Franciscan Spirit Blog

Five Women of Faith: St. Clare of Assisi

St. Clare of Assisi
1193–1253

Before the birth of St. Clare, her mother was praying in church when she heard a voice saying, “Do not be afraid, for you will joyful bring forth a clear light which will illumine the world.” Accordingly, the baby girl who came after this prayer was named Chiara, Italian for “clear one.”

Even before meeting St. Francis, Clare was considered to be a holy young girl because of her obedience, generosity, love for the poor, and devout prayer life. When her parents wanted her to marry, she sought the advice of St. Francis and shortly after consecrated herself to pursue the way of perfection he was teaching.

At first Francis advised her to live in various convents, but finally moved her to San Damiano, a church the Franciscans had rebuilt. She lived in great poverty and penance in an enclosure for 42 years. Soon she was joined by others. Nowadays, Poor Clares, as they are called, live a similar life in many countries around the world, following the rule she devised.

They live in great simplicity, devoting themselves to contemplation. Clare experienced quite a bit of difficulty getting her rule approved, for some prelates thought it should be more like the Benedictine rule and independent of the Franciscan friars. Clare wanted to emphasize poverty and closeness to the Franciscan rule. During her juridical struggles, she was continually ill. But she courageously fought for the original ideals of St. Francis in a time when many friars were relaxing his rule.

St. Clare is the patroness of television, presumably because her name means clear light.


“Our labor here is brief, but the reward is eternal.
Do not be disturbed by the clamor of the world, which passes like a shadow.
Do not let false delights of a deceptive world deceive you.”
St. Clare of Assisi


Treasury of Women Saints


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4 thoughts on “Five Women of Faith: St. Clare of Assisi”

  1. Arlene B. Muller

    I have heard or read somewhere that on the day of the funeral of St. Francis of Assisi, St. Clare was unwell & unable to leave her bed. The LORD granted St. Clare a special favor of being able to see all of his funeral from her bed as if she had attended.
    That is thought to he the reason St. Clare of Assisi has become known as the patron saint of television.

  2. St Clair was a beautiful Franciscan sister. I love her dearly as much as I love Saint francis. I love being in the secular Franciscan order and praise God for leading me back home to the Catholic church and into the order of the saint I just completely admire. thank you lord!

  3. I have really enjoyed this series and look forward to Spirit in my inbox. Clare is my confirmation name and I feel a certain closeness to this amazing Saint. God bless.

  4. Lord Jesus Christ, your death and resurrection brought life and hope where there was once only despair and defeat. Give us unwavering faith, unshakeable hope, and the fire of your unquenchable love that we may know you fully and serve you joyfully now and for ever in your everlasting kingdom. Amen.

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