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Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Clare of Assisi

b. 1194, Assisi, Italy; d. 1253, Assisi, Italy

The daughter of Italian nobility, Clare rejected her parents’ plans for marriage and fled to Assisi to join the Christian ascetic order founded by Saint Francis. She established the order of the Poor Clares in a convent at San Damiano and was soon joined by her mother and sister, Agnes. As abbess, Clare enforced a strict rule of poverty; property ownership was forbidden. The order and the rules that governed it were finally recognized by Pope Innocent IV in 1253, just two days before Clare died.