Skip to Content

St. Clare of Assisi: Inspiring Life and Legacy of a Beloved Saint

St. Clare of Assisi, born Chiara Offreduccio on July 16, 1194, was an Italian saint and a devoted follower of Francis of Assisi. As the founder of the Poor Clares, also known as Clarissines, she dedicated her life to prayer, service to the poor, and the worship of God. Throughout her life, St. Clare was known for her miracles and unwavering commitment to her faith.

Early Life

Birth and Family

Saint Clare was born in Assisi on July 16, 1194, into a wealthy Italian family. Her father was Favorino Sciffi, Count of Sasso-Rosso, and her mother was Ortolana. As the eldest daughter, she grew up in an environment of piety and luxury, which eventually made her feel uncomfortable.

Influence of Francis of Assisi

At a young age, Clare was deeply moved by the teachings of St. Francis of Assisi. She was a sensitive and prayerful child, often staying up at night for prayers. The great example of St. Francis inspired her to pursue a life devoted to God, rejecting her noble upbringing.

On March 18, 1212, Clare approached St. Francis, who then received her vows as a follower. This event marked the beginning of the Second Order of St. Francis, also known as the Poor Clares. St. Clare’s dedication to God motivated many others to follow her path, including her mother and sister St. Agnes of Assisi. Shortly after, the community of Poor Clares found their home in the church and convent of San Damiano, near Assisi. In 1216, Clare became the abbess of this growing community.

Religious Calling

Foundation of the Order of Poor Ladies

St. Clare of Assisi, born Chiara Offreduccio in 1194, founded The Order of Poor Ladies. Influenced by St. Francis of Assisi, she chose a spiritual path, devoting her life to Christ. At the age of eighteen, she left her family on Palm Sunday night in 1212 to become the first female follower of St. Francis.

The San Damiano Convent

St. Francis soon took Clare to San Damiano, where she anchored her whole self. Many women joined her, including her mother and sister St. Agnes of Assisi. The community soon grew, housing the Poor Clares in the church and convent of San Damiano, near Assisi.

Development of the Rule

Influence on Clare’s Rule

Clare of Assisi, deeply influenced by St. Francis of Assisi, founded the Order of the Poor Sisters. The primary focus of this order was to observe the Holy Gospel by living in obedience, without possessions, and in chastity. St. Francis played a significant role in shaping Clare’s Rule, guiding her to closely adhere to the principles laid out in the Gospel.

Papal Approval of the Rule

Over the years, Clare worked tirelessly to establish her Rule, including seeking papal approvals to ensure her order’s legitimacy. It was a challenging task, as Clare was the first woman to write a Rule and persist in obtaining its papal approval. Pope Gregory IX and later Pope Innocent IV provided approval for her Rule. This achievement allowed her order to uphold the “privilege of poverty” and observe the Gospel as she desired.

Interestingly, St. Clare’s devotion extended beyond just establishing the Rule; she was also known for her tireless adoration of the Eucharist. Her unwavering commitment to her faith and her order eventually led to her canonization as a saint, inspiring generations of believers.

Miracles and Legends

Saint Clare of Assisi, born in 1194, is known for her spirituality and many miracles. One of the most famous miracles attributed to her involves saving the town of Assisi from an invading army.

Legend has it that when an army attacked the city, St. Clare carried the Blessed Sacrament in a monstrance and confronted the invaders. As she raised it towards the approaching soldiers, a sudden bright light blinded them, causing panic and forcing them to retreat.

In another instance, Clare’s intervention is credited with saving Assisi from an imperial army intent on conquest. Praying fervently, she sought divine protection for the town, and the soldiers withdrew their attack.

Miracles attributed to St. Clare:

  • Defeating an invading army with the Blessed Sacrament
  • Preventing another siege by her humble prayers
  • Numerous miraculous healings during her lifetime

St. Clare’s deep faith and devotion to a life of poverty inspired many people of her time. It is in these legends and miracles that we see the power of a humble and faithful life dedicated to God.



St. Clare of Assisi was canonized by Pope Alexander IV on August 15, 1255, just two years after her death. Her feast day is celebrated on August 11 every year. As the founder of the Poor Clares, she left a lasting impact on the religious community.

Cultural Impact

The greatest legacy of St. Clare is, without a doubt, the order she founded: the Poor Clares. With over 20,000 nuns in more than 75 countries as of 2011, her influence has reached far and wide. Many monasteries of the Poor Clares still adhere to the Rule of St. Clare, written in the 13th century.

In addition, St. Clare’s commitment to a life of poverty and simplicity made a strong statement against the wealth and decadence of the time. Her radical lifestyle served as a powerful reminder to the Church and society of the importance of living with humility, compassion, and devotion to spiritual values.


Feast Day

St. Clare of Assisi is commemorated on her Feast Day, which falls on August 11th every year. This day is an important event for those who follow her life and teachings, as well as for members of the religious orders she founded.


St. Clare is considered the patron saint of several areas and professions. Some of these include:

  • Eye disease
  • Goldsmiths
  • Laundry
  • Television

Her patronage of these diverse fields shows the broad impact of her life and the continued relevance of her example to people from all walks of life.

Writings and Teachings

St. Clare of Assisi was an influential figure in the 13th century, known for her spiritual guidance and literary contributions. Her writings mainly consist of letters and rules for her religious community, offering valuable insights into her faith and devotion.

Among her most notable writings are the letters to Agnes of Prague, which highlight Clare’s encouragement to the noblewoman on her spiritual journey. These letters showcase St. Clare’s wisdom and serve as a guide for individuals seeking to strengthen their faith.

In addition to her letters, St. Clare authored the Rule of St. Clare. This document laid the foundation for the Order of St. Clare, known as the Poor Clares. The Rule provides guidance on communal living, vows of poverty, and prayer, essential aspects for a dedicated religious life.

St. Clare’s writings and teachings emphasize humility, devotion, and love for God. Through her own inspirational journey and her wise words, numerous religious communities and individuals worldwide continue to find solace and spiritual growth.