Who Was St. Clare of Assisi?

statue of saint clare

A Model of Courage...

I made Clare’s acquaintance while writing a doctoral thesis about her Rule. From that experience thirty years ago, I understand that Clare offers two extraordinarily important lessons. The first is obvious. It is the recognition of how important women—and this woman in particular—are to the Franciscan story. The second is more subtle. It is the lesson that Clare’s importance stems from the fact that she was the recipient of a powerful charism of her own—a gift bestowed by the Spirit of the Lord and given to her in a fullness and forcefulness that was hers alone. That charism, matched with the equally full and forceful charism of Francis, created something akin to nuclear fission. It unleashed a mighty power of example and of hope for people who wanted to live the authentic Christian message.

Too often we suppose that our study and imitation of these great saints is a sure path to our own beatitude. Her story shows us that what matters is not the effort to “draw down” from the spiritual wealth of others whom we admire as though only a supplicant’s sharing of another’s gift can make us good. What she shows us is that we need only have the courage to unlock what is within us, to spend our days powered by the graced anointing that we already possess. —Margaret Carney, OSF, author of Light of Assisi: The Story of Saint Clare

saint clare saint of the day

Saint of the Day: Clare of Assisi

The 41 years of Clare’s religious life are scenarios of sanctity: an indomitable resolve to lead the simple, literal gospel life as Francis taught her; courageous resistance to the ever-present pressure to dilute the ideal; a passion for poverty and humility; an ardent life of prayer; and a generous concern for her sisters. Read more...

loving saint clare

Loving St. Clare

Within each of us is the potential to be a light focusing attention on God’s presence in our world. Clare of Assisi’s life reveals just how much light she shed. As a friend and as cofounder of the Franciscan movement, she supported Francis as he discerned God’s message for himself and his followers. Read more...

radical saint clare

Radical Saint, Radical Faith: Clare of Assisi

Poverty and penance were practiced at home among the women, and Clare gained a reputation for holiness at a young age. While she probably heard Francis of Assisi preach at the local church of San Rufino in 1208 or 1210, it is likely that her religious vocation was in place long before their encounter. Read more...

saint clare of assisi

Clare of Assisi: A Little Plant or a Mighty Oak?

East of the Piazza del Commune in Assisi, stands the Cathedral of San Rufino. Near the church and its adjacent piazza once stood the home of the nobleman and knight, Favarone Offreduccio and his wife, Ortulana. On July 16, 1194, Ortulana gave birth to their first of three daughters whom they named Chiara. Read more...

honoring saint clare of assisi

Honoring the Poor Lady of Assisi

With the support of St. Francis, St. Clare found the order of Franciscan women who became known as the Poor Clares, or simply Clares. August 11, 1993, was also the date on which the worldwide Franciscan family had chosen to celebrate the 800th anniversary of Clare’s birth. Read more...

sisterhood of saints clare of assisi

Sisterhood of Saints: Clare of Assisi

Louise de Marillac and Vincent de Paul. Paula and Jerome. Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross. It’s not unusual for women saints to have had non-romantic relationships with men also honored by the Church. But many would agree the best known of such partnerships is that of Clare and Francis of Assisi. Read more...

saint clare of assisi

Clare, COVID-19, and the Communion of Saints

Clare, at the hour of her death, was surrounded by holy women who were already in the “communion of saints” and that the Queen of Heaven herself was with them. Do we think such death bed favors are only for saints? Can we take some comfort in the hope that we experience this final act of favor? Read more...

Novena to Saint Clare of Assisi

A Novena to St. Clare of Assisi

Is your faith strong enough that you would be willing to walk away from the comforts of your life to live out that faith? For Saint Clare, the answer was easy. At the young age of 18, she walked away from her life of nobility, descended to the hills below Assisi, and joined Saint Francis in living out his mission. Read more...

saint claire light of assisi

So it was that Clare breathed her last in the house of San Damiano on August 11, 1253. At her side were the women with whom she had established the Poor Sisters’ way of life and the men whose loyal friendship was precious evidence of the mutuality that bound them. Read more... 

saint clare's prayerful life

Biographers describe the youthful Clare as beautiful. The Clare who spent decades bedfast yet bold in leadership, gentle in guidance, and stubborn in poverty, is less physically attractive but more courageous and inspiring. Read more...

Light of Assisi: The Story of Saint Clare