St. Clare of Montefalco
Feast Day August 12
Clare was born in Montefalco, Italy, in 1268. She was the second daughter of Damiano and Iacopo Vengente. From a very early age, she lived a hermit life with her older sister Giovanna and another young woman in a small dwelling that Damiano had built for them. Clare was a lively and intelligent young girl and was just as prayerful and penitential. The small community of hermits grew, and in 1290 was established as a formal convent of nuns under the Rule of Saint Augustine. After the death of her sister, Clare at 23 was elected abbess and became mother, teacher and spiritual director of the convent. A young woman of deep spiritual perception with almost no formal education, she still gave advice and counsel from people of all walks of life and became a director of many souls within the convent. She was deeply devoted to the Passion of Christ and was known to experience periods of ecstasy as she contemplated the mystery of the Cross. For many years she received no consolation in her interior life except that of her own fidelity to prayer and acts of penance. During her final illness, she repeated to her sisters that she bore the cross of Christ in her heart. After her death, this was verified when the nuns examined her heart and found in it symbols of the passion of the Lord, formed from cardiac muscle. Clare died on August 17, 1308, at the age of 40 and was canonized by Leo XIII in 1881.