Clare was a contemporary of Francis and they, in fact, knew each other. She left her family with the help of Francis and donned the penitential clothes of poverty. Although she wished to join Francis and his brothers, it was not appropriate for her to do so and it was arranged that she should stay with a Benedictine order of sisters. The Benedictines were not poor enough for her so she left and founded a community at San Damiano, where we visited today. The community of women grew and were known as the poor ladies. Clare and Francis had agreed to keep vows of poverty and she had to fight the authorities to maintain the state of poverty that she desired. The pope approved her order only two days before her death. It was the first order of women to be approved. The order still exists as The Poor Clares.
While in Assisi, we are staying in a former convent, which has a lovely little chapel. We celebrated eucharist and the theme for the reflection was to consider the many names for God.
After a lovely lunch at the convent we walked down the hill through an olive grove to the site of San Damiano. The was the place where Clare lived and died and where Francis received his call to rebuild the church.
The question for today is what do we draw from Francis and Clare in our lives today?