Poor Clares

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POOR CLARES

An order of contemplative nuns, originally called the Poor Ladies, founded at Assisi, Italy, in 1212. They comprised the Second Order of St. Francis and took their inspiration from him, under the leadership of St. clare of assisi. At 18 years of age Clare received the habit from the hands of francis of assisi in the Portiuncula (now incorporated into the basilica of St. Mary of the Angels in Assisi). After a sojourn with Benedictine nuns, Clare and her followers were established by Francis in the convent of San Damiano near Assisi, where she remained until her death in 1253. Her followers subsequently became known under various titles, among which the more prominent are: Poor Clares (PC), the Order of St. Clare (OSC), and Poor Clares of St. Colette (PCC).

See Also: franciscans, second order.

[h. f. aschmann]

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Poor Clares. The ‘Second Order’ of St Francis, founded by him and St Clare some time between 1212 and 1214. Clare was moved by the preaching of Francis to abandon her possessions and to join a Benedictine house. In 1215, she became abbess of a new and separate community, living under a severe rule—later ameliorated for some convents. Nevertheless, Poor Clares are regarded as the most austere religious order in the Roman Catholic Church.

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Poor Clares: see Clare, Saint.