Clare was born in 1194, was the daughter of a wealthy family in Assisi. When she was eighteen years old, she heard a sermon by Francis of Assisi, and was moved by it to follow the example of the Franciscan brothers and vow herself to a life of simplicity and service to God. Her family was horrified, and brought her back home by force; but one night, in a gesture both tactical and symbolic, she slipped out of her house through "the door of the dead" (a small side door that was traditionally opened only to carry out a corpse) and returned to the house of the Franciscans. Francis cut off her hair, and placed her in a nearby convent. Later a house was found for her, and she was eventually joined by two of her sisters, her widowed mother, and several members of the wealthy Ubaldini family of Florence. Clare's best friend, Pacifica, joined them, too.

     Clare had the same deep passion for creation and animals that Francis had and could often be found among the beautiful flowers and animals of the hills of Assisi. She spoke with the animals, nursed their wounds and soothed their fears with her soft beautiful attunement to them. She would often bring an injured or abandoned rabbit or bird back to her hermitage for safe keeping and nurturing gently returning each to the same spot she found them once healing was completed.

     As did St. Francis, St. Clare has continued, over the centuries to inspire countless numbers of people, ever urging them to a simple life and a deep love of the Creation. The Poor Clares continue to be visible and dramatic witnesses to that Divine Spark that enkindled the hearts of Francis and Clare, and continues to burn in the hearts of those who believe.

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