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Poverty And Prayer

J. Stephen Lang

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Poverty And Prayer

Francis of Assisi is one of the most beloved of the saints of the Middle Ages, but Clare of Assisi is also an appealing character. Born in 1194, she was pressured by her wealthy family to marry at age twelve. Instead she ran away and after hearing a sermon by Francis, devoted herself to the religious life.

Poverty And Prayer | Devotional By J. Stephen Lang

Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith?
James 2:5

1253: Francis of Assisi is one of the most beloved of the saints of the Middle Ages, but Clare of Assisi is also an appealing character. Born in 1194, she was pressured by her wealthy family to marry at age twelve.

Instead she ran away and after hearing a sermon by Francis, devoted herself to the religious life. She and her sister took shelter in a convent, and though her father sent twelve armed men to bring the girls back home, they would not budge.

In 1215 Francis put Clare in charge of a group of nuns, and this was the beginning of the Order of the Poor Ladies, usually known as the Poor Clares.

Like Francis, Clare insisted on a life of poverty, and when Pope Innocent III gave his approval to the Poor Clares, Clare insisted that the group never be allowed to own anything. Years later a different pope pressured Clare to allow the nuns to own land and buildings, but Clare would not change her mind.

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Francis’s male followers traveled about the countryside and preached. The Poor Clares did not do this but usually stayed in their convents and engaged in manual labor and prayer. It was a hard life yet one that attracted many women, and the order grew.

Whenever a woman joined the order, she gave away her money and possessions to the poor. While some orders of nuns became notoriously lax, Clare resisted every effort to water down the strict regime of her convents.

She nursed Francis, her spiritual brother, through his final illness. Clare died on August 11, 1253, and the Catholic Church declared her a saint two years later. A member of the Poor Clares, Mother Angelica, founded the Eternal Word Television Network.

Prayer: Lord, let our lives show the world that material riches are nothing compared to spiritual riches. Amen.

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