Clare’s name means “shining in name, more shining in life.” Born in the town of Assisi about the year 1193, Claire was 18 years old when she heard St. Francis preach during the Season of Lent in one of the Churches in Assisi, which influenced her life forever. Soon after, she left her family and home to the chapel of the Portiuncula where Francis was living with his small community. She wanted to follow Christ as Francis; simple, poor and filled with joy! Changing from her rich clothes to a simple tunic and cutting her long hair, Clare left everything to live a humble life.
At 22, Francis appointed Clare as head (superior) of a community and gave her his rule of life to live by. Soon after, her mother, sister and 14 other women joined this small, humble community of prayer. This community became the “Poor Clares”; they went barefoot, slept on the ground, fasted, prayed and did acts of charity.
Clare loved the Lord Jesus and spent hours meditating on His Passion. She died in her convent in Assisi of natural causes at 60 years of age. Her body is incorrupt and can be seen today in the Basilica of St. Clare in Assisi, Italy.
When we were in Assisi on pilgrimage, we encountered St. Clare—and of course St. Francis—by visiting the two Basilicas named after them. The Basilica of St. Clare has her body, iconography depicting scenes from her life, personal items, including her hair placed in a container (called a “reliquary”). She loved St. Francis; not only was he a close friend, he was her spiritual director. She loved him so much because he introduced her to Jesus.
Is there someone in your life that has led you closer to Christ? If so, thank them! Invoke St. Clare’s intercession for them and for yourself, to continue your daily walk with Jesus!
St. Clare, pray for us!