Clare of Assisi, Saint

1194-1253, Italian nun: founder of the Franciscan order of nuns.
Also, Clara of Assisi.

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born July 16, 1194, Assisi, duchy of Spoleto
died Aug. 11, 1253, Assisi; canonized 1255; feast day August 11

Founder of the order of Poor Clares (Clarissines).

Born to a noble family, she became devoted to her fellow Assisian St. Francis. She refused to marry and in 1212 fled to the Porziuncola Chapel, where St. Francis received her vows. She later became abbess of a female religious community that included her sister, St. Agnes, and her mother. Her order, the Second Order of St. Francis, or Poor Clares, adopted the absolute poverty of St. Francis but was strictly cloistered, unlike its counterpart, the Franciscans. Still allied with the Franciscans, the Poor Clares are noted for their poverty and their life of penitential prayer led for the good of church and society.

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▪ Roman Catholic abbess
Clare also spelled  Clara , Italian  Santa Chiara Di Assisi 
born July 16, 1194, Assisi, duchy of Spoleto [Italy]
died Aug. 11, 1253, Assisi; canonized 1255; feast day August 11

      abbess and founder of the Poor Clares (Poor Clare) (Clarissines).

      Deeply influenced by St. Francis of Assisi (Francis of Assisi, Saint), she refused to marry as her parents wished and fled (March 18, 1212) to the Porziuncola Chapel below Assisi, where Francis received her vows, thus marking the beginning of the Second Order of St. Francis. Many joined Clare, including her mother and her sister St. Agnes. Soon the Poor Clares were housed in the church and convent of San Damiano, near Assisi, where Clare became abbess in 1216. Clare's great concern was to obtain a rule reflecting the spirit of Francis to replace the Benedictine rule that Cardinal Ugolino (later Pope Gregory IX) had adapted for her order. Two days before she died Pope Innocent IV approved her definitive rule.

      Besides its “privilege of perfect poverty,” forbidding the ownership of property even by the community, Clare's order is noted for its apostolic aim: she considered its penitential prayer life a spiritually vitalizing force for church and society. This view was shared by the popes and by the grateful citizens of Assisi, who credited Clare with twice saving their city from destruction. On the first occasion, Clare caused the convent chaplain to elevate the Host at the refectory window, whereupon the Moorish allies of the Holy Roman emperor Frederick II, who were storming the walls, fell back. On the second occasion, when a larger force headed by General Vitale d'Aversa besieged Assisi, Clare and her nuns fervently prayed for the Assisians, and a great storm dispersed the attackers. She was credited with other miracles in life and after death. In 1958 Pope Pius XII declared her patron of television, alluding to an incident during her last illness when she miraculously heard and saw the Christmas midnight mass in the basilica of San Francesco on the far side of Assisi.

Additional Reading
Regis J. Armstrong (ed. and trans.), Clare of Assisi: Early Documents, rev. and expanded edition (1993, reissued 2006); Ingrid J. Peterson, Clare of Assisi (1993).

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Clare of Assisi, Saint — • Cofounded the Poor Clares with St. Francis. She died in 1253 Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006 …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Clare of Assisi,Saint — Clare of As·si·si (klâr; ə sēʹzē, sē, ə sĭsʹē), Saint. 1194 1253. Italian nun and religious leader who founded with Saint Francis of Assisi the first Franciscan order of nuns, the Poor Clares. She was canonized in 1255. * * * …   Universalium

  • Clare of Assisi, Saint — 1194 1253, Italian nun: founder of the Franciscan order of nuns. Also, Clara of Assisi …   Useful english dictionary

  • Clare of Assisi — Saint Clare of Assisi Detail depicting Saint Clare from a fresco (1312–20) by Simone Martini in the Lower basilica of San Francesco, Assisi. Virgin …   Wikipedia

  • Clare of Assisi — Clare′ (or Clar′a) of Assi′si [[t]ˈklær ə[/t]] n. big Saint, 1194–1253, Italian nun: founder of the Franciscan order of nuns …   From formal English to slang

  • Clare of Assisi — /klɛər əv əˈsisi/ (say klair uhv uh seesee) noun Saint, 1194–1253, Franciscan nun; founder of the Poor Clares; patron saint of television …   Australian English dictionary

  • Clare of Assisi — biographical name Saint 1194 1253 Italian religious …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Saint Clare of Assisi — n. (1194 1253) Italian born woman who found the order of Franciscan nuns …   English contemporary dictionary

  • Francis of Assisi, Saint — orig. Francesco di Pietro di Bernardone born 1181/82, Assisi, duchy of Spoleto died Oct. 3, 1226, Assisi; canonized July 16, 1228; feast day October 4 Italian saint and founder of the Franciscan religious order. Born into a wealthy family, he was …   Universalium

  • Agnes of Assisi, Saint — • Brief biography of the younger sister of St. Clare, and prioress of the Poor Clares at Monticelli Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006 …   Catholic encyclopedia

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