Clare of Assisi

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Fresco of St. Clare by Simone Martini in the chapel of the lower church of the Basilica of San Francesco in Assisi (14th century)
Fresco of Saint Clare by Giotto di Bondone in the Bardi Chapel of the Santa Croce Basilica in Florence. (14th century)

Clare of Assisi (* 1193 or 1194 in Assisi in Umbria ; †  August 11, 1253 in San Damiano , Assisi) was the founder of the contemplative order of the Poor Clares .


Klara (Italian: Chiara ) was born as the daughter of the nobleman Favarone di Offreduccio di Bernadino in 1193 or 1194. Influenced by the example of St. Francis , whom she had heard preaching in the Cathedral of Assisi, she left on the night of Palm Sunday 1212, the 18th and 19th centuries. March 1212, her wealthy, aristocratic parental home and took the vow of a life according to the evangelical councils in the small church Portiuncula . Francis dressed her “in a poor robe” and cut her hair.

From then on, Clare devoted herself to following Christ in radical poverty . Francis initially placed her with Benedictine nuns . Her sister, Saint Agnes of Assisi , followed her example only sixteen days later. After Francis restored the chapel of San Damiano and provided shelter there, Clare and her sister moved there, where they were quickly joined by other women, including other sisters, friends, her aunt and her widowed mother.

Klara's courage and trust in God impressed many of her contemporaries. During an attack by the Saracens in 1240 , she confronted them with the monstrance . She did the same when Assisi was besieged by the imperial army a year later. Their iconographic attribute of saints is therefore the monstrance, and sometimes the chalice .

Clare stayed in the cloister of the monastery of San Damiano until her death and lived according to the rule of the order , which she wrote in 1216–1217 , which she said was "simply to observe the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ". Until her death, she fought for church recognition of this way of life, for the “privilege of poverty”. The Pope was of the opinion that the rule written by Clare was too strict and therefore not to be observed. Pope Innocent IV granted her recognition of the rule of the order on August 9, 1253, shortly before her death. The bull Solet annuere was brought to Klara on August 10th, and Klara died on August 11th.


The remains of Clare are venerated in the crypt of the Basilica of Santa Chiara in Assisi.

The rule of the Poor Clares was the first rule in history that a woman had written for women. The rule is surprisingly democratic for the time - it particularly emphasizes the personal responsibility of each individual sister. Many women all over Europe felt that it addressed them, joined the Poor Clares or founded their own Poor Clare convents , including Agnes of Prague . The Poor Clares are, alongside the Discalced Carmelites, the largest women's order in the Catholic Church .

About two years after her death, on August 15, 1255, Pope Alexander IV canonized Clare of Assisi . Pope Pius XII appointed her on 17 February 1958 in an apostolic letter to the patron saint of television . The feast day of St. Clare in the Catholic and Anglican churches and in some evangelical denominations is August 11th . The Cologne clear altar is St. Consecrated to Clare.

In Haitian Voodoo , Clare of Assisi is syncretized and worshiped with the female spirit Ayizan .



Web links

Commons : Clare of Assisi  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Dieter Berg: Klara v. Assisi . In: Walter Kasper (Ed.): Lexicon for Theology and Church . 3. Edition. tape 6 . Herder, Freiburg im Breisgau 1997, Sp. 112 .
  2. Lettre apostolique - ste claire patronne de la télévision (Apostolic letter proclaiming St. Clare the heavenly patroness of television, August 21, 1958), Pope Pius XII. February 14, 1957