Saint Clare of Assisi (1193 – 1253) was born into a wealthy families in Assisi, Italy. She loved fine things as a teenager but was also drawn inwardly to a life of service. At seventeen, she heard Francis of Assisi, the monk who repaired churches and ministered to the sick, speak and say: “When there is poverty with joy, there is inner peace.” A year later, she decided to follow in his footsteps by giving up her life of wealth. Francis persuaded her to form a community of women at San Damiano. She spent the next four decades in prayer and contemplation. She was the first woman to write a Rule for religious life.

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