Monastero di Santa Chiara
Piazza Santa Chiara, 1, 06081 Assisi PG, Italy
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The Man - or the Woman - Behind St FrancisThe stories around St Francis of Assisi are relatively well-known, and of particular interest with the election of a Roman Catholic pope who took his name.
St Francis was born wealthy and eventually had a spiritual awakening which let him to renounce material wealth and take a vow of poverty. Less-known perhaps is that before his awakening, he was quite a ladies' man, not to mention a soldier. He fought in two wars and was taken prisoner. And we all know he talked to animals and communicated with - and respected - nature.
He may also have been in love with Clare, a lifelong friend, who eventually gave everything up to found the Order of the Poor Clares, whose chapel this is. The Clares embraced the Franciscan precepts and created their own women-only order. There was never any hanky-panky between the two - although it all did happen nearly a thousand years ago - but the feelings and solid friendship led to an alliance that at the time was probably nothing less than revolutionary.