Our new websites will always be,
by the Hand of God,
a 'Work in Progress'.
Looking closely at Clare's manner of living we see a strong woman who had learned patience, trust and how to live under
the certitude of her own dignity and worth without the need of approval from others. Clare never deviated from her
initial resolve to live every moment of her life in a personal, loving relationship with Christ. This was her great secret, the
source of her strength and her passion.
Who was Clare? Clare was a medieval woman born into a rich and powerful family dominated by values of the nobility and
of knightly exploits in war and battle. She received her name before her birth by her mother, Ortolana, who often went on pilgrmage
to pray, and did so this time especially to pray for a safe birth for her child. The Lord told her not to be
afraid, that this child would truly be a light for many. And so Clare, which means brightness or brilliance, was given by God
to become a bright light throughout the Church and the world, for ages to come.
In 13th century Italy, while still a child,
her destiny would have been defined by the men who ruled the clan. She would be married to a man of their choosing, someone whose
assets and social standing would make the family even more powerful. Her own wishes were considered irrelevant. Clare upset all these
As a young girl, Clare prayed with the women of her household and often went out to give food to the poor. She
desired not riches, fame and a "worthy" marriage, but knew early on that only God could satisfy the desires of her heart. She was
indeed the daughter of a knight, with strength of character and courage beyond her years, never satisfied with half-measures. Under
the guidance of her saintly mother, she nurtured the desire to give herself totally to the love of Jesus.
Clare met Francis,
listening and observing him. This was the catalyst that unleashed the passion that was within her own heart, and she saw
the meaning of the call that had been drawing her with deepening insistence over many years. With heroism and absolute determination,
Clare sold her inheritance, and gave it to the poor. At the age of eighteen, on Palm Sunday, she secretly escaped from her parental
home to become the first Franciscan woman.
After being received by Francis and his brothers to follow in his way of poverty,
Clare lived for forty-two years with her sisters in the small enclosure of San Damiano in Assisi, Italy. They devoted themselves to
a life of prayer, enduring many hardships. Yet her wisdom and holiness were recognized far and wide, and many came to her to recommend
themselves to her prayer.