Monday, May 24, 2010

Saint Clare of Assisi

Saint Clare of Assisi
Feast Day: August 11


Chiara Offreduccio more known as St. Clare of Assisi was born on July 16, 1194. She was the
eldest daughter of Favorino Scifi, Count of Sasso-Rosso and Ortolana also belonging to a
noble family.  Her father owned a large palace in Assisi being a wealthy representative of
an ancient Roman family. 

As a child,  Chiara was most devoted to prayer.  When she turned eighteen, she had a chance
to hear St.Francis of Assisi preached.  This kindled a flame in her heart and desired to
imitate Francis and live a poor humble life for Jesus.

Clare decided to lay aside her privileged life and sought to imitate Francis' virtues and the Franciscan theology of joyous poverty in imitation of Christ. One evening, she ran away from home, proceeded to the humble chapel of the Porziuncula and gave herself to God. She became the first followers of Saint Francis of Assisi.

She was temporarily placed by St. Francis in San Paolo with the Benedictine nuns then transferred to another monastery of the Benedictine nuns at Sant' Angelo in Panzo, then finally to the poor chapel of San Damiano, which Francis himself had rebuilt. Other women joined and thus the first community of the Order of Poor Ladies (Order of San Damiano) was founded.  This is a monastic religious order for women in the Franciscan  tradition, and their lives consisted of manual labour and prayer. St Claire led it for 40 years.  Following
her death, the order was renamed in her honor as the Order of Saint Clare also known as the
Poor Clares.

St Claire died at the age of 59, two days after the pope confirmed the Rule of Life (the rule written by Claire for her community and is considered the first monastic rule written by a woman) to serve as the governing rule for St. Clare's Order.


Reflection:

St Claire determined to live the gospel in a radical way and she desired to own nothing in
this world except her divine spouse, depending entirely on the providence of the Almighty.