Feast Days: August 11,
September 23, and October 3
Patroness of sore eyes
St. Clare was the first Franciscan sister. She was a beautiful Italian girl,
born of a wealthy family in Assisi, Italy. She heard a sermon by St. Francis, and
was so moved by it, she vowed a life of poverty. She ran away from home to St.
Francis. He cut off her hair and gave her a rough brown habit to wear, tied with a
plain cord around her waist, and placed her in a local convent. Her parents tried in
every way to make her return home, but Clare would not. Her 2 sisters joined her,
one of whom was St. Agnes, her best friend Pacifica, and many other young women. The
sisters of her order came to be known informally as Minoresses, and when the order was
formed, Francis suggested Clare for the Superior. They devoted themselves to prayer,
nursing the sick, and works of mercy for the poor and neglected. The order of nuns came to
be called the "Poor Clares."
St. Clare and her sisters wore no shoes, ate no
meat, lived in a poor house, and kept silent most of the time. They had no beds. They
slept on twigs with patched hemp for blankets. Whatever they ate was food they
begged for. Clare made sure she fasted more than anyone else. Despite this way of life, or
perhaps because of it, the followers of Clare were the most beautiful young girls from the
best families of Assisi.
The community of Poor Clares continues to this day, both in the Roman and in the
"They say that we are too poor, but can a heart which possesses
the infinite God be truly called poor?"