Saints and Holy People

Find out about their lives and how they changed the world

Saint Clare of Assisi (1193–1253)

Saint Clare of Assisi (1193–1253)

Patron saint of women in childbirth, people suffering from eye diseases, and television

Feast day: August 11

Saint Clare of Assisi was of noble birth, but when she was eighteen, she was so moved by the Lenten sermons of Saint Francis of Assisi that she asked Francis to help her live the Gospel as he did.  She was deeply in love with God and wanted to live a holy life. Saint Francis recognized something special in Clare. She and Saint Francis became close friends and spiritual associates.

On the evening of Palm Sunday in 1212, Clare left her home and met Francis at the chapel of the Portiuncula. There her hair was cut and she was given a plain robe and veil. Clare stayed with the Benedictine nuns in her town until a small convent was built for her, her sister, and other women who joined them. Thus Clare became the founder of the Poor Clares and lived twenty-seven years beyond the death of Saint Francis.

Deep humility, a deep commitment to poverty, and a deep longing for God marked her life. On Christmas Day, shortly before her death, Clare was sick and could not join her community and the friars in praying. She acknowledged her loneliness to God, and suddenly she began to hear the singing and praying of her sisters and the friars. She also had a vision of Jesus in the manger. Clare was able to see the rest of the service as she lay ill on her bed. Because of this miracle, Clare has been named the patron saint of television! (Adapted from The Catholic Faith Handbook for Youth [Saint Mary’s Press]) 

(Image Simone Martini, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)