Clare: Married only to Christ

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8)

One by one, the congregation walked to the front of the church to receive a palm leaf on Palm Sunday in March 1212.

All save Clare, the daughter of a wealthy family in Assisi. Clare sat as if in a dream until the priest brought a palm leaf to her.

That was the last time the people of Assisi saw her.

That night, Clare ran off to find Francis, whom she had previously heard preach. Inspired, she asked had asked him to help her dedicate her life to God, and he had agreed to do so. On the night she ran away, Francis gave her a brown cloak in exchange for her fancy dress, and cut her hair.

Her father, naturally, came to find her. His daughter had been on the verge of an arranged marriage to a wealthy young man, but Clare made it clear to her father that the only husband she would have was Christ.

Born in 1193, Clare had dedicated her life to God at a young age, and had shown hints of her dedication to helping the poor. It is said that she even saved food from the family’s dinner table for the need on the streets of Assisi.

Four years later after her Palm Sunday escape, Clare was named the abbess of San Damiano. She had been joined by her sister as well as other young women who had chosen to give their lives to Christ. The women lived in poverty, wearing no shoes, eating no meat, and remaining silent most of the time. Manual labor, prayer and contemplation marked their days.

Clare was with Francis when he died in 1226. She continued to promote her order and working to change the governing rule of the order, which became known as the Order of Saint Clare, or the Poor Clares, ten years after her death in 1253.

Like other women we’ve met already in this series, Clare turned her back on the riches of this life to take on a life of poverty in service to the Lord. Her words and writings suggest that she understood this was merely reflecting Jesus’ great sacrifice in giving up the riches of heaven to serve His creation, and ultimately to save them on the cross.

What is the Lord asking you to give up today that you may serve him better?


This is the sixth post in my Write 31 Days series for 2017 in which I am taking a devotional look at key women in Christian history. For more information, or to start the series from the beginning, visit the introductory post.

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