Clare was born in Assisi, Italy in 1194 into a family of knights and nobles. In 1212, at the age of eighteen, Clare became one of the first followers of Saint Francis when she left her home on Palm Sunday night in order to be consecrated as a handmaid of Christ. Saint Francis soon took her to San Damiano where she anchored her whole self for over forty years. Because she remained rooted in one place she liked to call herself the Little Plant of Saint Francis.
Saint Clare was the first woman in history to write a Rule. She took her form of life from Saint Francis who wanted to live the Gospel radically. She also chose to live with the privilege of poverty. She placed her security in the providence of the Father of Mercies and trusted He would take care of her through the goodness of the faithful. This has been proved true for over 800 years.
Clare also had a deep devotion to Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. When the mercenary soldiers attacked her monastery, she had herself led to the door with the Blessed Sacrament. She begged Jesus to protect her Sisters whom she was unable to protect. She heard the voice of the Lord promise: “I will always protect you.” The invading soldiers fled in terror, and peace returned. As her daughters, we claim for ourselves this same promise of the Lord.
Clare had a supremely Marian vocation. In her second letter to Saint Agnes of Prague she wrote: “Therefore, as the glorious Virgin of virgins carried Christ materially in her Body, you too, by following her footprints, especially those of poverty and humility, can, without any doubt, always carry Him spiritually in your chaste and virginal body.” As Francis was called to imitate Jesus in a radical and total way, Clare was called to imitate Mary.
Clare had the heart of a missionary. Her mission, like her heart, had a universal scope. Totally surrendered to God, her ‘mission field’ became as wide and far and broad as that of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Through the mysterious and radical limiting of her body to the cloister, her heart expanded so that her mission field became coextensive with that of God Himself. Her apostolic ‘work’ was union with God and through Him her life was given a universal mission. This union was the source of her fruitfulness and apostolic zeal and became a leaven of holiness in the Church. What she wrote to Saint Agnes of Prague could be said of any of her daughters. “I consider you a co-worker of God Himself and a support of the weak members of His ineffable Body.”
As Clare lay dying, she blessed the Lord for creating her. She died on August 11, 1253, shortly after the pope visited her and approved her Rule. She was canonized two years later in 1255.
The name Clare means light. As Clare was a radiant light in the dark thirteenth century, she continues to be a brilliant light for the people of God in the twenty-first century
Gaze upon Him, consider Him, contemplate Him, as you desire to imitate Him.
– Saint Clare of Assisi
Saint Francis of Assisi was born in 1181 in Assisi, Italy. Perhaps no saint is better loved or known both within and outside the Church. He spans the centuries and remains ever contemporary, youthful and intriguing. He inspires the most diverse of peoples: artists and beggars, scholars and simple children, popes and peasants, the famous and the powerful as well as the weak, helpless and unknown. He is an inspiration of saints, a prod for sinners and a prophet for the third millennium.
Who is Saint Francis of Assisi? Man of peace? Friend of the wolf of Gubbio? Patron of Ecologists? Saint of the Animals and Garden? Poor Beggar of Assisi?
Who is Saint Francis of Assisi? Radical Follower of the Gospel? Herald of the Great King? Troubadour? Lover of Lady Poverty? Perfect Imitator of Jesus Christ? Humble Knight of the Queen of Angels?
Who is Saint Francis of Assisi? Loyal Son of the Church? Totally catholic and obedient to the Holy Father the Pope? Conformed to Christ Crucified? Father of the Franciscan Family: the Friars, Poor Clares and Secular Franciscans? marked with the Wounds of Christ, the Sacred Stigmata?
Who is Sant Francis for the Poor Clares? Founder, Helper and Planter. Inspiration. Example. Spiritual Father. And all of the above and much more.
Hold back nothing of yourselves for yourselves, that He Who gives Himself totally to you may receive you totally.
– St. Francis of Assisi
Saint Colette of Jesus was born in Corbie, France in 1381. Because her mother was 60 years old at the time of her birth, she has become the special intercessor of childless couples. Further miraculous events during her life also have made her the friend of sick children, patroness of expectant mothers and intercessor of families.
After the death of her parents, Colette tried living as a Beguine, a Benedictine, a Poor Clare, and finally as an anchoress, beginning in 1402. After three years as a recluse, she was raised up by God through the prayers of Saint Francis and Saint Clare to reform the Order to its original fervor. This was her special mission.
After an arduous life of journeying, reforming and founding monasteries, Saint Colette died on March 6, 1447, in the Monastery of Ghent. In the USA the Franciscan Calendar marks her feast day as February 7th.
Saint Colette is affectionately called our second mother because she made it possible to recapture the spirit of San Damiano and Saint Clare’s Rule. We count it an honor ot add P.C.C. to our signature, thus identifying ourselves as Poor Clare Colettines.
Let us always regret that we have but one heart with which to love God, and that this heart is so poor and weak. But such as it is, God asks it of us! Let us give it to Him constantly and completely. Let Him have this poor heart for time and eternity.
– St. Colette