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the founder of the Clares, an order of nuns so called from her,

, the founder of the Clares, an order of nuns so called from her, was born at Assisi, in 1193, and was a model of piety and devotion from her infancy, according to her biographers, whose account is certainly a model of credulity and superstition. Her parents were persons of rank, from whom in 1212 she ran away, and went to St. Francis, who cloathed her in his habit, a piece of sackcloth tied about her with a cord, and sent her to a Benedictine nunnery, and from this epoch the poor Clares date their foundation. She was next placed by St. Francis in a new house of nuns, of which she was appointed the superior, and which was soon crowded with devotees of rank. This female community practised austerities, “of which,” we are told, “people in the world have hardly any conception.” They not only went without shoes and stockings, lay on the ground, and kept perpetual abstinence, but were enjoined profound silence, unless in cases of the greatest necessity. Pope Innocent IV. in 1251, confirmed to this order the privilege of poverty, without any property in common. St. Clare’s abstinence and mortifications brought her into a miserable state of disease, from which she was released Aug. 11, 1253, and was buried the day following, on which her festival is kept. Alexander IV. canonized her in 1255. The nuns of St. Clans are divided into Damianists and Urbanists. The former follow the rule given by St. Francis to St. Clare; the latter are mitigated, and follow the rules given by Urban IV. From their name, Minoresses, sometimes given them, our Minories near Aldgate, is derived, where they had a nunnery from the year 1293.