St. Clare, Virgin: Brief Bio, Miracles, & Quotes

Clare was born into an aristocratic family from Assisi on July 16, 1194. As a little girl she was known by members of her household to be a sensitive child, gentle, prayerful and kind. She would sometimes remove food from her plate and hide it so as to later give it to the poor.

After hearing Francis preach Lenten homilies at the Church of San Giorgo, Clare became determined to live the gospel in a more radical way. On the evening of Palm Sunday, March 20, 1212, at the age of 18, she secretly left her paternal home with her cousin Pacifica, never to return. In the dead of night lit only by torches, Clare met Francis and his friars at the ‘Portiuncola’. There, in the little chapel of ‘Mary of the Angels’, she laid aside her fine clothes and Francis, after cutting off her long blonde hair, clothed her in a simple dress of sackcloth and a thick veil. She vowed from that moment on to give herself totally to God, her eternal spouse.

She was placed by Francis temporarily with the Benedictine nuns until Francis built with his own hands a cloister for her and her community, the Order of Poor Ladies, later known as the Poor Clares.

At San Damiano, Clare lived an austere life. She slept on a straw mattress, fasted three days a week, never ate meat, often did penance, and awoke in the middle of the night to pray the Divine Office. Year round she wore a coarse habit and went barefoot on stone floors.

In the beginning, most of the young girls who joined her in this life of radical poverty were from the noble families of Assisi and the surrounding area. At first they had no written rule to follow except for a very short rudimentary rule drawn up by Francis. Over the years, prelates tried to draw up a rule for the Poor Ladies based largely on the Rule of St. Benedict, however, Clare would reject these attempts in favor of the ‘privilege of poverty’, wishing to own nothing in this world and depending entirely on the providence of God and the generosity of the people for their livelihood.

Clare frequently provided help and encouragement to her spiritual father, Francis. It was to her that he turned when in doubt and it was she who urged him to continue his mission in preaching when he thought his vocation lay in becoming a hermit.

After receiving the stigmata, blind, ill and dying, Francis came for the last time to San Damiano. Clare built a little reed hut for him outside the cloister and tended him. It was there that he composed his magnificent “Canticle of the Creatures”, in the spring of 1225. After his death at the Portiuncola the procession with his body stopped at San Damiano in order that Clare and "her daughters" might pay their respects to their father, mentor, brother and friend. Clare was frail in physical health. Since 1224 she was always ill at San Damiano. During this time, she remained cheerful and kept busy making altar cloths and linens.

Twice God saved San Damiano through the intercession of St. Clare. In September 1240, hoards of Saracen mercenaries attacked the walls of the monastery on their way to the city. Clare prayed before the Blessed Sacrament and suddenly for no explainable reason the Saracens retreated. A similar situation occurred when the troops of Vitalis d’Aversa attacked Assisi in June of 1241. Again her deep devotion to the Eucharist brought her before the Blessed Sacrament and again the city was spared.

Miracles were not unknown to St. Clare even during her lifetime. Olive Jars were filled after she blessed them. A very heavy door came off its hinges and fell on top of her, but when a number of sisters in a panic rushed to lift it off, instead of finding her crushed, she was not harmed at all and said it felt no heavier than a blanket. The sick were cured when she made the sign of the cross over them. At times when she meditated, the sisters saw a rainbow aura surrounding her.

One Christmas Eve she was too ill to rise from her bed to attend Mass at the new Basilica of St. Francis. Although she was more than a mile away she saw Mass on the wall of her dormitory. So clear was the vision that the next day she could name the friars at the celebration. It was for this last miracle that she has been named patroness of television.

On August 11, 1253, just before dawn, Clare, foundress of the Poor Ladies, passed peacefully away. Two years later, Clare was canonized by Pope Alexander IV. Clare is the patron saint of: embroiderers, eye disease, eyes, gold workers, good weather, sick children, laundry workers, telegraphs, telephones, televisions, and televisions writers.

Favorite Quotes:

“Place your mind before the mirror of eternity! Place your soul in the brilliance of glory! And transform your entire being into the image of the Godhead Itself through contemplation."

"He Christ is the splendor of eternal glory, "the brightness of eternal light, and the mirror without cloud."

"Gaze upon Him, consider Him, contemplate Him, as you desire to imitate Him."

"I come, O Lord, unto Thy sanctuary to see the life and food of my soul. As I hope in Thee, O Lord, inspire me with that confidence which brings me to Thy holy mountain. Permit me, Divine Jesus, to come closer to Thee, that my whole soul may do homage to the greatness of Thy majesty; that my heart, with its tenderest affections, may acknowledge Thine infinite love; that my memory may dwell on the admirable mysteries here renewed every day, and that the sacrifice of my whole being may accompany Thine."

"Totally love Him, Who gave Himself totally for your love."


  1. Hi Jean - Two years ago you posted this wonderful post. I'm going to use one of your quotes and hope to send visitors to see your entire St. Clare information. Just wonderful....thanks.


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