Here is the official news blurb from the Holy See Press Office’s Vatican Information Service on today’s audience:
VATICAN CITY, 15 SEP 2010 (VIS) – Benedict XVI dedicated his catechesis during this morning’s general audience to St. Clare of Assisi (1193-1253), a contemporary of St. Francis and one of the most beloved saints of the Catholic Church. “Her witness”, the Pope said, “shows us how much the Church is indebted to courageous women rich in faith who, like her, were capable of giving a decisive impulse to ecclesial renewal”.
Clare, the Holy Father explained, was born to a rich and noble family. While she was still very young, her relatives decided to arrange an important marriage for her, but at the age of eighteen the saint, in a bold gesture inspired by a profound desire to follow Christ, abandoned her family home in the company of a friend. She joined the Friars Minor at the church of Porziuncola and Francis himself welcomed her in a simple ceremony, cutting her hair and investing her with the penitential habit. From that moment Clare became a poor and humble bride of Christ, and dedicated herself entirely to Him.
“Clare found in Francis of Assisi, especially at the beginning of her religious experience, not only a master whose teachings to follow but also a fraternal friend. The friendship between these two saints is a beautiful and important element, for when two pure souls enflamed with the same love for God meet, from their mutual friendship they draw a powerful stimulus to follow the path of perfection. Friendship is one of the most noble and exalted human sentiments, which divine Grace purifies and transfigures”.