Clare of Assisi

Feast Day: August 11
Canonized: September 26, 1255

Clare’s parents wanted a good life for their daughter, who was born in Assisi in Italy in 1194. But what they wanted for Clare was not what Clare had in mind. At age 15 she refused to marry. One day she heard St. Francis, who was also from Assisi, preach. At that moment, she knew what she must do with her life. She knew she wanted to be like Francis. She would live a humble life dedicated to Jesus.

At age 18, Clare ran away from her parents’ home on Palm Sunday to become one of Francis' followers. Francis brought her to a Benedictine convent. Clare was given a brown robe and a rope for a belt. Sixteen days later, Clare’s sister, St. Agnes of Assisi, joined her, much to their father’s anger. He sent soldiers to try to remove Agnes from the convent, but she would not leave.

Under Francis’ guidance, Clare became the founder of an order of nuns. They lived in a convent at San Damiano in Assisi. Today, this order of nuns is known as the Poor Clares. The nuns ate no meat and wore no shoes. They slept on the ground and were mostly silent. Yet, they were happy serving the Lord. Even Clare's mother, Ortolana, eventually joined the order.

People admired Clare’s prayer life and her trust in God. One time, soldiers came to attack Assisi. She told the nuns not to be afraid and to trust Jesus. Then Clare prayed to God for protection. Immediately, the soldiers fled!

She died in 1253 and was canonized in 1255 by Pope Alexander IV. In 1958, St. Clare was named the patron saint of television, because, as Pope Pius XII explained, she was once said to have had a vision when she was too sick to leave her bed. In the vision she saw and heard the Mass as clearly as if she had gone to the monastery chapel.

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