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Novena to St. Clare of Assisi

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 St. Clare of Assisi

Born on July 16, 1194, St. Clare of Assisi was the first woman to follow St. Francis. At 18 years old, after listening to the Lenten preaching of St. Francis, she decided to follow him. St. Francis accepted her wish when she presented herself to him after running away from home. He cut her hair as a sign of her commitment to the Gospel. The first persons to follow her were her own sister and mother. Soon, her convent would be filled with other young women. She was privileged to receive visions, one of which was to witness the death of her beloved Francis who died 400 kilometers away from her convent. Her biographers described her as St. Francis’ chief rival in the imitation of the poor Christ. Once she said: “They say that we are too poor, but can a heart which possesses the infinite God be truly called poor?" St. Clare’s prayers stopped rouge soldiers from destroying Assisi, and while still alive, like St. Francis, attracted pilgrims who wanted to see a living saint. She died on August 11, 1253 and was declared patroness of all those with eye problems.

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