St. Clare of Assisi Still Inspires After 750 Years
CINCINNATISt. Clare of Assisi, patron of television and telegrams, died in 1253, but her legacy is
timeless, and her life, the stuff of novels. Born privileged in Italy, St.
Clare abandoned her family's wealth and nobility, joining her friend St.
Francis in living a community life of prayer and poverty.
The life of St. Clare of Assisi is featured in the August
St. Anthony Messenger cover story entitled "Celebrating St. Clare of
Assisi." Sister Claire André Gagliardi, O.S.C., author of the article and
abbess of the Monastery of St. Clare in Columbus, New Jersey, writes of St.
Clare's life of purity, her passion for God and the many who still follow her
Speculation abounds as to whether St. Francis first approached St. Clare or vice versa, but
one fact is indisputable: Their friendship and mutual interest in living
uncluttered, pious lives produced the Franciscans and the Poor Claresreligious
orders that continue to witness to the Good News of Jesus. After being received
by St. Francis and his band of followers in 1212, St. Clare's disapproving family
members followed her to San Paolo, in efforts to
bring her back to the family. She flatly refused and shortly thereafter her sister
Catherine, soon to be called Agnes, joined her, as did other women inspired by
the example of Francis and Clare.
Clare's support for Francis with prayers and wise advice
was the bedrock of their friendship. Outliving him by 27 years, St. Clare
remained true to her holy, contemplative lifea life she treasured but one that
contained hardships. "[St. Clare] knew grace would be present and that this
grace would give her the strength and courage she needed," Sister Claire André
Gagliardi writes. "It would also give her the vision to see beyond herself and
grasp the insights that only God could teach."
St. Clare's choice for a life of simplicity is one that
continues to inspire and challenge people todayreligious and secular. St.
Clare needed only to look inward to find the strength to greet each day. In a
letter to her sister Agnes, Clare wrote: "The soul of a faithful person is
greater than heaven itself, since the heavens and the rest of creation cannot
contain the creator and only the faithful soul is God's dwelling place and
The article also includes a sidebar with a Web link to
the Poor Clares around the world. After July 20, the article can be found at: AmericanCatholic.org.
Permission is granted to reprint this release.