Santa Clara

St. Clara was born in Assisi, Italy.  As a child, Clare was always devoted to prayer. When she turned 12, her parents wanted her to marry a young and wealthy man, but she herself preferred to wait until she was 18. However, at the age of 18 she heard Francis's preachings which would subsequently change her life. Francis told her that she was a soul chosen by God. Soon after, on Palm Sunday, when people went to collect palm branches, she stayed home. On that very night she ran away to follow Francis. Francis cut her hair and dressed her in a black tunic and a thick black veil. Clare was placed in the convent of the Benedictine nuns near Bastia from where her father would make unsuccessful attempts to take her out, still wanting to get her married. Clare, joined by her sister Agnes, soon moved in a place close to the church of San Damiano, which Francis himself had rebuilt. Other women joined them there, and San Damiano became known for its radically austere lifestyle. The women were at first known as the "Poor Ladies".

San Damiano became the centre of Clare's new religious order, which was known in her lifetime as the "Order of San Damiano". San Damiano was long thought to be the first house of this order.  San Damiano emerged as the most important house in the order, and Clare became its undisputed leader. By 1263, just ten years after Clare's death, the order had become known as the Order of Saint Clare.

Unlike the Franciscan friars, whose members moved around the country to preach, Saint Clare's sisters lived in enclosure, since an itinerant life was hardly conceivable at the time for women. Their life consisted of manual labour and prayer.


Information for Saint Clare was obtained from Wikipedia.


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