Francis's new Order also drew women. In 1208, when she was around 15 years old, Clare, the eldest daughter of the noble Offreduccio family of Assisi, heard Francis's preaching. His message held great spiritual attraction for her, and she determined to follow the gospel way according to his vision. In 1212, she secretly left her home with a companion and was received by Francis and the brothers into their way of life. However, it was necessary for her to be sheltered in a convent. After a time of enjoying the hospitality of some local women religious, she established herself and some of her own companions just outside the walls of Assisi in a little church dedicated to St. Damian. Here Clare lived an enclosed contemplative life of radical poverty for over 40 years.

Clare was filled with joy at thought that she had received an invitation to follow in the footprints of Jesus. She saw this in light of her baptismal call to live the Gospel. In her Testament, she asks her sisters to always remember with a spirit of Thanksgiving, the wondrous gift given to them in their vocation.

Read more: Clare of Assisi (1193-1253)

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