Saint Clare, Virgin
Saint Clare was born in the 12th century in Assisi, Italy. The eldest daughter of the Count of Sasso-Rosso, her upbringing was sophisticated yet pious. In her late teens, Saint Clare heard Saint Francis of Assisi preach and it ignited in her a desire to follow Christ in a similar way. Shortly after, she left her family home in the night and consecrated her life to Christ.
Her rich garments were laid down, her hair cut off, and vows taken. Saint Francis took Saint Clare to San Paolo and placed her in the care of Benedictine nuns. When her father found out, he was furious. Saint Clare transferred to another monastery, with the help of Saint Francis, and her sister joined her in holy vows within a month. Saint Francis established a community for them, and other women, at San Damiano and the Second Order of Saint Francis was born; later called the Poor Clares. Initially, a Benedictine rule was established for these daughters but to Saint Clare, it lacked an essential element prominent within the Franciscan charism, absolute poverty.
Throughout her life, Saint Clare championed for ‘Lady Poverty’ and in 1253, Pope Innocent IV granted her unique community rule approval. As abbess, Saint Clare nurtured women in Christ and sent daughters planting convents all throughout Europe. Saint Clare was canonized two years after her death by Pope Alexander IV and the Church of Santa Chiara was built in her honor.