St. Clare of Assisi
St. Clare of Assisi (1194-1253) was an Italian saint and one of the earliest associates of St. Francis of Assisi. Born into a wealthy family in Assisi, Italy, Clare’s life took a significant turn when she encountered the preaching of St. Francis, who inspired her to dedicate her life to poverty, prayer, and service to God.
At the age of 18, Clare escaped her family’s plans for her arranged marriage and sought refuge at the Porziuncola chapel, where St. Francis and his companions welcomed her. She eventually took her vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, founding the Order of Poor Ladies, later known as the Poor Clares, which emphasized a life of simplicity and devotion to Christ.
St. Clare and her sisters lived a life of poverty and seclusion, relying on the generosity of others for their sustenance while dedicating themselves to prayer, contemplation, and acts of charity. Her deep spirituality and commitment to the Franciscan ideals drew many women to join her, leading to the establishment of numerous monastic communities across Europe.
St. Clare’s devotion to the Eucharist and her unwavering faith were central to her life. During an attack on her convent by marauding soldiers, she held up the Blessed Sacrament in a monstrance, and the attackers were miraculously repelled.
Throughout her lifetime, St. Clare corresponded with St. Francis and other religious leaders, offering guidance and counsel. Her writings, particularly her letters, reveal her deep spirituality and her emphasis on the importance of living a life of poverty and humility.
St. Clare died on August 11, 1253. She is often depicted holding a monstrance or a ciborium to symbolize her devotion to the Eucharist. She is remembered as a shining example of dedication to God and a model of humble service to others.