Clare was born around 1193 in Assisi, Italy. She lived at the time of St. Francis of Assisi. Clare became the foundress of an order of nuns called the "Poor Clares." When she was eighteen, she heard St. Francis preach. Her heart burned with a great desire to imitate him. She also wanted to live a poor, humble life for Jesus. So one evening, she ran away from home. In a little chapel outside Assisi, she gave herself to God. St. Francis cut off her hair and offered her a rough brown habit to wear. She stayed with the Benedictine nuns until more nuns would join her. Her parents tried in every way to make her return home, but Clare would not. Soon her fifteen-year-old sister Agnes joined her. Other young women wanted to be brides of Jesus, too. Before long there was a small religious community.
St. Clare and her nuns wore no shoes. They never ate meat. They lived in a poor house and kept silent most of the time. Yet they were very happy because they felt that Jesus was close to them. Once an army of rough soldiers came to attack Assisi. They planned to raid the convent first. Although very sick, St. Clare asked to be carried to the wall. She had the Blessed Sacrament placed right where the soldiers could see it. Then she knelt and begged God to save the nuns. "O Lord, protect these sisters whom I cannot protect now," she prayed. And a voice within her seemed to say: "I will keep them always in my care." At the same time, a sudden fright struck the attackers. They fled as fast as they could.
St. Clare was abbess of her convent for forty years. Twenty-nine of those years she was sick. But she said that she was joyful anyway because she was serving the Lord. Some people worried that the nuns were suffering because they were so poor. "They say that we are too poor, but can a heart which possesses the infinite God be truly poor?" St. Clare died on August 11, 1253. Just two years later she was proclaimed a saint by Pope Alexander IV.
"Go in peace; you have followed the good way; go in confidence, because your Creator has sanctified you, has cared for you constantly, and has loved you with all the tenderness of a mother for her child. O God, blessed be you for having created me."-St. Clare