Clare was born in Assisi, Italy, in 1193 to wealthy parents, and was taught how to read and write as well as spinning yarn and needlework. She had little to no interest in her wealth and was influenced by her mother’s religious devotion to dedicate her life to God at an early age. She showed early on that her calling would involve helping the poor, as she set aside food from her family table to give to the needy on the streets. When Clare was 18, Francis of Assisi came to preach at a nearby church. After his preaching, Francis vowed to assist Clare in dedicating her life to God. Clare’s parents wanted her to marry a wealthy young man but she refused and fled to the Porziuncola Chapel where Francis received her. Clare made the vows to dedicate her life to God on March 20, 1212 which marked the beginning of the Second order of Saint Francis. Clare’s sister Agnes soon joined her along with other women and became known as the ‘Poor Ladies’. Clare became the abbess of Saint Damiano in 1216 and while doing manual labor and praying, she also began to dedicate much of her time to change the governing rule ( the rule was changed two days after she died by Pope Innocent lV). The order would become known for its life of abject poverty and committed life of prayer, prayer that Clare would use to attain worldly victories that are credited with saving Assisi on two occasions. The first time was when Clare was raising the Host up in a window, thereby causing Frederick ll’s invading troops to fall back and the second time was when Assisi was under attack, Clare and her nuns prayed and a strong storm came and scattered the attackers. Clare continued to take care of Francis till the end of his life and was with him when he died. Despite being very ill, Clare continued to promote the growth of the church until she died in 1253. In August 1255, Pope Alexander lV canonized Clare, and today the order of Saint Clare numbers more than 20,000 sisters worldwide, with more than 70 countries represented.
O glorious Saint Clare! God has given you the power of working miracles continually, and the favor of answering the prayers of those who invoke your assistance in misfortune, anxiety, and distress; we beseech you, obtain for us from Jesus, through Mary, His blessed Mother, what we beg of you so fervently and hopefully, if it be for the greater honor and glory of God and for the good of our souls. Amen.