St. Clare of Assisi

Among those who were touched by the message of Francis was a young noblewoman also from the town of Assisi, the Lady Clare. Those who knew her since her childhood spoke of Clare as a woman of compassion who lived a quiet life of penance and prayer.

In the year 1212 she left her home and family under cover of night and, with the help of Francis, embraced a life of poverty and prayer. The community that she founded, the Poor Sisters of San Damiano (they were also called the Poor Ladies, and are now known as the Poor Clares), were known for their holiness, their lives of contemplation, and their spirit of mutual love and service.

Clare, like Francis, was deeply moved by the poverty and humility of Jesus. She struggled for years to win approval for her Rule of Life which included a provision to live a life of strict and absolute poverty. Pope Innocent IV conferred the Form of Life of San Damiano on Clare’s deathbed in 1253.