Clare of Montefalco


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(d. 1308),

Augustinian nun. At an early age she joined a community of Franciscan hermits, whom the bishop of Spoleto refounded as Augustinians. In 1291 she became abbess. She was famous for her total devotion to the Passion of Christ, manifested in extreme austerities, ecstasies, miracles, and infused knowledge.

After death and to this day she is famous also for the incorruption of her body, for her heart, where she claimed the marks of the Passion would be found, and for the liquefaction of her blood. Her relics, very impressive to some, are still shown. Her cult began immediately after her death; Urban VIII authorized her Office and Mass; she was canonized in 1881. Feast: 17 August, subsidiary feast: 30 October.

A. N. Merlin, Une grande mystique ignorée (1930);A. Semenza, Vita S. Clarae de Cruce Ordinis Eremitarum S. Augustini (1944);D. Sox, Relics and Shrines (1985), pp. 127–30;Bibl. SS., iii. 1217–24.

Subjects: Christianity — Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500).

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