On August 11, 1253 A.D., Clare of Assisi, abbess of the Community of Poor Ladies of San Damiano, breathed her last on earth. Born to the noble Offreduccio family (1193/4 A.D.), she was moved by the persuasive preaching of Francis of Assisi, renouncing her birthright and worldly riches to follow him in poverty and adherence to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Thus began the Second Order of Franciscans, this one for women, later known as the Poor Clares.
To view the feast of Christmas through Franciscan eyes, we turn to the two saints who most embody that spirituality: its founder, Saint Francis of Assisi (1182 – 1226), and his beloved spiritual daughter, Saint Clare of Assisi (1193 – 1253). One of many hallmarks of Franciscan spirituality which they shared was a deep, intense love for the Incarnation of Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh, in the poverty of His birth. Both were gifted with evidence of this love in miraculous ways.
To honor the August 11th feast of Saint Clare of Assisi (1194 – 1253 A.D.), we consider the life and spirituality of this first female Franciscan religious.