens she would have heard of Francis, the local young man who renounced his family’s wealth around 1206, gathered some young men around him, and preached throughout the city. At some point she heard him preach and decided that, like Francis, she too could live a life of poverty dedicated to Christ. Tradition says that her family arranged a marriage for her; she refused, arranged to meet Francis, and told him of her wishes.

In 1212, the Bishop of Assisi accepted Clare’s promise of virginity, and Francis took her to a Benedictine monastery. When her family came there to take her home, she moved to another monastery. Finally, she and some women who had decided to join her moved to San Damiano, a small church that Francis had earlier repaired. Sometime before 1217 Francis wrote out for Clare and her sisters a brief “form of life” for them to follow. Thus they were a religious community, but they did not yet have papal approval.
In 1215, a Church Council had decreed that any new religious communities must follow a Rule already established by some earlier order. Francis had received oral approval for the way of life of the Friars Minor five years before the decree, but this did not cover the “Poor Sisters” at San Damiano. As a result, in 1219 Clare had to accept a Benedictine Rule. There were other things in the Benedictine Rule that Clare didn’t think fit the Franciscan spirit (among them the title of “abbess”), but she accepted them because she had that “privilege of poverty.”

O Glorious St. Clare! God has given you the power of working miracles continually, and the favor of answering the prayers of those who invoke your assistance in misfortune, anxiety, and distress. We beseech you, obtain from Jesus through Mary His Blessed Mother, what we beg of you so fervently and hopefully, (mention your petition) if it be for the greater honor and glory of God and for the good of our souls.   Amen.

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