Clare Offreduccio di Favarone was born in Assisi on 16 July 1194 into a noble family. Her mother, Ortolana, is said to have come from a noble family of Fiume. In 1212, Clare attended the Lenten preaching of Francis of Assisi. Enthused by this preaching and won over by the ideal of evangelical poverty, she decided to renounce worldly society. She left her family in secret, in the company of one of her aunts, to join Francis and his companions. They gave her a coarse cloth tunic, the bure, and cut her hair as a sign of renunciation. She then took refuge in the convent of the Benedictine nuns of San Paolo. She resisted her father's attempts to take her home. Shortly afterwards, she was joined by her younger sister, Agnes, and then by other women of the nobility of Assisi.
At the end of April 1212, Francis set up the nascent community near the chapel of San Damiano under the direction of Clare, who had to accept the title of "abbess" despite herself. She emphasised poverty, the absolute poverty for which she fought until her death. Thus the Order of Poor Ladies or Poor Clares was born.
After the death of Francis, strong pressure from both the cardinals and civil society was brought to bear on the community of San Damiano to accept land ownership. Clare defended herself against these pressures until the end of her life. Her entire life was marked by her desire to live in poverty. Finally, at the end of July 1253, Pope Innocent IV visited Clare as she was dying. On August 9, he approved the Rule of the Order of Poor Clares. A few days later, Clare died holding the privilege of poverty in her hands.
Two years later, she is canonised by Alexander IV.
One of the churches in Assisi is dedicated to her: the Basilica of St Clare, where her burial place is also located.
● Christof Dahm: Klara von Assisi, in: Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon, Band III, Verlag Traugott Bautz ,1992, Spalten 1564-1568.