Updated: Aug 24
Most people know about St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals and ecology, but did you know that his protege and spiritual sister, St. Clare of Assisi, was equally if not more fascinating? This Catholic saint was a force to be reckoned with and did some incredible things in her lifetime. Here are four things you need to know about the fierce and fabulous St. Clare of Assisi.
1) She was inspired to religious life by St. Francis of Assisi
St. Clare of Assisi was born into a wealthy family in Assisi, Italy, in 1194. When she was 18 years old, St. Francis of Assisi, who had already started his own religious order, preached in the church of San Giorgio and his words greatly moved Clare. She felt a calling to religious and spiritual life and decided to give up her worldly possessions and follow in the footsteps of St. Francis. In a society that placed great emphasis on material wealth and social status, Clare's faith-based decision was seen as radical and even scandalous.
2) Her sister and mother joined her religious order
Clare's mother and younger sister, Agnes, joined her in her religious vocation, and together they formed an order of nuns known as the Poor Clares. The women lived in extreme poverty, embraced manual labor, and devoted their lives to prayer and helping the poor. The order of the Poor Clares still exists today and has over 20,000 members worldwide.
3) She warded off an invading army with the Blessed Sacrament
In 1240, Assisi was threatened by an invading army. Despite being gravely ill and bedridden, St. Clare of Assisi refused to flee and instead had herself carried to the walls of the convent, where she displayed the Blessed Sacrament in a monstrance. Legend has it that the army, upon seeing the sacred object, became frightened and fled. St. Clare of Assisi's bravery and unwavering faith in the power of the Blessed Sacrament have made her a beloved saint among Catholics.
Yes, you read that right. St. Clare of Assisi is the patron saint of television. How did this happen? She was ill and disappointed that she could not attend Mass. Then God gave her the grace to see and hear the Mass on the wall of her room as though she was there. She is also the patron of eye disease, goldsmiths, and laundry.
In conclusion, St. Clare of Assisi was a woman ahead of her time, who defied societal norms and lived a life of radical faith. She is revered as a source of inspiration for Catholics around the world, not only for her heroic acts, but for her simple yet profound message of love and service to others. Her life teaches us that even in the darkest of times, faith and prayer can illuminate the path towards a better world.