Clare was the daughter of a count and countess. She heard St. Francis preach in the streets of Assisi and told him of her desire to give herself to God. They became close friends.
At the age of eighteen, Clare became the first follower of Saint Francis when she left her home on Palm Sunday night in order to be consecrated as the handmaid of Christ. Francis cut off her hair and Clare gave her life to Christ.
In an old house outside Assisi she started her Order of the Poor Clares. She also chose to live with the privilege of poverty. She placed her security in the providence of God and trusted He would take care of her through the goodness of the faithful. Later, her sister and mother and other noble ladies joined her. They lived a life of prayer, silence, and fasting.
Saint Clare was the first woman in history to write a Rule. She took her form of life from Saint Francis who wanted to live the Gospel radically. She also had a deep devotion to Our Blessed Mother. As Francis was called to imitate Jesus in a radical and total way, Clare was called to imitate Mary.
Clare also had a deep devotion to Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. When the Saracens attacked her monastery, she had herself led to the door with the Blessed Sacrament. She begged Jesus to protect her Sisters whom she was unable to protect. She heard the voice of our Lord promise: "I WILL ALWAYS PROTECT YOU." The Saracens fled in terror, and peace returned.
During her illness of twenty-eight years, the Holy Eucharist was her strength. She died in 1253.
The name Clare means light. As Clare was a radiant light in the dark thirteenth century she continues to be a brilliant light for all people.