Sister Clare called herself "the little plant of Francis," because she wanted to follow her best friend in his radical way of life. Attractive, wealthy and noble by birth, Clare was expected to marry well and live in accordance with all the rules of chivalry as a great knight's daughter. At 16 she began the secret chaperoned meetings with Francis, "El Poverello," (the little poor man) that would sow dissatisfaction with her comfortable life. The ardor between Francis and Clare was consumed in their mutual love for Jesus Christ.
On the night of Palm Sunday 1212, Clare received the rough Franciscan habit from Francis which began the second Order of Franciscans, known today as the Poor Clares. For the next 42 years, enclosed in her convent at San Damiano, Clare lived out her vows in literal poverty, hard work and constant prayer. Her life was as rigorous as any monk or peasant farmer. She slept on a straw floor mattress, cared for the sick, fasted 3 days a week, took no vacation, made no pilgrimages, prayed seven times a day, and year around went barefoot on stone floors. Though she lived in obscurity and ordinariness she grew in wisdom and grace. Her cloister in Umbria, Italy, became a source of spiritual light that radiated throughout the entire medieval Church and continues to shine to this day.
St. Francis' universal appeal to Clare and millions of others originated from an overwhelming faith in the goodness of a loving God. In Jesus Christ, Francis saw the Lord of all creation assume poverty and humility each day so that all men and women might be reconciled with God and with one another. His compelling quest to preach his simple faith in the crucified Christ took him to the Curia in Rome and as far as Spain and the Sultan's tents of Egypt
ABOUT THE PRESENTATION
Research was done for this presentation was done in Assisi, Italy and at the Monastery of the Poor Clares in Santa Barbara, California next to the Old Mission. Gwen met with the Mother Superior of this Order which still follows the original Rule written by Clare herself over 800 years ago.
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