St Clare was so impressed with the life and works of St Frances of Assisi, that she ran away from home leaving behind her all wealth and possession’s to follow Christ. St Francis sent her to live with the Benedictine nuns until he formed a community for women, then he asked Clare to return, and appointed her as Abbess, a position she held until her death in 1253.
St Clare was delighted when she obtained from the Pope the privilege of total poverty for her order, which became known as the Poor Clare’s. The sisters never ate meat and did without shoes, St Clare wore a hair shirt all her life, but was very gentle with her sisters, roaming the nunnery at night making sure her sisters were warmly covered up in bed. St Clare once said: “They say we are too poor, can a heart which possesses God really be called poor?”
Devotion to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament was the crowning grace of the glorious foundress of the Second Order of St Francis. Prayer was her spiritual comfort and strength, she would stay for hours in unbroken prayer prostrate before the altar. Even when sick in bed she spun fine linen by hand for corporals and for the altar, which were distributed throughout the churches of Assisi.
When Emperor Frederick 11’s army of infidels came in great number to plunder and burn Assisi the nuns fled in terror to the sick bed of their mother, who forgetting her weakness, exclaimed, “Fear not, my dearest children, trust in Jesus Christ and He will save you.” Then she told her sisters to take her to the gates of the convent where she said she would place in the way of the rampaging hoards an insurmountable barrier – Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. She prostrated herself before Jesus in the Eucharistic Host and prayed that He, “Give not to the wild beasts the souls of Thy servants who have known Thy name, but save them whom Thou has redeemed by Thy precious blood”. As she prayed a sweet voice came from the Blessed Sacrament: “Yes, I will protect you without ceasing!”
Then Clare rose up in the strength of the Holy Ghost, she appeared on the walls of the convent with the monstrance in her hands, such a glorious light streamed from the Blessed Sacrament that, seized by a sudden terror, the assailants fled, and the convent was saved.