Clare was born around 1193 in Assisi, Italy. St. Francis of Assisi lived in the same town. Clare used to listen to Francis preach. Her heart burned with a great desire to imitate him. Like him, she wanted to live a poor, humble life for Jesus. But her parents would never agree to such a plan. So on the night of Palm Sunday, 1212, when she was eighteen years old, she left her comfortable home and her family whom she loved. In a little chapel outside Assisi, she gave herself to God. St. Francis cut off her hair and offered her a rough brown habit to wear. She stayed with the Benedictine nuns until more nuns would join her. Other young women wanted to be "poor ladies" of Jesus, too. Before long there was a small religious community. They lived in a poor house in an atmosphere of silent prayer. Yet they were very happy because they were living a life of poverty as Jesus had done. St. Clare was abbess of her convent for forty years. Twenty-nine of those years she was sick. But she said that she was joyful anyway because she was serving the Lord. St. Clare spent most of her life defending what she called the "privilege of poverty." The pope tried to soften her Rule’s requirement of poverty, but Clare convinced him that she and her nuns were called to live with no possessions, trusting completely in God. St. Clare died on August 11, 1253. Just two years later she was proclaimed a saint by Pope Alexander IV. One of the most beautiful aspects of St. Clare's life is her friendship with St. Francis of Assisi. Children who read the life of St. Clare will discover the value of good friendships. Paperback, 111 pages.
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