Feast of St. Clare of Assisi

St. Clare of Assisi, Feast of

August 11
There were a number of women who joined the Second Order of St. Francis, but the first and most famous was St. Clare (c. 1194-1253). The daughter of a wealthy and noble family, she heard St. Francis preach about his rule of poverty and penance and, at the age of 18, left home to dedicate herself to the Franciscan way of life. She was joined 16 days later by her sister, Agnes. Other women, referred to as the Poor Ladies, were eventually drawn to the hard life that Clare had chosen, and the religious order that she and Francis founded is known today as the Poor Clares ( see also St. Francis of Assisi, Feast Day of).
Clare outlived Francis, who died in 1226, by 27 years. Although she was ill and confined to her bed for most of this time, she was a tireless proponent of the so-called "Primitive Rule," which calls for perpetual fasting except on Sundays and Christmas. In addition to their vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, the Poor Clares also take a vow of enclosure, which means that they never leave the convent.
Clare died in 1253 and was canonized on August 12, 1255. Her feast day, which was observed for centuries by Roman Catholics and some Episcopalians, was eventually moved to August 11, the date of her death according to the revised Roman Catholic calendar and some other calendars.
AnnivHol-2000, p. 134
OxYear-1999, p. 329
Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary, Fourth Edition. © 2010 by Omnigraphics, Inc.
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