St. Clare of Assisi. Disciple of Saint Francis of Assisi.
Co-founder of the Poor Clares (1193-1253)
Born into a noble family in Assisi, Italy, Clare came from a privileged background. However, the preaching and example set by St. Francis of Assisi deeply influenced her, leading her to make a resolute decision to emulate his life of simplicity and poverty.
As time went on, Clare assumed the role of the founding member and spiritual guide for a novel assembly of nuns: the Poor Ladies of Assisi. These nuns, now more widely recognized as the “Poor Clares,” saw rapid expansion under her leadership, with Clare establishing convents not only in Germany but also in Bohemia.
In the final two decades of her life, this devout individual battled a series of ailments that frequently confined her to her bed. Despite her physical challenges, she insisted that both her own community and the “Lesser Brothers” stay committed to the spiritual path laid out by Saint Francis.
Saint Clare’s passing occurred in 1253, followed by her canonization just two years later, confirming her sainthood.
Since1958, Saint Clare gained special recognition as the patron saint of television. This title was bestowed upon her by Pope Pius XII due to a legend recounting that on a Christmas Eve, during a period of illness, Clare experienced a vision of the nativity scene and heard her fellow sisters’ singing, as though she were present in the church at that very moment.
For prayer and reflection
“Happy indeed is she who is granted a place at the divine banquet, for she may cling with her inmost heart to him whose beauty eternally awes the blessed hosts of heaven; to him whose love inspires love, whose contemplation refreshes, whose generosity satisfies, whose gentleness delights, whose memory shines sweetly as the dawn; to him whose fragrance revives the dead, and whose glorious vision will bless all the citizens of that heavenly Jerusalem. For his is the splendor of eternal glory, the brightness of eternal light, and the mirror without cloud.”—Saint Clare of Assisi
On August 11, we also remember the Roman martyr Saint Susanna. Although the details of her life and martyrdom have been lost to us, Saint Susanna died for Christ around the year 295. Later legends about her led to her becoming celebrated in Rome where a church was built in her honor.
O God, who in your mercy led Saint Clare to a love of poverty,
grant, through her intercession,
that, following Christ in poverty of spirit,
we may merit to contemplate you
one day in the heavenly Kingdom.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal)