Feast Day: August 11
Born: 1193 :: Died: 1253
St. Clare was born in a little town called Assisi, in Italy. She was a beautiful girl who lived at the time of St. Francis of Assisi.
Before she was born, when her mother was praying one day for the baby that was soon to be born, she heard a voice saying "Woman, do not worry, you shall have a daughter and by her life, she will bring God's light to the world."
Clare had so much pity for the poor, that quite often she would secretly give her food to them and go hungry herself.
She spent time praying faithfully to Jesus everyday. If she did anything wrong when she was with her friends she would immediately do penance so that Jesus would be happy with her again.
When Clare 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 and went to the church where St. Francis and his Friars (disciples) lived. In a little chapel outside Assisi, she gave herself to God.
St. Francis cut off her beautiful hair and offered her a rough brown habit (long dress that nuns normally wear) and left her in the abbey to stay with the Benedictine nuns.
Her friends hated this work she was doing for God and her parents tried in every way to make her return home, but Clare would not. Soon her fifteen-year-old sister Agnes also joined her. Other young women wanted to be brides of Jesus, too. Before long there was a small religious community.
Under the guidance of St. Francis, Clare started an order of nuns called the "Poor Clares." 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 cruel soldiers came to attack Assisi. They planned to raid the convent first. Although very sick, St. Clare asked to be carried to the window. 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." Suddenly, a great fear came over the attackers and they ran away as fast as they could.
St. Clare was sick for twenty-nine years before she died on August 11, 1253. But she was always joyful 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 how can a heart which holds the infinite God be poor?"
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