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Saint Clare

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St. Clare of Assisi
St. Clare of Assisi

Saint Clare of Assisi was an avid follower of Saint Francis of Assisi and founder of the religious order known today as the "Poor Clares." She is the patron saint of embroidery, television, telephones, and people suffering from eye disease. Her feast day is August 11.

Saint Clare was born in Assisi, Italy; she was the eldest daughter of Favorino Scifi, Count of Sasso-Rosso and his wife Ortolana. Her parents arranged for her to marry a wealthy young man in 1212 when she was just 17 years old. Clare, out of desperation, escaped into a life of religious service along with her sister Agnes (Saint Agnes) to follow the teachings of Saint Francis. Clare and Agnes eventually moved to the church of San Damiano (which Francis himself had rebuilt); a church that became known for its austere lifestyle. Because of their oaths of poverty and simple lifestyles, the nuns became known as the "Poor Ladies." Unlike the Franciscan friars who roamed freely about the countryside, Saint Clare's sisters lived a cloistered life of manual labour and prayer. For a short period of time the order was directed by Francis himself. Claire played a significant role in supporting and helping Francis, whom she saw as a spiritual father figure. She took care of him during his illnesses, until his death in 1226. Clare's association with psychic abilities and television came about when she stayed home from mass because she was ill, yet later was able to describe the event in detail, for she had seen it as in a vision. After Francis died, Clare continued to promote the growth of her order despite of a long period of poor health until her own death on August 11, at the age of 59. In 1255 Pope Alexander IV canonized her as Saint Clare of Assisi.

Saint Clare is often shown carrying a monstrance or pyx, in commemoration of the time when she warded away the soldiers of Frederick II at the gates of her convent by displaying the Blessed Sacrament and kneeling in prayer.

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