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Lesson Two – AFF

“The Enlightened One”

Saint Clare - Simone MartiniSaint Clare by Simone Martini.

Would you believe that Saint Clare of Assisi was known in life for her revolutionary conduct and resistance to the pope?

Saint Clare was an extraordinary woman who founded the Order of Poor Clares.  She pushed against the 13th-century reforms of Pope Gregory IX to centralize and enclose all women religious into a one-size-fits-all order which followed the popular Benedictine tradition of nuns. Against the current of her time, Clare held that in imitation of the poor Christ and his poor mother, cloistered women should follow the evangelical counsels without owning property. She struggled to follow Christ as she felt called, not how the world or even the Church expected.

She became the first woman to describe their communal experience as a rule of life.  Her rule was the first rule written by a woman which obtained papal approval  .   Despite years of opposition by the hierarchy, Clare’s sanctity won their hearts so that when Pope Innocent IV visited Clare on her death bed he validated her Form of Life, creating a new juridical Order.

Source:  Clare of Assisi:  Her Life and Her Legacy, Sr. Ingrid J. Peterson, O.S.F., PhD, Now You Know Media series.  www.nowyouknowmedia.com

Lesson Two:  The Life of Saint Clare.  Class preparation for Lesson Two:  Read about Clare by clicking Saint Clare from the menu found at the top of each page.

Also click Lifeline of St. Clare for printable timeline (the same as the one below).

lifeline-of-saint-clare0001 lifeline-of-saint-clare0002


In 1215 Pope Innocent III called the Fourth Lateran Council.  One of the constitutions, No. 13, was particularly relevant to Clare’s obtaining approval for a Rule:

13. A prohibition against new religious orders

Lest too great a variety of religious orders leads to grave confusion in God’s church, we strictly forbid anyone henceforth to found a new religious order. Whoever wants to become a religious should enter one of the already approved orders. Likewise, whoever wishes to found a new religious house should take the rule and institutes from already approved religious orders. We forbid, moreover, anyone to attempt to have a place as a monk in more than one monastery or an abbot to preside over more than one monastery.

To read all the constitutions, go here:  FOURTH LATERAN COUNCIL


Clare of Assisi and Saint Clare, Beyond the Legend, two books by Marco Bartoli.

Clare of Assisi:  A Heart Full of Love, a book by Ilia Delio.

Clare of Assisi, by Claire Marie Ledoux, translated from the French by Colette Joly Dees

Clare of Assisi – The Lady: Early Documents a book by Regis J. Armstrong (Translator).  ISSBN-10: 1565482212I; ISBN-13: 978-1565482210.

Clare of Assisi:  Her Life and Legacy, a CD series by Sr. Ingrid J. Peterson, OSF, Ph.D, from Now You Know Media, www.nowyouknowmedia.com

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