Catholic Women Writers: A Bio-Bibliographical Sourcebook

By Mary R. Reichardt | Go to book overview

CLARE OF ASSISI (1194–1253)

BIOGRAPHY

Clare of Assisi is one of the greatest women of the Franciscan tradition and the foundress of the Order of the Poor Ladies, or Clares. She was the third of five children born to a relatively noble and wealthy family in the Italian town of Assisi in the region of Umbria. Even before her “conversion,” she appears to have been a pious young woman. She was probably around seventeen years old when she first heard St. Francis preaching in the town square of Assisi, but it is unknown when she first actually met him. When her uncle made arrangements for her to marry, she refused and was able to arrange a secret meeting with St. Francis and consult with him for advice. She followed his admonitions to live a life of virginal purity, and in March 1212 she went to join him at the chapel of the Portiuncula (Santa Maria degli Angeli), where she committed herself to follow him in his pursuit of Gospel perfection. Initially, he escorted her to a Benedictine monastery not far from the Portiuncula. Despite the anger of her father, Clare remained firm in her resolve to live a life of piety. St. Francis later moved Clare to San Damiano, the first of the little run-down churches he had restored. Clare would remain at San Damiano for the rest of her life.

At San Damiano, others—including Clare’s mother, Ortolana, and her two sisters, Agnes and Beatrice—joined her. She became abbess in 1215 of this community of women who wished to follow her in her desire to live according to the spirit and ideals set forth by St. Francis. Their way of life was one of extreme poverty, and they lived entirely by alms. The development of Clare’s community is quite remarkable in light of the fact that by 1215, the Church forbade the establishment of any new religious orders. Clare and her sisters gained recognition as a religious community, and in 1217 the Cardinal Deacon Ugolino provided them with a Rule based on that of the Benedictines. This Rule, however, lacked an aspect that Clare considered extremely important: austere poverty. From this point onward, Clare’s life was characterized by an ongoing effort to follow a way of life that was based on the principles that

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Catholic Women Writers: A Bio-Bibliographical Sourcebook
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • Introduction xv
  • Notes xxix
  • Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647–1690) 1
  • Julia Alvarez (1950–) 7
  • Angela of Foligno (c.1248–1309) 13
  • Katherine Burton (1884–1969) 18
  • Elizabeth Cary (1585–1639) 24
  • Madre Castillo (1671–1742) 29
  • Bibliography 33
  • Willa Cather (1873–1947) 34
  • Bibliography 39
  • Catherine of Genoa (1447–1510) 41
  • Bibliography 45
  • Catherine of Siena (1347–1380) 46
  • Theresa Hak Kyung Cha (1951–1982) 52
  • Sandra Cisneros (1954–) 57
  • Clare of Assisi (1194–1253) 63
  • Judith Ortiz Cofer (1952–) 68
  • Elizabeth Cullinan (1933–) 74
  • Dorothy Day (1897–1980) 81
  • Annie Dillard (1945–) 89
  • Louise Erdrich (1954–) 95
  • Rosario FerrÉ (1938–) 102
  • Lady Georgiana Fullerton (1812–1885) 108
  • Rumer Godden (1907–1998) 114
  • Bibliography 120
  • Caroline Gordon (1895–1981) 121
  • Mary Gordon (1949–) 129
  • Louise Imogen Guiney (1861–1920) 136
  • Madame Guyon (1648–1717) 143
  • Madame Guyon (1648–1717) 149
  • Emily Henrietta Hickey (1845–1924) 155
  • Hildegard of Bingen (1098–1179) 161
  • Hrotsvit of Gandersheim (c. 935–c. 975) 169
  • Bibliography 173
  • Marie de L’incarnation (1599–1672) 175
  • Sor Juana InÉs de la Cruz (1648–1695) 181
  • Julian of Norwich (c. 1342–after 1413) 187
  • Sheila Kaye-Smith (1887–1956) 193
  • Margery Kempe (c. 1373–c. 1440) 200
  • Bibliography 205
  • Rose Hawthorne Lathrop (1851–1926) 207
  • Mary Lavin (1912–1996) 213
  • Bibliography 218
  • Denise Levertov (1923–1997) 220
  • Notes 226
  • Clare Boothe Luce (1903–1987) 228
  • Mary Mccarthy (1912–1989) 235
  • Rigoberta MenchÚ (1959–) 241
  • Alice Meynell (1847–1922) 247
  • Pilar MillÁn Astray (1879–1949) 254
  • Kathleen Norris (1947–) 261
  • Edna O’brien (1932–) 267
  • Bibliography 273
  • Flannery O’connor (1925–1964) 275
  • Bibliography 280
  • Eunice Odio (1919–1974) 283
  • Sister Carol Anne O’marie (1933–) 289
  • Bibliography 294
  • Emilia Pardo BazÁn (1851–1921) 295
  • Bibliography 299
  • Christine de Pizan (1365–c.1430) 301
  • Katherine Anne Porter (1890–1980) 308
  • Adelaide Anne Procter (1825–1864) 315
  • Antonia Pulci (1452–1501) 320
  • Christina Rossetti (1830–1894) 326
  • Mary Anne Sadlier (1820–1903) 333
  • Bibliography 337
  • Dorothy L. Sayers (1893–1957) 338
  • Bibliography 342
  • Valerie Sayers (1952–) 344
  • Bibliography 350
  • Sophie Rostopchine, Countess de SÉgur (1799–1874) 351
  • Muriel Spark (1918–) 357
  • Edith Stein (1891–1942) 362
  • Bibliography 367
  • Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots (1542–1587) 369
  • Notes 374
  • Teresa of Avila (1515–1582) 375
  • Bibliography 380
  • ThÉrÈse of Lisieux (1873–1897) 381
  • Bibliography 386
  • Sigrid Undset (1882–1949) 387
  • Bibliography 392
  • Simone Weil (1909–1943) 394
  • Antonia White (1899–1980) 398
  • Selected General Bibliography 403
  • Index 409
  • About the Editor and Contributors 417
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