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1193-1253. As a young member of Italy's aristocracy, she was inspired by the preaching of St. Francis of Assisi to devote her life to God. She gave up the comforts of her life to live in extreme Franciscan poverty and simplicity; her younger sister, now St. Agnes of Assisi, soon joined her, as did some other women in the area, and, years later, Clare and Agnes' mother.

This is the origin of the Poor Clares order, the women's equivalent of the Franciscan order. They lacked in material possessions - the nuns had no shoes, for instance, and meals might consist of old, hard bread - but there was great spiritual gain. There was even a famous miracle, in which the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist drove a small invading army of soldiers away from their chapel in San Damiano.

After the death of Francis, Clare was the one who kept the Franciscan order true to his ideals.

Canonized in 1255. She's the patron saint of sore eyes - if you've been in front of your monitor for too long today, you know who to ask about help. Her feast day is August 11th.

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