“Saints of Our Lives” features Team Busted Halo acting out the lives of the saints in soap opera fashion for your educational and entertainment pleasure. In this episode, we dramatize the life of St. Clare of Assisi.
Although most people are familiar with the gentle, nature-loving ways of St. Francis of Assisi, far fewer know much about his female counterpart, St. Clare of Assisi.
Clare was born to a wealthy Italian family in 1194 and showed devotion to Jesus from a very young age. Although her parents arranged for her to marry to a wealthy older gentleman at the tender age of 12, Clare, yearning to be a nun, negotiated to have the marriage put off until she turned 18. When her 18th birthday arrived, Clare ran away from home and turned to her friend St. Francis. Clare’s father, a powerful count, tried to force her to return home, but Clare resisted and proclaimed her dedication to religious life. Francis immediately helped her to cut her hair, symbolizing a shedding of the outside world, and then helped her establish an order for other devout women who wanted to live a consecrated life in the austere fashion of the Franciscans.
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At first, St. Francis led the order, which was known as the Poor Clares; however, the women of the community unanimously elected Clare as abbess in 1216. Although female leadership was rare in the 13th century, St. Clare successfully headed the order for several decades despite outside authorities’ attempts to alter her vision for the community. St. Clare and St. Francis remained close friends for life, and they are now honored as co-founders of a revolutionary movement embracing radical poverty.