Born in Italy, the daughter of an extremely wealthy count, Saint Clare was heavily devoted to prayer from a very early age. Her mother, who got her started on the this holy discipline, had made many pilgrimages before she married Clare’s father.
When Clare turned 15 years of age, her parents felt it was time for her to marry and settle down, the timing was particularly convenient since they just happened to know a rich and wealthy man at the time. She told them she would prefer to wait another three years before settling down, reluctantly they agreed.
Whether Clare had just bought time in order to escape marriage or it was merely the way life events unfolded is uncertain, either way, at the age of 18, Clare heard Saint Francis of Assisi preach. His words changed her outlook on life, so much so that one day after a Palm Sunday event she ran away from home to join a nunnery. Until he had time to cool down, Clare’s father was enraged and he nearly pulled her from the nunnery and forced her to come home to follow his original plan, marrying a wealthy nobleman.
Thanks to Saint Clare’s leadership and strong discipline, the house of San Damiano became one of the most important houses of the Franciscan order. Throughout her life, she stood against any pope that attempted to water down what she believed was the most important aspect of her call, to live joyously in complete and utter poverty as Christ did.
Before she passed away at the age of 59, Clare would nurture two people who were very close to her when they fell ill, her mother and Saint Francis of Assisi.
Saint Clare is known for her ability to promptly bring the perfect match into a person’s life. This sounds backwards at first, since she never took an earthly husband. However, nuns are considered to be the brides of Christ, so it can be argued that she found the best husband for her.