St. Clare (1193-1253) belonged to one of the wealthy families of Assisi. She loved fine things as a teenager but was also drawn inwardly to a life of service. At seventeen, Clare heard Francis of Assisi, the monk who repaired churches and ministered to the sick, speak and say: "When there is poverty with joy, there is inner peace." A year later, she decided to follow in his footsteps by giving up her life of wealth. Clare donned a sack cloth robe, had her hair cut, and promised to serve Christ. Then at 21 years, Clare was persuaded by Francis to form a community of women at San Damiano. She agreed to serve as abbess.
This one-woman play written and performed by Karen Lee Hodgson vividly conveys the spiritual stamina, joy, and determination of Clare of Assisi. Susan Bayer directs this 54-minute production. The drama accentuates the friendship between Clare and Francis. Clares recalls that at one point in his ministry, he asked her whether he should preach or devote himself to prayer. She told him to do the former and he did.
Throughout her work with Francis, she shared his commitment to "Lady Poverty." Unlike other convents that relied upon gifts and endowments, Clare insisted that her community of women be allowed "the privilege of poverty." She had a hard time convincing several popes who were against this austerity and saw it as too extreme. Just before Clare died she received a letter from Rome granting the Poor Clares the right to live in perpetual poverty without any fixed income. In the light of this inspirational drama, Clare comes across as a heroic example of a determined believer who stands her ground. She is known as the patroness of television.
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