St Clare of Assisi – Co-founder of the Order of Poor Clares

In his video clip, Bill Short (2009) states, there are religious orders in the contemporary Church where the monks still write the rules for the nuns, and that some of these women having heard about St Clare of Assisi being the first woman in the Church to write a Rule for her community, are very interested in the methods she used to write her rule, almost eight centuries ago! However, Clare’s “rule of life”, was not formally approved by the Pope until Clare was on her deathbed. She and St Francis “relied on the Gospel as a pattern for life” (ibid.). In fact, Short (2009) refers to both Francis and Clare, as living lives of “radical Gospel discipleship” (ibid.). Initially, I thought that the term “radical” was a surprising choice, when applied to the lives of Clare and Francis, but when I researched their lives and found that both Clare and Francis yearned for “the privilege of poverty”, and were prepared to argue their case solidly before Popes, Cardinals and Bishops, I realised that the term “radical” in this instance seemed quite apt. Would that all leaders set an example by enjoying the “privilege of poverty”, being content with just what is needed for a comfortable life – serving others and living the Gospel!