Franciscan Spirit Blog

Lent with St. Clare: First Tuesday

Cross laid on palms

“This woman, noble by birth, but nobler by manner of life, eminently preserved the virginity she had already protected from the first under this rule of holiness.” —Papal Decree of Canonization

As a noble woman, Clare would have been expected to marry for the sake of uniting upper-class families in Assisi. She repeatedly rebuffed suitors, however, to the frustration of her family. One of her suitors even gave his testimony during her cause for canonization, saying she told him of her intention to be a bride of Christ. Clare’s determination not to bow to societal norms certainly was not embraced by her family. But it is a good reminder that sometimes we know the paths of our lives best and must follow our hearts.

Gaze | Consider | Contemplate | Imitate

While women might be married as early as the age of fifteen, once a woman reached eighteen, the marriage plan moved into high gear. The family initiated the period of courtship. To its chagrin, Clare rejected more than one suitor. During the investigation for her canonization one of these rejected suitors, Raineri di Bernardo, gave his testimony. Clare rejected his multiple offers of marriage.

Instead, she urged him to join her in seeking a life of dedication to Christ. A man whose proposal she rejected carried that memory for forty years but lived to swear to her holiness and help insure her speedy canonization.

It was becoming obvious to anxious family leaders that Clare had already decided that her life would not follow the expected path. She was strongly set upon another route whose contours were as yet unclear. This time of testing in the crucible of family pressure showed that she possessed a singular sense of self, a self already captivated by a summons from beyond earth’s kingdoms. —from Light of Assisi: The Story of Saint Clare

lent with saint clare


St. Clare,
In you we see a woman who
is steadfast in her desires for her life.
In that spirit, may we be fiercely protective
of the life we believe will bring us joy.


8 thoughts on “Lent with St. Clare: First Tuesday”

  1. Many are called but few are chosen. In my faith I can not comprehend why we seek to highlight what women / men can do or should do or not do. We are all here to honor G-d . ST Clare and All other Saints has showed us this. We are here to served G-d . So let’s keep the focus on him. Just as the Lord was tested in the wilderness so was St Clair so are we.In her time it was expected that she must be married. But her bridegroom was Juses – she was already married. As such she kept the faith. The evil one is cunning but with G-d grace we can overcome .
    G-d Bless.

    1. St. Clare sounds like an interesting person. It makes me wonder what kind of preconceptions I may have of St. Francis, though. Would they have been as interesting as St. Benedict and his sister were? Since they were all saints, I guess they were all interesting people. But whose presence would I have felt the most comfortable in or preferred to be around? St. Francis seems to me to be the ultimate gambler. So, in that respect, it would have been cool to be around him. But St. Clare has these pithy maxims that make me do a double take.

      1. Let me add, that what I like about St. Benedict is that sense of stability that he seems to have exhibited. I’m somewhat fascinated by people like that. Some people may consider that boring, but what is boring to one person can be interesting to another. There is a depth and gravitas to being a stable person. I can feel comfortable around people like that too. I wonder who had the best sense of humor. I could only guess.

      2. Mary Kay Tambash

        I don’t know what you mean when you say Clare had pithy maxims, can you explain? I often wonder if St. Francis was bi-polar (before we knew what to call it)

        1. There are definitions that come into play here from root words. You can search the definitions on Google.
          St. Clare had a way with words/language.
          A catch phrase in todays world may be such an example like : Just do it….there is much to say behind such a phrase ,but it conveys a truth in a very compact way of speaking that many of the time could understand.

          A proverb may be such an example ib Biblical texts. The more we read/study St. Clare of Assisi , the more this will be become evident.
          St. Clare seems to be able to reach the heart of the matter with few words, but they catch the attention of the listener or reader.

  2. St. Clare’s decisiveness and determination are qualities I admire!. Truly only a visionary can describe herself as a “bride of Christ”,and invite a suitor to join her in dedicating his life to Christ too. If only people today embodied such a spirit of certainty our world would be a far better place!
    She had so many opportunities to change her mind and accept a traditional role for herself, but she heard our Lord calling and couldn’t deny him. Not only to be called to something ordinary , but to be called to the extraordinary and rise to each new challenge demonstrates her true love was always Jesus Christ.

  3. St Clare was courageous and loved Jesus more than anyone or anything in the world in her life, I pray for some of her holy qualities.

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