This is the officially commissioned biography of Saint Clare of Assisi. After being granted special access to monastery archives and taking three separate trips to Assisi to gather information, explore, discover and walk in her footsteps through the beautiful Umbrian hills and landscapes that allowed and released the inspiration to recreate Clare’s story for a contemporary audience revealing her insight and understanding of spirituality and the environment that made her become a true light that brightens the world.
The difﬁculty sometimes in writing about a person who was born over eight hundred years ago, is that often what material is available has either come from unknown sources or from stories that have been passed down and have become dramatically embellished or ﬁctionalised albeit with good intention. The Life of Saint Clare as told here is both dramatic and true. After her death the Church Authorities commissioned an ofﬁcial biography.
The ascribed author was Thomas Celano of the Franciscan Order of Friars Minor who had previously completed the “The Life of Saint Francis of Assisi”. Thomas Celano was therefore a contemporary of Clare and his writings record all the known facts using the eyewitness accounts of the time, the living voices of those who actually knew and lived with Clare. The difference in this ofﬁcial new biography lies in the way I have strived to tell the story chronologically, as the original medieval manuscripts tend to juxtapose certain events and have added earlier happenings later in the text. What is presented here then, is the story of the founder of the Poor Clare’s told “Franciscanly” which literally is, the simple way with Clare’s own life and writings revealing her spirituality to the reader without much need of theological dissection or interpretation.
Throughout the text up to her canonisation I have chosen to call our “Great Saint” simply by her Christian name “Clare”. This takes nothing of her sanctity away, but conversely draws us more clearly into her light and reveals her in a more intimate way of one who we can more easily know as a close friend. Previously and with the support and help of several Poor Clare communities I produced and wrote a contemporary translation of Clare’s own writings entitled “Clare of Assisi, Her Life and Message” which was published in 2005 as a paperback edition and from this came an invitation and commission from the ofﬁcial UK publishers to the Vatican to write a completely new biography. It took three separate trips to Assisi to gather information, explore, discover and walk in her footsteps through the beautiful Umbrian hills and landscapes that allowed and released the inspiration to recreate Clare’s story for a contemporary audience.