St. Clare of Assisi
Following the Footsteps of Francesco
- She was the beautiful eldest daughter of Favorino Sciffi, Count of
Sasso-Rosso and his wife Ortolana. As such, Clare’s family was wealthy
and influential. She was taught to read and write, as well as needlework
and spinning yarn. Though coming from a rich family and living in a
palace, Clare had little interest in her luxurious surroundings.
The Poor Ladies of San Damiano
On March 20, 1212, Clare professed her vows, dedicating her life to God.That day marked the birth of the Second Order of St. Francis. Soonafter, Agnes, Clare’s sister, joined her. They moved to San DamianoChurch, recently built by Francis. Not long after, other women joinedthem, including residents of San Damiano. Known for their life ofasceticism, they became known as the “Poor Ladies”.
Clare’s group was known as the Order of San Damiano. In 1216, Clarebecame the Abbess of the Order. She spent her days praying and doingmanual work. At the same time, she was also dedicating her time changingthe governing rule of the order from the Benedictine spirituality to oneof the newly founded Franciscan rule. Their daily lives consisted ofprayer and manual labor. Despite the radical life of poverty they had,the sisters were very happy because the Lord was close to them all thetime.
Toward the end of Francis’ life, Clare cared for him and accompanied himwhen he breathed his last in 1226. Despite ill health, Clare resumed topromote and guide the growth of their Order. After years of labor forthe Order, Clare went to her heavenly reward in 1253. Her remains wereplaced in the Chapel of San Giorgio while the church dedicated to herremains was being built. At Pope Innocent’s request, the canonizationprocess for Clare began immediately. In August 1255, two years afterClare’s death, Pope Alexander IV canonized her. Following Clare’scanonization, her sisters became known as the Order of St. Clare or“Poor Clares”.
Five Interesting Facts About St. Clare of Assisi
- St. Clare of Assisi is the patron saint of television. This was
because late in her life, she fell too sick that she was not able to
attend Mass. Miraculously, the images and sounds of the entire Mass
appeared in full on the wall of her room, like how televisions work
today. She is also the patroness of eye disease, goldsmiths, and
- St. Clare and her sisters in the Order wore no shoes, ate no meat,
lived in a poor house, and kept silent most of the time.
- In 1224, an army of rough soldiers from Frederick II, known as the
Saracens, came to attack Assisi. Although very sick, St. Clare went out
and had the Blessed Sacrament placed at the wall where the enemies could
see it. Then on her knees, she begged God to save the Sisters, and a
sudden fright struck the attackers and they fled as fast as they could
without harming anyone in Assisi.
- Two days before St. Clare of Assisi died, Pope Innocent IV approved
that the Rule she wrote would serve as the governing rule for the Order
of San Damiano.
- When St. Clare’s tomb was opened, it was discovered that her body,
though blackened with age, was still incorrupt.
Prayer to St. Clare of Assisi
O God, who in your mercy led Saint Clare to a love of poverty,grant, through her intercession,that, following Christ in poverty of spirit,we may merit to contemplate youone day in the heavenly Kingdom.Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,one God, for ever and ever. Amen.