Today, August 11, is the Feast Day of Saint Clare, Founder of the Second Order Franciscans, the Poor Clares.
On Palm Sunday of 1212, 17-year-old Clare escaped from the home of her noble parents in Assisi to join Saint Francis. After receiving her vows in religion, cutting off her hair, and giving her a habit to replace her satin finery, Francis placed her in a Benedictine convent. Soon he was able to establish her in the church and convent of San Damiano, where she lived for more than 40 years as head of a community of contemplative nuns. Her sister, Agnes, and her mother became part of her religious order, which spread even in Clare’s lifetime to Germany and Bohemia. Clare is said to have routed the soldiers of Frederick II by her faith in the Blessed Sacrament.
The bond of love between Francis and Clare was strong and significant, though they saw each other only rarely. The example of their love for God, each other, and the whole family of God informs and inspires all Franciscan orders to this day. Clare died two days after receiving the Pope’s approval of her rule binding the Poor Clares to the Franciscan ideal of complete poverty.
Collect: God of peace, who in the holiness of blessed Clare gave us a clear light to shine in the darkness of this world: Give us grace to follow in her footsteps that we may, at the last, rejoice with her in your eternal glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
~~From the Devotional Companion of the Third Order, Society of Saint Francis, Province of the Americas
Clare was a vessel of humility, a shrine of chastity, a flame of love, the essence of kindness, the strength of patience, the bond of peace, and the source of loving unity in her community.
~~Document of Canonization