Born: July 16th, 1194
Died: Aug. 11th, 1253
FEast: Aug. 11th
Patron of:eye disease, gold workers, television, good weather
st. Clare of Assisi
Descended from a wealthy Roman family, Clare was born in Assisi and given the name Chiara. At 15, Clare refused an opportunity of marriage. She was very devoted to spending time in prayer and meditation, but when St. Francis came to preach and she heard him speak, her life changed forever.
She was only 18 when she and Francis became close friends, and she told him that what she wanted was to live for God like he was - and to follow him, she ran away from home! An aunt and another friend joined her on the journey to a chapel in which Francis waited. When she got there, she cut her hair and traded in her expensive dress for a plain one. She joined a Benedictine convent, but when her uncle and father found out, they stormed the place and demanded she come home. Literally clinging to the altar to be able to stay, Clare refused. She told her father she would not have any husband, and that this was the life she wanted.
To protect her from further intrusion, St. Francis transferred her to a separate monastery, and Clare's sister joined her there less than a month later (eventually, her mother even joined).
Soon, they had a monastery of their own for themselves and other women who had joined them, hoping to live simple, secluded lives. They possessed nothing of their own, were vegetarian, and didn't wear any shoes. They were silent for the most part of each day, as well. They also did not generate any money, and survived only on what the community chose to donate freely. Francis asked her to be the leader of the group when she was 21, and she held that position her entire life. In this position, she even fought the Pope when he tried to force her group to follow rules that were more like St. Benedict's than St. Francis'. She also continued her friendship with Francis, and the two held such a high respect for each other and each other's ideas. Many religious authorities even came to visit Clare, since she did not leave the walls of her monastery.
Clare was sick for the last 27 years of her life. Despite this, she was known to always be cheerful, thoughtful, a lover of music, and a servant of the sisters: she would make sure their blankets had not fallen off at night.
Once, when the monastery was about to be attacked by warring soldiers, Clare fearlessly got out of bed and went to the walls of the building while holding a monstrance containing the Eucharist. She knelt down to pray, and a storm began almost immediately. The tents of the soldiers were scattered and they fled the area.
Clare took care of Francis as he grew older and suffered many illnesses and pains until he passed, and then she was looked after by her sister for the remaining years of her own life. Clare passed away only two days after the Pope declared that her rules would be used for all nuns of her Order from now on.
She was designated as the patron of television because it is said that when she was too sick to attend Mass services, she could see and hear them on the walls of her room.
You were a great defender. Though extremely tough, you defended your own convictions to your family, you defended the way of your order, and you even physically defended your home and sisters against attackers. Give us the self-trust, the bravery, and the confidence to defend in our own lives the things we believe, hold sacred, and love.
Sts. Francis + Clare,
guide us in our friendships and make ours as loving and genuine as yours. Spare us miscommunications, grant us joy and laughs, and keep us from straying. May our friendships last as long as our lives and may we know each other deeply and love each other well as Jesus loves us.
With a reference from another roommate of mine, Clare's expression came from my friend's qualities that were so much like hers. Thoughtful, quiet, creative, and determined to live a life of her own, I knew this was how Clare would look if she was around today. The two of them even share a name!